What's new: October 2019

October 10, 2019

The October update adds 18 new articles featuring 24 lives and 6 portrait likenesses drawn from Black British history. The focus of this release – curated by Dr Miranda Kaufmann and Dr Anders Ingram – is early Black British history (notably the sixteenth century) and represents a very substantial expansion of this area. The release also includes a group article – Black Lives in the Oxford DNB – by Dr Anders Ingram listing all 296 subjects of African heritage included in the ODNB for their significance to British history (i.e. not including commonwealth figures) and giving a summary narrative of their historical context. This is intended as a finding guide for researchers, teachers, and those with an interest in black British history.

From October 2019, the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford DNB) offers biographies of 63,423 men and women who have shaped the British past, contained in 61,149 articles. 11,715 biographies include a portrait image of the subject – researched in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery, London.

Read the full editorial introduction to this month’s update.

New and updated subjects - October 2019

Africans in England and Scotland (1485-1625)

Africanus, George John Scipio (1762/3-1834), businessman

Audain, Ida Augusta (1854?-1932), harpist

Black Lives in the Oxford DNB

Bolas, Juan de (d. 1663), early African leader in Jamaica

Braithwaite, Christopher Messiah [Chris Jones] (1885-1944), seafarers’ organizer, pan-Africanist and socialist

Catalina of Motril (fl. 1501–1531), royal bedchamber servant

Despard, Catherine (1765? - 1815), campaigner

Diego (fl.1572- d.1579), sailor and alliance broker for Francis Drake

Elaw [née Panco, other married name Shum], Zilpha (1793?-1873), preacher and author

Fennell, Rufus Elester (1887-1974), actor and Pan-Africanist

Francis, Jacques (Jaques Frauncys, b. 1524?), diver

Hylas, Mary (fl.1728–1783), maidservant and subject of lawsuit

Jeptha, Andrew Daries (1879–1910), boxer

Jetto, Henrie Anthonie (1569/70-1627), yeoman

Johnson, Joseph (b. 1796/7), beggar and street performer

Smith, Samuel Morgan (1832-1882), actor

Waters, Billy (1778?–1823), street performer, beggar, and sailor

Ystumllyn, John (d.1786), gardener

The Oxford DNB is updated regularly throughout the year, giving you access to the most up-to-date and accurate information available. Nearly all public libraries in England, Scotland, and Wales—and all in Northern Ireland—subscribe to the Oxford DNB. This means you can access tens of thousands of biographies, free, via your local library—anywhere, anytime. Full access to all biographies is also available by individual subscription.

Discover a full list of entries added this year.