Historical Thesaurus of the OED

The print Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary was launched in 2009 at two events, one for the press in July in Senate House of the University of London, and one at the University of Glasgow in October for Thesaurus staff, workers, guests, and supporters from around the globe.

Senate House Launch, 7 July 2009

The London pre-launch, held at the Institute for English Studies, was attended by a number of journalists and local academics, in preparation for the launch and publication of the HTOED (for more on this, see Christian Kay’s light-hearted diary of dealing with the press). At this launch, Christian Kay, Irené Wotherspoon, and Jane Roberts gave brief talks, followed by a display of a copy of the completed Thesaurus alongside handouts of a twelve-page sample of the HTOED .

University of Glasgow Launch, 22 October 2009

In Glasgow, over a hundred academics, friends, supporters, and present and former team members were invited to gather for the launch party of the HTOED . Following a series of short talks by all the editors (the notes used by Professor Samuels for his talk – which was his last public address – can be found here), as well as Judy Pearsall on behalf of Oxford University Press, a warm and lengthy standing ovation was given to the assembled editors. Guests then attended a wine reception, accompanied by an exhibition of material from the history of the Thesaurus, from punch cards from early experiments with computers, to newspaper front pages from the day Michael Samuels announced the project in 1965 (“Tight Schedules in the Monte Carlo Rally” and “A Cleaner Thames in Prospect”), to photographs of the fire which almost destroyed project materials in 1978. The image below shows those members of the Thesaurus team who attended this launch.

The Thesaurus team at the Glasgow launch, 22 October 2009