The latest update to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography—published on Thursday 17 September 2015—adds biographies of 112 men and women active between the thirteenth and the early twenty-first century.
The new update includes a special focus on men and women active during the First World War—in combat and on the home front—with a particular focus on events in 1915. New additions include the physicians Louisa Garrett Anderson and Flora Murray who opened the Endell Street Military Hospital, London, in May 1915; it remains the only British army hospital staffed and run by women. Military inventions from 1915 include the bowl-shaped Brodie helmet (named after its designer John Brodie) which went into production in autumn 1915. Seven million of these helmets were produced by the end of the war. Other war-time lives include the boy soldier Horace Iles (1900-1916) who was killed at the Somme; his biography is now part of school education programmes run by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
September’s update also concludes a three-year research project to extend the ODNB’s coverage of the medieval religious—the abbots, abbesses, priors, and prioresses who ran England’s religious houses until the Reformation. The project has added 56 first-time biographies. To mark the projects’ completion Professor Claire Cross considers the Lives of the Religious for an understanding of medieval monasticism, and how those in office in the 1520s and 1530s responded to the Reformation.