Leonard Lodewijk De Bo was born as the only son of Ludovicus De Bo, farmer, and Amelia Lemayeur. As a splendid secondary school student at the college of Tielt he started studying at the major seminary in Bruges in October 1846. He was ordained priest on March 15th, 1851 in Bruges. From April 11th until October 1st 1851 he was curate in the parish of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception in Ver-Assebroek.
On October 1th 1851 he became a teacher in the fifth and sixth form at the Saint Louis College in Bruges, a position he would hold for 22 years, until July 9th, 1873, when he was appointed pastor of the parish of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in Elverdinge (09.07.1873-27.09.1882). Having been parish priest in Ruiselede from September 27th, 1882 till April 22nd, 1884, he was transferred as priest-dean to the Saint Bertinus parish in Poperinge on April 22nd, 1884, even though he had taken ill by that time and dreaded the transfer. He would die the following year.
As a seminarist De Bo was already collecting West-Flemish vocabulary. The West-Vlaamsch Idioticon (West-Flemish Lexicon) is his life’s work and contains a compilation and explanation of more than 25 000 West-Flemish words and expressions. It was published between 1870 and 1873 and was followed by a second, updated edition in 1890-1892.
De Bo got acquainted with Gezelle in the major seminary in Bruges in 1850; they soon became good friends and worked closely together on the study of the West-Flemish language. De Bo was an active contributor to a.o. Loquela and Rond den Heerd (By the Fireside). His Schatten uit de volkstaal (1887) (Treasures from the vernacular) and Kruidwoordenboek (Herb Dictionary), the result of his lifelong botanical activities, were published posthumously.
Online Edition of the Gezelle Letters
Here you can find the digitized letters next to the full searchable text. The letters are enriched with biographical and contextual information.