William Craigie

From Tolkien Gateway
William Craigie
Biographical information
Born13 August 1876
Died2 September 1957
EducationUniversity of St Andrews
University of Oxford

Sir William Alexander Craigie (18671957) was a philologist, lexicographer and Oxford professor. He was J.R.R. Tolkien's immediate predecessor as Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon from 1916 to 1925.


William Craigie was born in Dundee, Scotland and as a child developed a love for languages, particularly Scottish Gaelic. He enrolled at the University of St Andrews where he studied German, French, Danish and Icelandic. He was awarded a scholarship to study at Balliol College, Oxford where he began learning Celtic.[1]

In 1897, Craigie was the third editor hired to work on the Oxford English Dictionary.[1] He worked on N, Q, R, U, and V, Si–Sq, and Wo–Wy;[note 1] in total his work accounting for one-fifth of the original dictionary. He was Taylorian lecturer in the Scandinavian languages in 1904 before becoming Rawlinson and Bosworth professor of Anglo-Saxon in 1916 until his resignation in 1925.[2] After Craigie's resignation Tolkien applied for,[3] and held the position until 1945.[4]

External links


  1. Tolkien also worked on entries beginning with W.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Glenn Mills, "Sir William Alexander Craigie: A Man of Many Words" dated 3 September 2018, Museum of the University of St Andrews (accessed 25 February 2024)
  2. A. J. Aitken, "Craigie, Sir William Alexander" dated 23 September 2004, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (accessed 25 February 2024)
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 7, (dated 27 June 1935)
  4. Tom Shippey, "Tolkien, John Ronald Reuel" dated 23 September 2004, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (accessed 25 February 2024)