WC Minor, the “madman” of Simon Winchester’s compelling narrative about the making of the OED, was no amateur lexciographer, as historians have long assumed. Three days before the start of the Civil War, he signed a contact to work on a major revision of Webster’s American Dictionary. And as I show, based on my archival research at Yale’s Beinecke Library, the future star of the OED was an utter failure as an American lexicographer.
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By Joshua C. Kendall on March 17, 2011