We have rightly credited Robert Whitwell with the proposal that eventually led to the finished DMLBS. His initiative in 1913, which saw its culmination a century later, was not the first attempt to set out the case for a replacement for DuCange. Here we see a copy of one such proposal, that of E. A. Dayman, from the 19th century. This was sent to Whitwell in 1915 by C. J. Parker, who had found it among the papers of his father; presumably both Parkers were part of the bookselling and publishing Parker family who had premises in Oxford in the 19th and 20th centuries. (The proposed publisher of Dayman’s Dictionary, which was to be produced with the assistance of J. H. Hessels, was John Murray of London.)
The 16-page prospectus continues with 12 pages of specimen entries starting from A. Parker’s covering letter says that he thinks the ‘scheme never progressed further than the circular’, though the specimen implies a good deal of gathering of material.