The history of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) goes back to 1857 when the then Dean of Westminster, by calling attention to deficiencies of existing English dictionaries, encouraged the Philological Society to make plans for the compilation of a new English dictionary. These culminated after an experimental period of some 20 years in the launching of the great project to produce A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles, as the OED was originally called.
Francis, Darryl H.
"The OED Supplement (A-G, H-N),"
Word Ways: Vol. 10
, Article 16.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.butler.edu/wordways/vol10/iss2/16