The Staff of the Middle English Dictionary: 1952 to completion

David Jost

“Those since 1952 are listed in the headnotes and endnotes to the individual published letters.” “Those” refers to the editors and production staff of the Middle English Dictionary. The quotation is from page iv of the Middle English Dictionary, Plan and Bibliography, Second Edition, by Robert E. Lewis, Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press, 2007. The purpose of this brief article is to use these headnotes and endnotes as well as fascicle covers to list the staff since 1952. I use these sources exclusively, so I do not capture such things as facts or name changes that occurred after these sources were published.

To do justice to the staff lists it would not do to simply list staff alphabetically. The list needs to be broken down into four periods to give a sense of how the work was done. These periods are: 1. Hans Kurath, 2. Sherman M. Kuhn a., 3. Kuhn b., 4. Robert E. Lewis.

1. Kurath A-F.  E was completely done by Kurath as Editor and Kuhn as Associate Editor.

F saw the addition of other staff, some of whom worked on many following letters:  Charles E. Palmer. Margaret S. Ogden, James W. Downer, Helen M. Snyder, Richard L. McKelvey, and Elizabeth S. Uhr.

E and F were done according to a new plan that was devised by Kurath. Once it was successful, letters done by a team preceding Kurath headed by Thomas A. Knott were reedited. These letters were A, B, C and L and parts of D and M {see MED A Preface}.

During the reediting of A through D under the direction of Kurath and Kuhn, Palmer, Ogden, Snyder, and McKelvey continued their work, and Helen W. Kao joined them (for all four letters) as did Alice A. Shannon (B-C) and William R. Van Riper (A-B), and for D only Lidie M. Howes, John Reidy, and Johannes Hedberg. The staff was assisted by the compositors Geraldine L. Preston (B), Jean P. Mueller (B-D), and Mary K. Wilde (C-D).

2. Kuhn a. G-L. Kuhn takes over the leadership in G (though Kurath is credited with some work in G and M). John Reidy is Associate Editor for G-L.

In Kuhn 1 we see again Palmer (G-L), Ogden (G-I), Snyder (G), McKelvey (G-L), Kao (G-L), Shannon (now Ann Shannon Paden–I), Howes (G-H).  New members of the staff during this time were Thomas J. Garbaty (G), James L. Rosier (G-H), Lazaros A. Varnas (H-K), Suksan Kim (H-J), Katherine Garvin (H), Donald B. Sands (H), Frances McSparran (I-L), Ardath M. Clark (I-K), and Bernard Van’t Hul (L).  Compositors were Mueller (G), Wilde (G-L—in I-L also editor), Nancy D. Allison (H-L), and John T. Lamendella (G).

 3. Kuhn b. M-Q. Kuhn remains as editor until P, but I run this era through Q because the events seem to me to fit this segmentation best.

Around the beginning of this period a grant from the Mellon Foundation helped bring in a new group of editors mostly with newly minted PhDs.

Several members of the staff of period 2 remained, Palmer through O, McKelvey, Shannon (now Ann), and Kao through Q.  Howes returned for M-Q on the production side, and Wilde was still compositor and editor in M. Reidy participated for part of M (Associate Editor) and then returned for O (Consulting Editor in O) through Q (Review Editor in Q). McSparran (M-N) and Van’t Hul (M-O) round out the staff that had worked on Kuhn 1. The new members of the staff as of M are Mary Jane Williams (M-Q—compositor in M and then editor), Roy R. Barkley (M-Q), Elaine Tuttle Hansen (M-P), David A. Jost (M-Q), Stephen F. Lappert (M-Q ), Lister M. Matheson (M-Q), Robert C. Rice (M-Q). A few editors joined the staff near the end of this period: Robert E. Lewis (P), Karis Crawford (O-Q), G.W.  Abernethy (Q), William C. Hale (Q), and Joseph P. Pickett (Q).

On the production side there are many new faces.   Walter C. Bak (M-O), Veidre Burdsall (M), Martha Fessler Krieg (M-P), Jennifer C. Hoff (P-Q), Eric Jager (P-Q), Vincent P. McCarren (P-Q), Rose A. Melikan (P-Q), Marilyn S. Miller (P-Q). Joyce M. Wolford (P-Q), Erika V. Cassill (P), Jerrell D. Clark (P), Clifford E. Douglas (P),  Richard T. Kidder (P),  Jon D. Pheils (P), Delores J. Kuzma (Q), Patricia V. Lehman (Q).

4. Robert E. Lewis is Editor-in-Chief from Q through Z. Kuhn has the title Editor Emeritus in Q to S1 (first volume of S).

A number of staff from earliest periods are still working, including McKelvey through R, Kao through Z, and Shannon through T. Reidy is Review Editor through S2.

From period 3 staff remain also with the last letter worked on following their name: Barkley (S1), Jost (S1), Lappert (S2), Matheson (S2), Rice (R), Crawford (R), Abernethy (V), Hale (S2), Pickett (T), and Williams through Z, becoming a Review Editor in S2. Miller also served through Z and became an editor in S1-S2, a Review Editor in T and also Programmer and Systems Analyst.

Many new faces worked on the final letters:

Robert N. Mory (S1-Z),  Paul Acker (S1-T),  Marsha L. Dutton (S1-T), Anita F. Handelman (S1-T), Michael J. Phillips (S1-T), Cynthia R. Bland (S1-S2), Elizabeth S. Girsch (S2-Z–she became Review Editor in U), James M. Girsch (S2-Z), Marshal S. Grant (S2-Z), Mona L. Logarbo (S2-Z),  Douglas A. Moffat (S2-Z), Paul F. Schaffner (S2-Z),  Mary E. Housum (S2-T—also as Mary Elizabeth Ellzey in T), Jeffrey L. Singman (T- Z), Karen E. Mura (T-U), David W. Ruddy (U-Z), Barbara P.H. Grant (T and V).

As for Production, Howes was Head through almost all the remaining work. McCarren continued and as of T had the title Research Investigator. Hoff, Lehman, Melikan, and Miller remained through R and Jager, Kuzma, and Wolford through S2.

The rest of the Production Staff members in this period were new. They were Olivia L. Bottum (Head of Production for T and also on staff for R-S1 and U-Z— as Olivia B. Lenz for S2), Katherine A. Beltinick (R-S1–as Katherine A. Shelton for S2-T), Louise W. Palazzola (S2-Z), Michael P. Adams (S1-S2), Mary B. Evich (S1-S2), James M. Sutton (S1-S2), Rina Kor (S2-T and W-Z), Patrick M. Florance (T-Z), Susannah J. Baker (S2-T),  David W. Ruddy (S2-T–also editor; see above), Ekaterina M. Vladimirsky (T-V), Elaine L. Halleck (T-U), William R. Hosticka (T-U), Christopher R. Scherer (U-Z),  Diane M. Johnson (V-Z), Anne M. Scott (S2), Kathleen M. Militzer (T), Laura E. Cunniff (W-Z), Karen I. Pritula (W-Z).

Note that the above lists are by no means a complete history of MED staff. For more information see page iv-vi of the Plan referenced at the beginning of this article. Also for dates of publication of the fascicules of the MED see pp. 29-30 of the Plan.

I owe a debt of gratitude to Robert Lewis, Paul Schaffner, Vincent McCarren, Olivia Bottum, and Michael Adams who looked at this staff list. Any errors that remain are mine alone.