White, Adam (DNB00)

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WHITE, ADAM (1817–1879), naturalist, was born at Edinburgh on 29 April 1817, and educated at the high school of that city. When quite a lad he went to London with an introduction to John Edward Gray [q. v.], and became an official in the zoological department of the British Museum in December 1835. He held the post till 1863, when mental indisposition, consequent on the loss of his wife, necessitated his retirement on a pension.

He never permanently recovered, although, even when an inmate of one of the Scottish asylums, he edited and largely contributed to a journal the contents of which were supplied by the patients.

He was a member of the Entomological Society of London from 1839 to 1863, and a fellow of the Linnean Society of London from December 1846 to 1855. He died at Glasgow on 4 Jan. 1879. His work, except in a few instances in which he wrote to order, has proved, under the test of time, to be of exceptional value.

He was author of:

  1. ‘List of Crustacea in the … British Museum,’ London, 1847, 12mo.
  2. ‘Nomenclature of Coleopterous Insects in the … British Museum,’ pts. i–iv. vii. and viii., London, 1847–55, 12mo.
  3. ‘A Popular History of Mammalia,’ London, 1850, 8vo.
  4. ‘A Contribution towards an Argument for the Plenary Inspiration of Scripture. … By Arachnophilus,’ London, 1851, 8vo.
  5. ‘A Popular History of Birds,’ London, 1855, 8vo.
  6. ‘A Popular History of British Crustacea,’ London, 1857, 8vo.
  7. ‘Tabular View of the Orders and Leading Families of Insects’ (engraved by J. W. Lowry), London, 1857, and many subsequent issues undated.
  8. . ‘Tabular View of the Orders and Leading Families of Myriapoda, Arachnida, and Crustacea’ (engraved by J. W. Lowry), London, 1861, and many subsequent issues undated.
  9. ‘Heads and Tales; or Anecdotes … of Quadrupeds and other beasts,’ London and Edinburgh, 1869, 8vo; 2nd ed. 1870.

Between 1850 and 1855 he contributed parts iv., viii., xiv., xv., and xvii. to the ‘List of British Animals in the British Museum.’ He contributed notes on natural history specimens to numerous narratives of exploring expeditions published between 1841 and 1852.

He edited:

  1. ‘A Collection of Documents on Spitzbergen and Greenland’ [Hakluyt Society's works, No. 18], 1855.
  2. ‘The Instructive Picture Book, or Progressive Lessons from the Natural History of Animals and Plants,’ edited by A. White and R. M. Stark, 1857; 10th ed. 1877.
  3. ‘Spring … by R. Mudie,’ fifth thousand [1860].

He also wrote upwards of sixty papers, mostly on insects and crustacea, for various scientific journals between 1839 and 1861, and contributed ‘Some of the Invertebrata’ to the ‘Museum of Natural History,’ by Sir J. Richardson and others, Glasgow (1859–1862), 8vo; another issue (1868).

[Entom. Monthly Mag. xv. 210; Proc. Linn. Soc. i. 310; Brit. Mus. Cat.; Nat. Hist. Mus. Cat.; Roy. Soc. Cat.]

B. B. W.