Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Overall, William Henry

1429459Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 42 — Overall, William Henry1895Charles Welch

OVERALL, WILLIAM HENRY (1829–1888), librarian of the Guildhall Library, son of William Henry Overall and Rosetta Davey, was born on 18 Jan. 1829 at St. John's Wood. He was educated at a private school and afterwards at the newly opened City of London College, Crosby Hall, Bishopsgate. He entered the office of the town clerk at Guildhall in 1847, and in 1857 was appointed sub-librarian of the corporation library, which then consisted of a few straggling apartments in the front of the Guildhall. In 1865, on the death of William Turner Alchin [q. v.], he received the appointment of librarian, and, on the completion of the new building in Basinghall Street at the eastern end of the Guildhall, he superintended the removal of the collections to the new building and arranged the museum. His knowledge of the historical topography of the City of London and its suburbs was extensive and accurate, and the ready help which he afforded in his official position to all inquirers made his services widely appreciated. He was elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in May 1868, and was for many years a member of the councils of the Library Association and the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society. In 1877 he was presented with the honorary freedom and livery of the Clockmakers' Company, of whose library and museum of clocks and watches he prepared a printed catalogue in 1875, which was followed in 1881 by his 'History' of the company. In conjunction with his cousin, Mr. H. C. Overall, he prepared for the corporation library committee in 1878 an 'Analytical Index to the Series of Records known as the Remembrancia preserved among the Archives of the City of London, A.D. 1579-1664,' with biographical and historical notes. This work was the outcome of a joint examination of the corporation records and an elaborate report on their nature and condition. He died at Crouch End, Middlesex, after along illness, on 28 June 1888, and was buried in St. Pancras cemetery, Finch ley, on 3 July. He was married, on 20 April 1851, to Mary Anne Elizabeth Bailey, by whom he had fourteen children, nine of whom survived him. In addition to the works above mentioned, catalogues of various collections in the Guildhall Library, and several papers on antiquarian subjects, he published:

  1. 'A Dictionary of Chronology,' 1870;
  2. 'The Accounts of the Church-wardens of St. Michael, Cornhill, 1456-1608,' edited in 1871;
  3. 'Civitas Londinum: a facsimile of Agas's Map of London, with an Introduction,' 1874 [see Agas, Radulph].

[Catalogue of the Guildhall Library; personal information.]

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