Oxford: October 27, 1893.
3 pp pen and ink on folded sheet of personal stationery. 8vo. Editor of the Oxford English Dictionary to an important contributor. Faint horizontal folding creases, faint adhesive ghost along inner edge and blank margin of first page, but generally excellent. Item #305804
Sir James Augustus Henry Murray (1837-1915), the great lexicographer of the Oxford English Dictionary, writes to one of his more prolific contributors, Dr. Thomas Nadauld Brushfiled (1828-1910), thanking him for agreeing to undertake an unspecified task, and providing an internal view of the massive undertaking that was the OED. "We shall be glad to have it, I am glad that you can do it ... Will you kindly see that quotes (if there are any) or words of others than Scott are not given as his, but attributed to their authors & dates[.] The trouble caused by carelessness on the part of some of our readers — sane men too, and with good opinion of their own prowess — is exasperating. Only yesterday we found that a quotation sent to us for 'deaconry' and attributed to Sir Alexr. Grant a few years ago, was a quotation by him fr[o]m the Book of Discipline in 1575. I should have like to whip the reader at the cart's-tail, not from any personal dislike, but out of a kindly regard for his welfare, & 'to whip the offending Adam out of him.' I have had to mark against him '——'s slips never to be used exc. in case of need, & then with caution.'" Murray goes on to congratulate Brushfield on his "delightful" President's Address to the Devonshire Association.
A physician by profession and a pioneer of humane methods of treatment of the insane, Brushfield contributed more than 72,000 slips to the Oxford English Dictionary. By the time of this letter he retired to the south Devon coast near Hayes Barton, birthplace of Walter Raleigh. He served as president of the Devonshire Association in 1893-94, and through its auspices published a series of papers on Raleigh which made significant contributions to the field (ODNB).
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