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  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

In 1994 the Oxford University Press (OUP) published a new edition of the Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB) to replace the original (old DNB) edition published in 1897. This had become cumbersome by the addition of periodic supplements and some of its entries were not up to date and needed revision. ODNB is published (with annual supplements) on-line and there is a printed edition of 60 volumes (with a 2009 supplementary volume) which takes 12 feet of shelf space.

At the present time ODNB contains almost 57,000 entries written by about 10,000 contributors, selected as experts in the relevant field. The entries vary in length from a few hundred words to several thousand, and include a few collective biographical studies. At the end of each entry is a list of the sources used by the contributor. The majority of entries relate to a single individual, but a few take in a relative of distinction. For example, the entry onW. E. Maxwell (acting governor SS) has a paragraph on his father, P. B. Maxwell (chief justice).

The criterion for selection of subjects is that they should be 'remarkable people in any walk of life who were connected with the British Isles'. The majority of those subjects who have a connection with Malaysia or Singapore were British by birth, predominantly from the colonial period, but the list below includes some Malaysian prime ministers and rulers of Malay states.

The Society publishes the list below of ODNB entries, selected for their relevance to Malaysia or Singapore, for the information of Malaysian historians and other researchers. A small number have been accepted for publication but will not be published until 2010.

The list is published here (with apologies for any omissions) with the consent of OUP, but the Society is not the agent of OUP nor in any way concerned with arrangements for gaining access on-line to ODNB. Those who wish to do so should go to the website

ODNB List of Entries on Individuals with Malaysian or Singapore Connections

Abdul Rahman, Tunku (1902–1990), prime minister of Malaysia    A. J. Stockwell

Abdul Razak bin Hussein (1922–1976), prime minister of Malaysia                              Cheah Boon Kheng

Abu Bakar (1833–1895), Sultan of Johore               A. J. Stockwell

Anderson, John (1795–1845), EIC official and author           Katherine Prior*

Anderson, John (1852–1924), merchant               John Orbell

Anderson, John (1858–1918), civil servant and colonial governor    J. M. Gullick

Arden-Clarke, Charles Noble (1898–1962), colonial governor                         A. H. M. Kirke-Greene

Belfield, Henry Conway (1855–1923), colonial governor        R. M. Maxon [End Page 117]

Berkeley, Hubert John Aloysius (1864–1942), colonial administrator                                   J. M. Gullick

Bird, Isabella (Bishop) (1831–1904), traveller and author       Dorothy Middleton*

Black, Robert Brown (1906–1999), colonial governor          J. M. Gullick

Bonham, Samuel George (1803–1863), colonial governor       K. D. Reynolds*

Bowring, John (1792–1872), politician, diplomatist and writer     Gerald Stone*

Brooke, Charles Anthoni Johnson (1817–1917), naval officer and second Raja of Sarawak                    R. H. W. Reece*

Brooke, Charles Vyner de Windt (1874–1963), third and last Raja of Sarawak                         R. H. W. Reece*

Brooke, James (1793–1868), army officer and first Raja of Sarawak                              R. H. W. Reece*

Caldecott, Andrew (1844–1951), colonial governor (rev)                 John O'Reagan

Cavenagh, Orfeur (1820–1891), army officer and colonial governor  J. M. Gullick

Chambers, Walter (1824–1893), bishop of Labuan, Sarawak and Singapore                              C. M. Turnbull

Chapman, Frederick Spencer (1907–1971), explorer and guerrilla (rev)                         Jack Longland

Clarke, Andrew (1824–1902), military engineer and colonial governor                              A. G. L. Shaw*

Clementi, Cecil (1875–1947), colonial governor               Shona M. Airlie*

Clifford, Hugh Charles (1866–1941), colonial governor and author               A. J. Stockwell*

Cooke, Sophia (1814–1895), missionary and schoolmistress               C. M. Turnbull

Crawfurd, John (1783–1868), orientalist and colonial administrator               C. M. Turnbull*

Dent, Alfred (1844–1927) (included in Dent family), Borneo entrepreneur               Philip K. Law

Farquhar, Robert (1776–1830), colonial governor               Lynn Milne*

Farquhar, William (1774–1839), colonial administrator in Singapore (rev)               John Bastin

Foss, Josephine (1887–1983), missionary teacher and welfare worker in Asia               Sybil Oldfield

Gent, Gerard Edward James (1895–1948), civil servant and colonial governor               A. J. Stockwell

Goode, William...


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