It was a good day for Who’s Who when it fell into the benevolent hands of Oxford University Press. They gave it the Oxford treatment – “stand up straight, you ‘orrible little database, stick your chest out and be friendly to users!”
Who gets in and who’s left out is as controversial as ever, and people still write their own blurb, with sometimes hilarious results – Barbara Cartland’s entry was longer than some of her novels.
Which brings me on to the other aspect of Who’s Who, namely Who Was Who. The form is that, when you die, your last Who’s Who entry is incorporated in Who Was Who. This archive goes back to 1897.
A bonus for us Westminster Libraries cardholders is that there is a direct link, where relevant, to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography entry. This is, of course, even more exclusive than Who’s Who – as well as star quality your reputation needs to have staying power if you are going to get into the ODNB after your demise. And you don’t get to write your own obituary!