The Frederic G. Cassidy and Richard W. Bailey Awards for 2017

The Frederic G. Cassidy Award for Distinguished Achievement in Lexicography or Lexicology is presented to a senior member of the Society who has, throughout his or her career, significantly advanced lexicography or lexicology by major achievements at the highest scholarly standard in one or both of those fields. The Richard W. Bailey Award for Distinguished Service to Lexicography and Lexicology is presented to a senior member of the Society who has, throughout his or her career, significantly advanced lexicography or lexicology by service to one or both of those fields. The awards are presented biennially, for the first time in 2015, when Gerald L. Cohen received the Cassidy Award, and J. Edward Gates the Bailey Award. This year, a committee composed of Victoria Neufeldt, Allan Metcalf, Rod McConchie, Sarah Ogilvie, and me considered various candidates for the awards, and we are pleased to announce that Lise Winer will be the second recipient of the Cassidy Award and Madeline Kripke the second recipient of the Bailey Award.

Madeline Kripke has been collecting dictionaries since the 1960s; nowadays, she owns more than 20,000 of them. She first consulted dictionaries with practical ends in mind, but eventually, as Daniel Krieger reports in an article about Kripke in Narratively (http://narrative.ly/the-dame-of-dictionaries/), she “‘realized that dictionaries were each infinitely explorable, so they opened [her] to new possibilities in a mix of serendipity, discovery, and revelation.’” Her astonishing collection is not restricted to dictionaries but includes many other items of lexicographical interest. According to Krieger, she “has also amassed a wide variety of printed media, like old newspapers and magazines, such as the Police Gazette, which is chock-full of slang. She has boxed antique word games hundreds of years old, and a ton of ephemera, such as dictionary ads and prospectuses, postcards with dictionary content, order slips, brochures, advertising matchbook covers and blotters, circulars, and other rarities, like a long mimeographed sheet from a 1930s Philadelphia radio station that has a glossary of hipster slang that includes jitter sauce (liquor) and hepped (to be wise to things). ‘They have a historic and visual value,’ she says of ephemera, ‘and are often one-of-a-kind.’” Kripke knows all about each item in the collection: she is a remarkable bibliographer and historian of lexicography, and she has tutored many a scholar or lexicographer in her West Village apartment, where they consult with her as well as view items they can find there and there alone. Effectively, Kripke is the director of a private library and research institute and curator of its unparalleled collection. Professionally, Kripke started out in publishing, as an editor, copyeditor, and proofreader. A founding member of DSNA (see my account of the society’s origins in Dictionaries (2014)), she compiled the index for one of its early publications, Papers on Lexicography in Honor of Warren N. Cordell, edited by J. E. Congleton, J. Edward Gates, and Donald Hobar (1979). In a letter to James Rosier, who was then Vice-President of DSNA, dated December 31, 1983, Secretary-Treasurer Gates wondered “whether an index would be desirable for Dictionaries 1-5? We might be able to persuade Miss Kripke to do it.” In the end the journal’s second editor, William S. Chisholm, compiled a retrospective ten-year index for the 1990 issue. Miss Kripke missed a chance there but since she has taken every opportunity to serve DSNA and its members in constructive, quiet ways.

Lise Winer is Professor emerita of McGill University where she taught and served as director of graduate studies in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education. She is the pre-eminent scholar of the English creole of Trinidad and Tobago, about which she wrote in Trinidad and Tobago (John Benjamins, 1993) and in the marvelous collection, Badjohns, Bhaaji, and Banknote Blue: Essays on the Social History of Language in Trinidad and Tobago (University of the West Indies Press, 2007). She was lead editor of four nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Trinidadian novels in the University of the West Indies Press’s “Caribbean Classics” series. Her crowning and most obviously lexicographical achievement is the monumental Dictionary of the English/Creole of Trinidad and Tobago: On Historical Principles (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2008). Philip Baker, in the Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies (2013), wrote that “Winer’s dictionary must surely be the largest and best yet produced of the primary language of any Caribbean island, and will undoubtedly be the envy of others. It is, however, unlikely that anyone else will be willing to spend the vast amount of time necessary to compile, alone, a dictionary of comparable quality,” for Winer’s dictionary is, amazingly, a solo venture. Susanne Mühleisen concurs in English World-Wide (2011): “Noah Webster did not make it to Trinidad, as The Mighty Conqueror [Leroy Paul] laments in the last part of his calypso [“The Trinidad Dictionary,” which Winer uses as the dictionary’s epigram] (“As you should see you can’t disagree with me, / Webster should have gone to Trinidad / To complete his dictionary.”), but Lise Winer certainly did. Her dictionary is an outstanding accomplishment and a significant contribution to the field of dictionaries in varieties of English in general and to the study of Caribbean English / Creole languages in particular.” Alas, Noah Webster was born too early to join the Dictionary Society of North America, but as Winer and her dictionary prove, he isn’t the only great North American lexicographer.

The awards are meant to honor colleagues of great distinction and they are named for distinguished colleagues we should not forget. Frederic G. Cassidy (1907-2000) was a Fellow of the society, editor-in-chief of the Dictionary of American Regional English and, with R. B. LePage, editor of the Dictionary of Jamaican English. For a full account of his career, see the memorial article by Joan Houston Hall in Dictionaries (2001). Richard W. Bailey (1939-2011) was also a Fellow of the Society, as well as its Vice-President (1977-1979 and 1999-2001), President (2001-2003), Past President (2003-2005), and was the first editor of Dictionaries (1979-1989). A fuller account of his career can be found in Dictionaries (2011).

(Michael Adams)