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October 10, 2018

The October 2018 update adds thirty-seven articles (including one reference group article), containing thirty-seven biographies, accompanied by four portrait likenesses.  The particular focus is on global lives, and biographies of people connected with communism. The communist lives have been curated by Professor Kevin Morgan of the University of Manchester, whose introduction to them is below.

From October 2018, the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography  (ODNB) offers biographies of 60, 727 men and women who have shaped the British past, contained in 62,993 articles.  11,608 biographies include a portrait image of the subject – researched in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery, London. Read the full editorial introduction to this month’s update.

New and updated subjects - October 2018


Alexandrowicz, Charles Henry (d. 1975), international lawyer and historian

Appleton, Joseph Edward [Joe] (d. 1991), saxophonist, clarinettist, and bandleader

Ashton, Mark Christian (d.1987), communist and gay activist

Bell, Thomas Hargrave [Tom] (d. 1944), political organizer

Cohen, Rose (d. 1937), communist

Duranty, Walter (d. 1957), journalist

Eccarius,  John George (d. 1889), tailor and political activist

Edgecombe, John Arthur Alexander [Johnny] (d. 2010), jazz promoter and marijuana advocate

Erskine, Uriah Augustus Alexander [Joe] (d. 1925), gambler and entrepreneur

Fagon, Alfred (d. 1986), actor, playwright, and poet

Fox,  Ralph Winston (d. 1936), author and communist

Frow,  (Stephen) Edmund (d. 1997), toolmaker, trade unionist, and bibliophile

Frow,  Ruth (d. 2008), political activist and book collector

Fry, (Anna) Ruth (d. 1962), pacifist and humanitarian

Jones, Gareth Richard Vaughan (d. 1935), journalist

King [married names: Moore; Tighe], Margaret Jane,  Countess Mount Cashell, [known as Mrs Mason], (d. 1835), writer and political activist

King, Bryan Earle (d. 1987), legal scholar and anti-colonial campaigner

Kirkup, Thomas (d. 1912), historian of socialist thought

Knight, John (d. 1838), radical

Knyvett [Knivet], Anthony (d. 1649), traveller

Litvinov (née Low), Ivy Teresa (d. 1977), author  

Macfarlane, Helen [pseud. Howard Morton; married names: Proust, Edwards] (d. 1860), political writer and translator

Morton, (Arthur) Leslie (d. 1987), historian and literary critic

Osborn, Ernest George Hayward (d. 1957), radio pioneer in east Asia

Paul, (Maurice) Eden (d. 1944), medical practitioner and author

Paul (née Davenport), Gertrude Mary [Cedar] (d. 1972), singer, author, and translator

Polanyi, Karl Paul (d. 1964), political economist and socialist theorist

Ramelson (former name Rachmilevitch), Baruch [Bert], (d. 1994), communist and trade unionist

Ramelson (née Jessop), Marian (d. 1967), communist party organizer

Rawson [née Read], Mary Anne (d. 1887), philanthropist and slavery abolitionist

Rothstein, Andrew (d. 1994), communist

Rothstein, Theodore (d. 1953), writer and political activist

Simmons, Benasco (Ben)  (d. 1934), singer and entertainer

Smart, Sir Walter Alexander (d. 1962), diplomatist and orientalist

Tambo, Oliver Reginald Kaizana (d. 1993), politician in South Africa

Taylor, Sophia Susannah (d. 1911), translator of theological books

The Pentrich Rebels (act. 1817)

Trevelyan, Mary (d. 1983), warden of Student Movement House

Whitrow, Abraham (d. 1714), self-styled prophet


The Oxford DNB is updated regularly throughout the year, giving you access to the most up-to-date and accurate information available. Nearly all public libraries in England, Scotland, and Wales—and all in Northern Ireland—subscribe to the Oxford DNB. This means you can access tens of thousands of biographies, free, via your local library—anywhere, anytime. Full access to all biographies is also available by individual subscription.

Discover a full list of entries added this year.