Search - List of Books by Gilbert White

"Hedge-hogs abound in my gardens and fields." -- Gilbert White
This article is about the 18th-C. English naturalist. For the 20th-C. American geographer, see Gilbert F. White. Also note Gilbert White (1859—1932), Bishop of Carpentaria, Australia and poet, and the American painter Gilbert White (1877—1939).


Gilbert White (18 July 1720 – 26 June 1793) was a pioneering naturalist and ornithologist.

White was born in his grandfather's vicarage at Selborne in Hampshire. He was educated by a private tutor in Basingstoke before going to Oriel College, Oxford. He obtained his deacon's orders in 1746, being fully ordained in 1749, and subsequently held several curacies in Hampshire and Wiltshire, including Selborne's neighbouring parishes of Newton Valence and Farringdon, as well as Selborne itself on four separate occasions. In 1752/53 White held the office of Junior Proctor at Oxford and was Dean of Oriel. In 1757 he became non-resident perpetual curate of Moreton Pinkney in Northamptonshire. After the death of his father in 1758, White moved back into the family home at The Wakes in Selborne, which he eventually inherited in 1763. In 1784 he became curate of Selborne for the fourth time, remaining so until his death. Having studied at Oriel at the behest of his uncle, he was ineligible to be considered for the permanent living of Selborne, which was in the gift of Magdalen College.

White is best known for his The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne (1789). This was a compilation of his letters to Thomas Pennant, the leading British zoologist of the day, and the Hon. Daines Barrington, an English barrister and another Fellow of the Royal Society. These letters contained White's discoveries about local birds, animals and plants. He believed in distinguishing birds by observation rather than by collecting specimens, and was thus one of the first people to separate the similar-looking Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and Wood Warbler by means of their song.

White is regarded by many as England's first ecologist and one of the founders of modern respect for nature. He said of the earthworm (1770):

Earthworms, though in appearance a small and despicable link in the chain of nature, yet, if lost, would make a lamentable chasm [...] worms seem to be the great promoters of vegetation, which would proceed but lamely without them...


White and William Markwick collected records of the dates of emergence of more than 400 plant and animal species, White recording in Hampshire and Markwick in Sussex between 1768 and 1793. These data, summarised in The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne as the earliest and latest dates for each event over the 25-year period, are among the earliest examples of modern phenology. His 1783/4 diary corroborates the dramatic climatic impacts of the volcanic 'Laki haze' that spread from Iceland with lethal consequences across Europe.

White's frequent accounts of a tortoise inherited from his aunt in The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne form the basis for Verlyn Klinkenborg's book, Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile (2006), as well as for Sylvia Townsend Warner's The Portrait of a Tortoise (1946).

His house in Selborne, The Wakes, now contains the Gilbert White Museum, as well as the Oates Memorial Museum, commemorating Frank and Lawrence Oates.

A biography of White, by Richard Mabey was published by Century Hutchinson in 1986, and won the Whitbread Biography of the Year award.

A documentary about White, presented by historian Michael Wood, was broadcast by BBC Four in 2006.

Gilbert White's famous work has been continuously in print since its first publication and is one of the most frequently published books in the English language; it is available online from the Gutenberg Project. The paperback edition of The Illustrated Natural History of Selborne was last reprinted by Thames & Hudson in 2007.

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Total Books: 150
The Natural History of Selborne
2016 - The Natural History of Selborne [Oxford World's Classics] (Paperback)Paperback, Hardcover, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
ISBN-13: 9780198737759
ISBN-10: 0198737750
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Science & Math
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The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne In the County of Southampton
The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne With Observations On Various Parts of Nature and the Naturalists Calendar
The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne with the Naturalist's Calendar and Miscellaneous Observations
Natural History of Selborne
2010 - Natural History of Selborne (Paperback)Paperback, Hardcover, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
ISBN-13: 9781153410335
ISBN-10: 1153410338
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The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne in the County of Southampton Volume 1
The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne Standard Ed by ET Bennett Revised with Additional Notes by JE Harting
The Natural History of Selborne Arranged for Young Persons
2010 - The Natural History of Selborne Arranged for Young Persons [By G. Ellis] (Paperback)
ISBN-13: 9781142301125
ISBN-10: 1142301125
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The Natural History of Selborne Observations On Various Parts of Nature and the Naturalist's Calendar with Notes by T Brown
Thirty Years in Tropical Australia
2010 - Thirty Years in Tropical Australia (Paperback)Paperback, Hardcover
ISBN-13: 9781142257231
ISBN-10: 1142257231
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The Natural History of Selborne and the Naturalist's Calendar
2010 - The Natural History of Selborne and the Naturalist's Calendar (Paperback)
ISBN-13: 9781142396275
ISBN-10: 1142396274
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The Natural History  Antiquities of Selborne in the County of Southampton
The Natural History of Selborne Volume 2
2010 - The Natural History of Selborne Volume 2 (Paperback)Paperback
ISBN-13: 9781142953324
ISBN-10: 1142953327
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The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne Volume 2
2010 - The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne Volume 2 (Paperback)
ISBN-13: 9781143086984
ISBN-10: 1143086988
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The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne With Observations on Various Parts of Nature and the Naturalist's Calendar
The Natural History of Selborne  With Observations on Various Parts of Nature and the Naturalist's Calendar
Natural History of Selborne  Observations On Nature Volume 1
2010 - Natural History of Selborne Observations on Nature Volume 1 (Paperback)
ISBN-13: 9781141765980
ISBN-10: 1141765985
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The Natural History of Selborne with Miscellaneous Observations and Explanatory Notes
The Natural History of Selborne With Its Antiquities Naturalist's Calendar
2010 - The Natural History of Selborne with Its Antiquities Naturalist's Calendar (Paperback)
ISBN-13: 9781152783072
ISBN-10: 1152783076
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The Natural History
2010 - The Natural History (Paperback)Paperback
ISBN-13: 9781152433625
ISBN-10: 1152433628
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Natural History of Selborne and Observations on Nature
2010 - Natural History of Selborne and Observations on Nature [Volume 1] (Paperback)
ISBN-13: 9781152433786
ISBN-10: 1152433784
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