DLB List of Names

The Dictionary of Labour Biography is an essential source for labour history research. First appearing in 1972, it currently runs to 15 volumes containing detailed biographical entries for 1,090 individuals, constituting an essential guide to many of the key figures in the labour movement over the past two centuries.

The List of Names published here with the kind permission of the current editors is intended as a research guide to help historians discover whether or not an entry exists, and to locate the correct volume if it does.


Dictionary of Labour Biography
List of Names
Vol 1 to Vol 15
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Dictionary of Labour Biography
List of Names

Vol 1 to Vol 15
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The idea for the dictionary originated with the historian G.D.H. Cole, who had for many years compiled manuscript volumes consisting of hundreds of names with brief biographical details. After his death in 1959, Dame Margaret Cole passed five volumes of entries to John Saville, who undertook to produce a dictionary of labour movement biography. The first mention of the proposed dictionary – then intended as a single Who’s Who style volume – appears in issue one of the Bulletin of the Society for the Study of Labour History, published in Autumn 1960.

Together with Joyce M. Bellamy, Saville edited and oversaw publication of the first ten volumes of the DLB between 1972 and 1999. Responsibility for the eleventh volume then passed to Keith Gildart, David Howell and Neville Kirk, with Gildart and Howell continuing to oversee publication of volumes 12 to 15, the most recent of which was published in 2019.

Among those in the Dictionary of Labour Biography are (clockwise from top left): Robert Applegarth, Mary Macarthur, Shapurji Saklatvala, Ben Tillett, Margaret Bondfield, James Keir Hardie and Susanna Lawrence. Click for larger image.