Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Maltby, William

MALTBY, WILLIAM (1763–1854), bibliographer, born in London on 17 Jan. 1763, was youngest of the ten children of Brough Maltby, a wholesale draper, of Mansion House Street. Edward Maltby [q. v.], the bishop of Durham, was his cousin. He was educated under the Rev. James Pickbourne at Hackney, and there formed a life-long acquaintance with Samuel Rogers, a fellow-pupil. He was the youthful companion of Rogers in his assault upon Dr. Johnson's knocker in Bolt Court, and shared his terror-stricken flight before the great man's door could he opened. He proceeded to Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, but, being a dissenter, did not take a degree. He practised law as a solicitor for several years in connection with his elder brother, Rowland Maltby, formerly clerk to the Fishmongers' Company. On 23 June 1787 he was called to the bar at Gray's Inn. His tastes were, however, literary, and on the death of Professor Porson in 1808 he succeeded him as principal librarian of the London Institution on 1 Feb. 1809. Here he was the means of making large additions to the library, more especially in the bibliographical department. He had an extraordinary memory, knowledge of books, and facility of quotation from classical and English literature. He twice superintended the removal of the books and twice directed their rearrangement — in 1811 from Sir Robert Clayton's house in the Old Jewry to King's Arms Yard, Coleman Street, and in 1818 to 11 Finsbury Circus. He assisted in the compilation of the original catalogue, as well as in the first volume of a new edition. In 1834 he was superannuated from active duty, but was allowed the use of his apartments. He died at the London Institution on 5 Jan. 1854, and was buried at Norwood cemetery, where a tablet was erected to his memory by his old friend Rogers. Maltby contributed to 'Recollections of the Table Talk of Samuel Rogers,' by the Rev. A. Dyce, 1866, an appendix entitled 'Porsoniana,' pp. 295–334.

[Times, 11 Jan. 1856. p. 8; Gent. Mag. 1854, pt. i. pp. 209-10; Clayden's Early Life of Samuel Rogers and Rogers and his Contemporaries.]

G. C. B.