1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Liddell, Henry George

LIDDELL, HENRY GEORGE (1811–1898), English scholar and divine, eldest son of the Rev. Henry George Liddell, younger brother of the first Baron Ravensworth, was born at Binchester, near Bishop Auckland, on the 6th of February 1811. He was educated at Charterhouse and Christ Church, Oxford. Gaining a double first in 1833, Liddell became a college tutor, and was ordained in 1838. In the same year Dean Gaisford appointed him Greek reader in Christ Church, and in 1846 he was appointed to the headmastership of Westminster School. Meanwhile his life work, the great Lexicon (based on the German work of F. Passow), which he and Robert Scott began as early as 1834, had made good progress, and the first edition appeared in 1843. It immediately became the standard Greek-English dictionary and still maintains this rank, although, notwithstanding the great additions made of late to our Greek vocabulary from inscriptions, papyri and other sources, scarcely any enlargement has been made since about 1880. The 8th edition was published in 1897. As headmaster of Westminster Liddell enjoyed a period of great success, followed by trouble due to the outbreak of fever and cholera in the school. In 1855 he accepted the deanery of Christ Church, then vacant by the death of Gaisford. In the same year he brought out a History of Ancient Rome (much used in an abridged form as the Student’s History of Rome) and took a very active part in the first Oxford University Commission. His tall figure, fine presence and aristocratic mien were for many years associated with all that was characteristic of Oxford life. Coming just at the transition period when the “old Christ Church,” which Pusey strove so hard to preserve, was inevitably becoming broader and more liberal, it was chiefly due to Liddell that necessary changes were effected with the minimum of friction. In 1859 Liddell welcomed the then prince of Wales when he matriculated at Christ Church, being the first holder of that title who had matriculated since Henry V. In conjunction with Sir Henry Acland, Liddell did much to encourage the study of art at Oxford, and his taste and judgment gained him the admiration and friendship of Ruskin. In 1891, owing to advancing years, he resigned the deanery. The last years of his life were spent at Ascot, where he died on the 18th of January 1898. Dean Liddell married in July 1846 Miss Lorina Reeve (d. 1910), by whom he had a numerous family.

See memoir by H. L. Thompson, Henry George Liddell (1899).