MC:F45 Papers of Charles Talbut Onions (Fellow 1923-65)
Charles Talbut Onions (1873–1965), a native of Birmingham, came to work for the New English Dictionary (later the Oxford English Dictionary) in the 1890s, and in 1914 became its fourth principal editor. As such, he edited the final volumes of the OED, and also the Supplement which was published in 1933. He also edited the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, was honorary director of the Early English Text Society, and edited Medium Aevum, but his final major work was the Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology (1966), which went to press before he died.
Onions was elected as a Research Fellow of Magdalen in 1923, succeeding Henry Bradley, the second principal Editor of the OED, who had just died, and retained his post until his death. He played an active role in the College, serving as Fellow Librarian at Magdalen from 1940–55.
The papers relating to Magdalen College Library contain several correspondence files and other documents dating from the period of Onions’s Librarianship; otherwise the only personal documents relating to him are these three newspapers – and even then only MC:F45/N1/2 is explicitly linked to him.
MC:F45/N1/1 29 Oct 1929
Copy of the Times, which contains a substantial supplement on the history of printing.
MC:F45/N1/2 24 Mar 1930
Copy of the Times, inscribed “The property of C. T. Onions”, which includes on the letters page a letter from Onions himself asking for quotations of new coinages from the last fifty years which can be used for the forthcoming Supplement to the Oxford English Dictionary.
MC:F45/N1/3 19 Jul 1946
Copy of France. It is not clear why this paper was preserved (let alone whether it was preserved by Onions or someone else), but there is a report on the front page of a speech given by Winston Churchill at Metz.