Elizabeth Knowles is a historical lexicographer who worked on the Supplement to the Oxford English Dictionary and the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (4th edition) and is now Publishing Manager for Quotations Dictionaries at Oxford University Press. She is the current Editor of the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations.
1. R. M. Leonard to Humphrey Milford, July 1915, in the OUP Archives (OP1167/008658). All other documentary quotations here can be found in the same file and are reprinted by permission of the Secretary to the Delegates of the Oxford University Press.
2. This was, in fact, unfair: Milford had presumably disliked it so much that he had not been able to assess it correctly. He evidently thought that the index should have been of first lines, rather than keywords.
3. It is worth noting how senior the people involved in the project's early stages were. Looking at the files, I am drawn to the conclusion that the quotations dictionary suggestion was, in the 1930s, a diverting new toy for the press's leaders, as well as a business proposition.
4. Chapman refers here to the standard Latin dictionary in the English-speaking world. It was founded on E. A. Andrews's Harper's Latin Dictionary (1850), a translation and edition of Wilhelm Freund's Wörterbuch der lateinischen Sprache (1834-1845), revised, enlarged, and in great part rewritten by Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879).
5. McCormick was author of The Manuscripts of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales: A Critical Description of Their Contents (1933). The comment is a penciled annotation on a note from Chapman to Milford, dated 13 November 1931.
6. Apart from poetic merit, the poem has a place in the history of 19th-century literature. In March 1895, Oscar Wilde had sued Douglas's father, the Marquess of Queensberry, for libel, and, when that case collapsed, Wilde himself was prosecuted. The poem, "The Two Loves," formed part of the evidence against him, and Wilde was asked to explain the meaning of this line.