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Bartholomaeus Anglicus (b. before 1203, d. 1272) illuminated initial © The Bodleian Library, University of Oxford

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Bartholomaeus Anglicus (b. before 1203, d. 1272), Franciscan friar and encyclopaedist, is of unknown parentage, and there is no information about his early years. His association with the Suffolk Glanvilles, reported by John Leland, who identifies Bartholomaeus as Bartholomew de Glanville, depends upon a late fourteenth-century colophon in Cambridge, Peterhouse, MS 67. ...

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Thomas Spencer Baynes (1823–1887) by Thomas Rodger courtesy of St Andrews University Library

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Baynes, Thomas Spencer (1823–1887), editor of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, was born on 24 March 1823 at Wellington, Somerset, the son of Joseph Baynes (for fifty years minister of Wellington's Baptist congregation) and his wife, Anna Day Ash, a descendant of the lexicographer Dr John Ash...

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Brown, James Duff (1862–1914), librarian and compiler of music reference books, was born on 6 November 1862 at 3 Reid Terrace, Stockbridge, Edinburgh, the second of seven children of James Brown of St Fergus, Aberdeenshire, a bookkeeper, and his wife, Margaret Douglas of ...

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Chisholm, Hugh (1866–1924), journalist and editor of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, was born at 21 Harewood Square, London, on 22 February 1866. His father, Henry Williams Chisholm (1809–1901), became a senior civil servant, chief clerk of the exchequer, and author of The Great Account of Annual Public Income and Expenditure from 1688 to 1869...

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Gilbert, Richard (c. 1794–1852), printer and editor of reference works, was born in St John's Square, Clerkenwell, London, the second son of Robert Gilbert, printer. His mother's name is not known. He had at least one sister, whose name is unknown. He began his working life as an accountant for the ...

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Gowers, Sir Ernest Arthur (1880–1966), public servant and writer of reference works, was born in London on 2 June 1880, the younger of the two sons among the four children of Sir William Richard Gowers (1845–1915), physician, and his wife, Mary (d...

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Sir John Alexander Hammerton (1871–1949) by Howard Coster, 1945 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Hammerton, Sir John Alexander (1871–1949), author and editor of reference works, was born in Alexandria, Dunbartonshire, on 27 February 1871, the second in a family of two sons and one daughter of James Hammerton (1832/3–1874/5), clog maker of Oldham, and his second wife, ...

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Haydn, Joseph Timothy (1788/1793–1856), newspaper editor and compiler of reference works, was born in Lisbon on 24 November 1788 or 1793, the son of Thomas Haydn, an expatriate protestant Irishman. In 1809 he fled Napoleon's invading army in a 'once-Danish frigate' sailing to ...

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(Henry) Colin Gray Matthew (1941–1999) by Judith Aronson, 1993 © Judith Aronson

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Matthew, (Henry) Colin Gray (1941–1999), historian and founding editor of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, was born at 31 Island Bank Road, Inverness, on 15 January 1941, the eldest child of Henry Johnston Scott Matthew (1914–1997), consultant physician, and his wife, Joyce Mary (Maisie) McKendrick (1915–2010)...

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Charlotte Fell-Smith

revised by Stephen Roberts

Philp, Robert Kemp (1819–1882), Chartist and compiler of reference works, was born in Falmouth on 14 June 1819, the son of Henry Philp (1793–1836), a shoemaker, and his wife, Elizabeth. His grandfather, Robert Kemp Philp (1769–1850), was the Unitarian minister of Falmouth and one of the earliest supporters of ragged schools....

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Platts, John (1775–1837), Unitarian minister and compiler of reference works, was born at Boston, Lincolnshire. For seven or eight years he officiated as a Calvinist minister there, but then became a Unitarian. Ordained by Charles Wellbeloved and Robert Aspland, he ministered at Spain Lane Chapel...

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G. Le G. Norgate

revised by Elizabeth Baigent

Potts, Thomas (1778–1842), compiler of reference works, was the son of Edward Potts (1721–1819) of Glanton, near Alnwick, Northumberland. Thomas Potts was a solicitor, and at one time was connected with Skinners' Hall. In 1803 he lived in Camden Town, and he later lived at ...

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Pugh, Ralph Bernard (1910–1982), historian and editor of the Victoria History of the Counties of England, was born on 1 August 1910 in Sutton, Surrey, the only child of Bernard Carr Pugh (1859–1940), journalist, and his wife, Mabel Elizabeth (or Elizabeth Mabel) Pugh (1869?–1943)...

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Abraham Rees (1743–1825) by John Opie, exh. RA 1796 by permission of Dr Williams's Library

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Rees, Abraham (1743–1825), Presbyterian minister and encyclopaedist, was born at the Old Independent Chapel House at Llanbrynmair, Montgomeryshire, the second son of Lewis Rees (1710–1800), Independent minister, and his wife, Esther Penry. The family moved in 1759, when his father became Independent minister at ...

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Steinberg, Sigfrid Henry (1899–1969), scholar and editor of reference works, was born on 3 August 1899 at Goslar, Germany, the eldest of three sons of Adolf Steinberg, merchant, and his wife, Emilie, née Römer (b. 1874), a shop assistant. After serving briefly in the German army in 1918 he studied history, art history, and German and English language and literature at the universities of ...