The Journals of Walter White
Although he left school at fourteen to work as an upholsterer and cabinet-maker, Walter White (1811-93) would spend forty years working in the library of the Royal Society. White was mostly self-taught, a voracious reader who also learnt German, French, and Latin, and a diligent attender at lectures and other events offering self-improvement. After a brief emigration to the United States, he returned to Britain in 1839, and was offered a post as 'attendant' in the Royal Society's library in 1844; this led to his cataloguing much of the collection, and in 1861 he was appointed Librarian. He became acquainted with many of the Society's members, including Thomas Carlyle, Charles Darwin, and Lord Tennyson. These journals, published posthumously by his brother in 1898, begin with a brief account of his early years before charting his intellectual progress and career, ending in the year he retired, 1884.