Joseph Jacobs was born in Sydney, Australia on August 29, 1854. After graduating from Cambridge University in 1876, he pursued a full and varied career, writing many essays for various periodicals including a famous series in 1882 on the Russian persecutions of the Jews. He also made his influence felt as a Jew by editing the first issues of The Jewish Yearbook (1896--99), serving as president of the Jewish Historical Society, and editing The Jewish Encyclopedia. He later served as professor of English at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City. His interest in folklore grew out of his studies in anthropology. From 1890 to 1893, he edited Folk Lore, a British journal on the subject. He also edited the Arabian Nights and Aesop's Fables and produced a series of fairy tale books. These fairy tale collections were the result of regular research in folklore, literature, anthropology, and other fields, and they are, perhaps, the works for which he is best remembered today. While other collectors of English folk tales rewrote or left out the crude language of the originals, he brought the vigor of colloquial English into his folk tale collections, and such memorable phrases as Fee-fi-fo-fum and chinny chin chin remain the strength of his contributions. He died on January 30, 1916.