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New editor announcement

March 2014: New Editor announcement




Professor Sir David Cannadine appointed new Editor of

the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography


The historian Professor Sir David Cannadine FBA has been appointed as the new Editor of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Sir David will take up the post on 1 October 2014.


The Oxford DNB is the national record of more than 59,000 people who have shaped British history and culture from the Romans to the year 2010. It is a research and publishing project from Oxford University and one of its departments, Oxford University Press.


Sir David Cannadine FBA is Dodge Professor of History at Princeton University. He is a specialist in the political, social, and cultural history of modern Britain and its empire, and the study of history over time. He is the author of 14 books (and editor of a further 14 volumes) includingThe Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy (1990), Ornamentalism: how the British saw their Empire (2001), Making History Now and Then (2008), and The Undivided Past: Humanity Beyond our Differences (2013). Sir David has previously taught at the universities of Cambridge, Columbia, and London, where he was Director of the Institute of Historical Research. A former chairman of the Trustees of the National Portrait Gallery, London, he was knighted for services to scholarship in 2009. Sir David will combine the Editorship of the Oxford DNB with teaching at Princeton. He will also become a Visiting Professor in the Faculty of History at the University of Oxford.


Sir David will succeed the Oxford DNB’s current Editor, Dr Lawrence Goldman, vice-master of St Peter’s College, Oxford, who has held the Editorship since October 2004. A historian of nineteenth and twentieth-century Britain and the United States, and the author of The Life of R.H. Tawney: Socialism and History (2013). On demitting as Editor, Lawrence Goldman will become Director of the Institute of Historical Research in London.


Commenting on the appointment, Nigel Portwood, Chief Executive of Oxford University Press, said:

“Sir David is an outstanding historian with the perfect credentials to lead the work on the Oxford DNB, and I know that he will ensure that it remains a trusted and valuable work of reference. I want to thank Dr Lawrence Goldman for his enormous contribution to the Oxford DNB, particularly in overseeing its digital transition. Through Lawrence’s tremendous work, Sir David inherits an excellent platform on which to build the next phase of the Oxford DNB.”


Professor Sir David Cannadine , the incoming editor of the Oxford DNB said:

“I am hugely honoured and flattered to be following Lawrence Goldman, Brian Harrison and the late lamented Colin Matthew as the next editor of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. The Oxford DNB is an unrivalled scholarly resource of exceptional high quality, it is an essential and defining part of the public culture of our nation, and it is admired and emulated—and envied— around the world. I greatly look forward to working with Oxford University, with Oxford University Press, and with the Oxford DNB team, in taking the Dictionary forward with our global audience into the next phase of the digital age.”


Dr Lawrence Goldman, editor of the Oxford DNB to 30 September 2014, said:

“I am delighted to be handing on responsibility for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography to Sir David Cannadine. In ten years since its publication we have updated and expanded the Dictionary and established it as the preeminent source of information about the people who have made British history and shaped our society. David’s immensely wide range as a historian, his work to develop popular interest in British history, and his skills in explaining the British past, will ensure that the Dictionary continues to educate and fascinate readers and scholars into the future.”


Press contact: For more information, please contact Dan Parker at OUP: 01865 353344 | daniel.parker@oup.com


Notes to Editors


About Professor Sir David Cannadine


Sir David Cannadine was born in Birmingham and studied history at the universities of Cambridge, Princeton, and Oxford. He has since taught modern history at Cambridge (1977-88), Columbia (1988-98), and at the University of London, where he was Director of the Institute of Historical Research and the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Professor of British History. Since 2011 he has been Dodge Professor of History at Princeton University. The author of more than 25 monographs and edited volumes, Sir David has published widely on the political, social, economic, and cultural history of modern Britain and empire. His research interests include the history of class and social elites, the study and teaching of history, the relationship of history and the media, historical biography, popular attitudes to history, national institutions, and conservation. His most recent book, The Undivided Past: Humanity Beyond our Differences, was published in 2013.


In addition to teaching and writing, Sir David has close links—as a trustee and historical consultant— with many national bodies in the UK and the US. These include the National Portrait Gallery (where he was chairman of the trustees, 2005-12), English Heritage (for which he chaired the Blue Plaques panel, 2006-13), Westminster Abbey (from 2010) and the Library of Birmingham Trust (from 2011) and, in the US, the Frick Collection and the Royal Oak Foundation, New York.


Elected a fellow of the British Academy in 1999, Sir David and was knighted for services for scholarship in 2009. In 2013 he was the recipient of the Historical Association’s Norton Medlicott Medal for services to history. He is a regular broadcaster on radio and television, including BBC Radio 4’s ‘A Point of View’ (since 2005) and ‘Churchill’s Other Lives’ (2011). David is married to the historian Professor Linda Colley CBE whose 15-part series, Acts of Union and Disunion, was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in January 2014.


Sir David has a twenty year association with the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. He was among the first authors to be commissioned for the new Dictionary in 1993 (when he contributed the biography of the historian G.M. Trevelyan). His most recent article for the Oxford DNB was an essay on the Calthorpe family, Birmingham landowners and benefactors, which was published in 2013.


About Dr Lawrence Goldman


Dr Lawrence Goldman, vice-master at St Peter's College, Oxford, became editor of the Oxford DNB in October 2004. Lawrence is a historian of modern Britain, but has also published on American and transatlantic history.


His books include Dons and Workers: Oxford and Adult Education since 1850 (1995),Science, Reform, and Politics in Victorian Britain: the Social Science Association, 1857–1886 (2002), and (as co-editor) The Political Culture of Victorian Britain (2006), a volume of essays in memory of Colin Matthew, the first editor of the Oxford DNB. In 2013 Lawrence published a biography of the political theorist and historian, R.H. Tawney, The Life of R. H. Tawney: Socialism and History.


Former Editors of the Dictionary of National Biography

The original Dictionary of National Biography was published between 1885 and 1900 in alphabetical order in 63 quarterly volumes. The Dictionary’s founding editor was Sir Leslie Stephen (1832-1904), the intellectual historian and literary critic, who is also remembered as the father of the writer Virginia Woolf and the artist Vanessa Bell. He was succeeded in 1891 by the Shakespeare scholar, Sir Sidney Lee (1859-1926), who brought the DNB to completion in 1900 and also edited the DNB’s three supplement volumes in 1901.


In 1992 Oxford University Press and the History Faculty, University of Oxford, began a 12-year project to rewrite and expand of the original Victorian edition and its twentieth-century supplements. The founding editor of what became the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (published in 2004 in 60 vols., and online) was Colin Matthew FBA (1941-1999), editor of the diaries of William Gladstone and Professor of History at Oxford University. Following Colin’s death in 1999, the Oxford DNB was brought to completion in 2004 under the editorship of the modern historian Professor Sir Brian Harrison FBA, also of Oxford University.


Since 2004 the Oxford DNB has been edited by Dr Lawrence Goldman, fellow and tutor in modern history at St Peter’s College, Oxford. Lawrence has overseen a programme of regular updates to the ODNB’s online edition which has added biographies of a further 4300 men and women to the 54,992 biographies available in 2004.


What is the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography ?

The Oxford DNB is the national record of men and women who have shaped British history and culture, worldwide, from the Romans to the year 2010. The Dictionary is a research project of the Faculty of History, University of Oxford, and is published and funded by Oxford University Press. It was first published online (www.oxforddnb.com) and in 60 print volumes in September 2004. Since 2005 the Oxford DNB online has been extended in 3 annual updates, published in January, May, and September of each year. The ODNB currently includes biographies of 59,003 individuals. No living person is included.


The Oxford DNB has been written by 11,000 specialist authors, worldwide, co-ordinated by a team of academic historians at Oxford University. The Dictionary also includes 11,200 portraits, researched in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery, London. A national institution founded in the late Victorian period, the modern Oxford DNB is thought to be the world’s largest collaborative research project in the humanities.


Since April 2006 the complete Oxford DNB has been available to 48 million residents in England and to all residents of Northern Ireland via their public libraries. There is further extensive public library access in other parts of the United Kingdom and worldwide. Remote log-ins allow library readers to consult the online Oxford DNB from home, or from anywhere.

· The January 2014 update added biographies of 219 men and women who died in the year 2010. About the latest update.

· Further content is available via @odnb on Twitter.



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