White, Gilbert

White, Gilbert (1720 - 1793)


The 1813 edition of White's Selborne (viii-ix) gives the following biography: GILBERT WHITE was the eldest son of John White of Selborne, Esq. and of Anne the daughter of Thomas Holt, rector of Streatham in Surry. He was born at Selborne on July 18, 1720; and received his school-education at Basingstoke, under the Rev. Thomas Warton, vicar of that place, and father of those two distinguished literary characters, Dr. Joseph Warton, master of Winchester school, and Mr. Thomas Warton, poetry-professor at Oxford. He was admitted at Oriel College, Oxford, in December 1739, and took his degree of bachelor of arts in June 1743. In March 1744 he was elected fellow of his college. He became master of arts in October 1746, and was admitted one of the senior proctors of the university in April 1752. Being of an unambitious temper, and strongly attached to the charms of rural scenery, he early fixed his residence in his native village, where he spent the greater part of his life in literary occupations, and especially in the study of nature. This he followed with patient assiduity, and a mind ever open to the lessons of piety and benevolence which such a study is so well calculated to afford. Though several occasions offered of settling upon a college living, he could never persuade himself to quit the beloved spot, which was, indeed, a peculiarly happy situation for an observer. He was much esteemed by a select society of intelligent and worthy friends, to whom he paid occasional visits. Thus his days past, tranquil and serene, with scarcely any other vicissitudes than those of the seasons, till they closed at a mature age on June 26, 1793.

  • Foster, Paul G. M. Gilbert White and his Records: a Scientific Biography. London: Christopher Helm, 1988. QH 31 .W58F67 1988 Gerstein Library
  • --. "White, Gilbert (1720–1793)." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Ed. H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. Oxford: OUP, 2004. Online ed. Ed. Lawrence Goldman. Sept. 2011.
  • Holt-White, Rashleigh. The Life and Letters of Gilbert White of Selborne. 2 vols. London: J. Murray, 1901. QH 31 .W58H6 Gerstein Library
  • Johnson, Walter. Gilbert White, Pioneer, Poet, and Stylist. London: J. Murray, 1928. QH 31 .W58J6 Gerstein Library
  • Mabey, Richard. Gilbert White: a Biography of the Author of The natural history of Selborne. London: Century, 1986. QH 31 .W58M32 1986 Gerstein Library
  • Martin, Edward A. A Bibliography of Gilbert White, the Naturalist & Antiquarian of Selborne: with a Biography and a Descriptive Account of the Village of Selborne. Rev. edn. London: Halton, 1934. Z 8970.5 .M37 1934 Robarts Library
  • White, Gilbert. Journals. Ed. Francesca Greenoak. 3 vols. London: Century, 1986. QH 31 .W58A3 1986 Gerstein Library
  • --. The Natural History of Selborne: to which are Added the Naturalist's Calendar, Miscellaneous Observations, and Poems. London: White, Cochrane, 1813.
  • --. The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne, 1789. Menston: Scolar Press, 1970. QH 138 .S4W5 1789A Gerstein Library. Also London: T. Bensley for B. White, 1789. D-10/2651 RBSC Fisher Rare Book Library
Given Name
Family Name
Birth Date
July 18, 1720
Death Date
June 26, 1793
Family Relations
father : John White
wife : Anne White
  • M.A. Oriel College, Oxford

  • Farnham

  • Basingstoke grammar school

  • B.A. Oriel College, Oxford

  • Curate

  • Naturalist

Literary Period
Literary Movement
First RPO Edition