Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Whittaker, George Byrom

WHITTAKER, GEORGE BYROM (1793–1847), bookseller and publisher, born at Southampton in March 1793, was the son of the Rev. George Whittaker, master of the grammar school. About 1814 he became a partner of Charles Law, wholesale bookseller, Ave Maria Lane, London, a house established by W. Bidwell Law (d. 1798). Whittaker brought capital and energy into the business. One enterprise was the publication of a translation of Cuvier's ‘Animal Kingdom,’ in sixteen volumes, with many coloured plates. In 1824 he served as sheriff of London and Middlesex. He published for Mrs. Trollope, Colley Grattan, George Croly, and Miss Mitford. The last novel of Sir Walter Scott came out with his imprint, and his firm published in London all the early collective editions of the novelist. In conjunction with the Oxford and Cambridge booksellers he produced a series of Greek and Latin classics. John Payne Collier's edition of Shakespeare (1841) was issued by him. He published the Pinnock educational primers and many other children's books, and he was a promoter of reading among the people by his ‘Popular Library.’

He died at Kensington on 13 Dec. 1847. Richard Gilbert [q. v.], founder of the printing firm of Gilbert & Rivington, married Whittaker's only sister; their son Robert succeeded to his uncle's property and business.

[Gent. Mag. 1848, i. 95–6; Nichols's Illustrations, 1858, viii. 483–4.]

H. R. T.