guys it is Sir James Murray’s birthday and I AM SUPER EXCITED. He was the first (official) editor of the Oxford English Dictionary. There were a few guys before him, but Murray was the first editor that actually made significant progress, and is one of the only reasons the OED actually had a fighting chance.
I have a little bit of an intellectual crush on him. If you’re judging me, here’s Simon Winchester’s description of a teenaged Murray:
“He became an adept in the details of geology and botany and wildlife, he took up mapping, he became an exceptional amateur astronomer…he volunteered at scores of nearby archaeological diggings…he learned how to bind books. He taught himself how to illuminate manuscripts with little drawings and fleurons…He gave Latin names to the individual cows, and he taught them to respond to his calls."
Murray was also fluent in Latin, French, Italian, German, and Greek.
So, you know. A pretty amazing mind.
ALSO look at that MAJESTIC beard.
I, for one, am absolutely having a party in his honor tonight :)