As George Redmonds is remembered this week, we've been looking back at the circumstances that led into the Yorkshire Historic Dictionary project, now so well advanced. Brian Barber reminded me about the initial spark: in December 2015, Brian (editor of the YAHS Wakefield Court Rolls series) was engaged in an email discussion with George. The exchange was a scholarly one, touching on editorial conventions in WCR volumes. In the course of this, George mentioned his own glossary of Yorkshire terms, an index of more than 50 years' dialect researches rich with sources. His Dictionary of Yorkshire Surnames had recently been published, and Brian picked up that the glossary was a huge project in its own right. But how to publish? And so a dialogue began, at first with thought that this could be issued as part of the WCR series.
Everything happened very quickly, and the fates were smiling. Because of its size and the need to digitize the index, it seemed a better fit for YAHS Record Series. The YAHSRS editor, Chris Webb, saw that the Marc Fitch Fund was looking for a suitable project as a memorial to David Hey, who was a close friend and collaborator of George. Chris's application for funding, based on a partnership between George, the Borthwick Institute at York University, and YAHSRS, was successful. George, meanwhile, was engaged in checking and correcting his glossary. Once the digitisation and editorial work started in autumn 2017, he advised Alexandra Medcalf, the project archivist, as she proceeded with the Yorkshire Historic Dictionary. He contributed a guest post to the Dictionary twitter feed as recently as 22 June.
It's been a bitter blow to all involved that George won't be here to see the end result - the published volumes and interactive online version of his crowning achievement. We hope that his family takes some comfort from George's knowing that it is well on its way, that the publishing process benefitted greatly from his input, and that it stands as a testament to his dedication and the exceptional quality he brought to his research.