About the Society
The Dictionary Society of North America was formed in 1975 to bring together people interested in dictionary making, study, collection, and use. Our more than 400 members who live in 40 countries around the world include people working on dictionaries, academics who engage in research and writing about dictionaries, dictionary collectors, librarians, booksellers, translators, linguists, publishers, writers, collectors, journalists, and people with an avocational interest in dictionaries.
The only requirement for membership is an expression of interest in language, in words, dictionaries and lexicography, or any combination of these.
Members receive a semi-annual newsletter that gives information about the Society and its members, dictionaries or lexicographic research in progress or recently published, lexicography courses and workshops, and recent or forthcoming conferences of lexicographic interest. Once a year they also receive the journal Dictionaries, containing forums on issues in lexicography; articles or notes and queries on the making, critique, use, collection, and history of dictionaries, including sketches of lexicographers; descriptions of significant dictionary collections; reviews of dictionaries and books on lexicography or closely related topics; and bibliographies on various aspects of lexicography. A membership directory is published every few years. Other occasional publications are issued.
We meet every other year to make or renew acquaintance with other lexicophiles and to present and hear papers about dictionaries. We have met in Terre Haute, Indiana; Urbana, Illinois; London, Ontario; Cincinnati, Ohio; Newark, Delaware; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Philadelphia; Cleveland; Columbia, Missouri; Las Vegas; Madison; Berkeley; Ann Arbor (in connection with the celebration of the completion of the Middle English Dictionary, the first fascicle of which was published in 1952); Durham, North Carolina; Boston; Chicago, and Bloomington, Indiana. The next DSNA Biennial Meeting will be held in 2021.
The Dictionary Society of North America was founded by participants in a colloquium entitled “Research on the History of English Dictionaries” held at Indiana State University, in Terre Haute, Indiana, on May 20–21, 1975. As stated in its handbook, “The purpose of the Society is to foster scholarly and professional activities relating to dictionaries” (defined as lists of words or other vocabulary items, with information about their meaning or other linguistic properties). “The Society shall carry out its stated purpose by promoting the exchange of information and ideas among members through meetings, research projects, publications (such as a newsletter, a journal, bibliographies, directories) and any other means it may deem appropriate.”
The DSNA is a member of the American Council of Learned Societies, whose mission is “the advancement of humanistic studies in all fields of learning in the humanities and the social sciences and the maintenance and strengthening of relations among the national societies devoted to such studies.”
[We thank Ed Finegan who prepared this list and compiled the links to obituaries.]