Sir James Murray
acquired his great philological and anti‐quarian knowledge largely through his own studies. He made the acquaintance of many scholars with similar preoccupations, including Skeat, Sweet, and Furnivall; he became a member of the Philological Society, to which he delivered in 1868 papers later printed as The Dialect of the Southern Counties of Scotland (1873). In 1879, after lengthy negotiation and much hesitation, he was appointed editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, a monumental work which was to occupy the rest of his life. He laid down the lines on which the work was to be compiled, and persevered through many difficulties.