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Credit Where It's Due: Authority and Recognition at the Dictionary ofAmerican English Michael Adams Sidney Landau argued recently that "the anonymity in which lexicographers are too often forced to work is a serious impediment to their careers and thus to the ultimate best interests of publishers and the public. It is unfair" (1996, 1). Since "good dictionaries require good and experienced lexicographers," we must offer "a modicum of assurance" (1996, 2) that those who work on dictionaries will receive credit when it's due. Recognition is, in part, a matter of authority, and struggles over authority in a dictionary project both figure in the project's evolution and form the product. Along its way to completion, the Dictionary of American English (DAE) confronted problems of recognition and authority .1 George Watson, who followed William Craigie from the OED 'Sir William Craigie began his tenure as professor of English at the University of Chicago in October 1925 and, according to his own account, "the collecting of material for [the Dictionary ofAmerican English] began immediately" (Craigie 1944, 101), a staff was assembled in the following year, and "from that time onwards the work was carried on to the end without interruption" (Craigie 1944, 101). The staff led many University of Chicago students, faculty at other institutions , and interested independent scholars in an extensive reading program completed in 1935. Mitford M. Mathews joined the staff in 1926, and in 1927 Craigie "sent him to Oxford to extract American evidence" from the OxfordEnglish Dictionary's citation files (McMillan 1986, 251). In October 1927 George Watson, Craigie's assistant for a quarter of a century, joined the staff and immediately took charge of the reading program, helped Craigie and Mathews to expand the bibliography and to organize citations as they accumulated (Mathews 1985, 221). Allen Walker Read joined the staff in 1932, in the middle of this preliminary stage. According to the preface to the first volume, Watson "did much valuable work as research associate and assistant editor, and had the Michael Adams to the DAE, served as Associate Editor and bargained for a place on the dictionary's title page, sure, not only that credit was due, but that he knew where it was due: he appeared on the first fascicle's title page (1936), but suspected correctly that his name would be removed when front matter was revised for the bound first volume (1938). Mitford Mathews (1985) and Allen Walker Read (1986) remembered one conflict over recognition differently. Mathews believed that Watson had played a more substantial role at the DAE than anyone realized and that his anonymity was due partly to Craigie's self-serving accounts of the DAE and partly to his absence from the DAE's title page. Mathews noted the acrimony between Craigie and Watson in 1936, which led to Watson 's departure, but he decided, finally, that the title page was changed, not deliberately to hurt Watson, but for practical reasons, i.e., to deal efficiently with editorial turnover (Mathews 1985).2 Read thought that Mathews harbored a grudge against Craigie and that Mathews, though he and Watson had disliked each other, attempted to resuscitate Watson 's reputation in order to air his own grievances (Read 1986). charge of putting A and B through the Press," whereas Mathews was "all along connected with die work in various ways, and has acted as assistant editor from the beginning of C," and Read "prepared a portion of die copy for C" (xii) . Newer editors included Catherine Sturtevant, "who after previously assisting in bibliographical work, in checking quotations, and in editing, has since 1937 supervised die preparation of copy and correction of proof" (xii), Woodford A. Heflin, and Robert W. Wadsworth. Craigie had "prepared or revised the copy of die first part of die dictionary before leaving Chicago in the spring of 1936. The remaining nineteen parts were prepared and sent to the University [of Chicago] Press by the regular staff, under the direction of Professor J.R. HuIbert , whose cooperation had been contemplated from the outset" (Craigie 1944, 113). The dictionary also appeared in four successive volumes (1938, 1940, 1942, and 1944). The dictionary was a project of the...


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