Pierre Larousse (1817-1875) was a French lexicographer grammarian, and encyclopaedist who died on this day, in 1875.
At the young age of 20, Larousse was a school teacher in Toucy, France. He grew increasingly frustrated over the archaic pedagogy and limiting learning tools, as he felt that school manuals were severely lacking in their content and that students should be afforded more freedom to think, and be able to quench their intellectual curiosity.
Larousse returned to school in order to complement his knowledge. and studied a myriad of disciplines from languages and social sciences, to mechanics and astronomy. During this time, he also opened a bookstore.
He decided to undertake the enormous project of compiling reference tools that would help students, educators, and the general public alike. As such, he edited the de facto French language dictionary, the Petit Larousse (originally, the Nouveau Dictionnaire de la langue française). He also authored the Grand dictionnaire universel du XIXè siècle. These endeavors were his life's work, and were published with the Éditions Larousse.