HUNTER, William Wilson. Glasgow 15.7.1840 — Oaken Holt near Oxford 7.2.1900. Sir. British (Scottish) Civil Servant, Historian, Ethnologist and Linguist in India. Son of Andrew Galloway H., a manufacturer, and Isabella Wilson. Educated at Glasgow Academy and University (B.A. 1860). Further studies in Paris and Bonn (i.al. some Sanskrit). “Went out to Lower Bengal in 1862.” In 1869 he was chosen by Lord Mayo to organize the statistical survey of India and in 1871 made Director-General of Statistics. The work involved much travelling all around India. In 1881-87 Additional Member of Governor-General’s Legislative Council, in 1882-83 President of Education Commission, 1886 Member of Indian Finance Commission, 1886-87 Vice-Chancellor of Calcutta University. Retired in 1887, settled near Oxford concentrating on historical writing. Wrote weekly articles in The Times on Indian affairs and numerous articles and books. C.I.E. 1878, C.S.I. 1884, K.C.S.I. 1887. Hon. LL.D. Glasgow & Cambridge, M.A. Oxford. Married 1863 Jessie Murray, two sons.
Publications: Annals of Rural Bengal. 508 p. L. 1868, 5 more editions; A statistical account of Bengal. 20 vols. L. 1875-77; A Statistical Account of Assam. 1-2. 1879; Bengal Manuscript Records. L. 1894.
– A Comparative Dictionary of the Non-Aryan Languages of India and High Asia. 218 p. L. 1868 (mainly based on Hodgson’s collections).
– Life of Lord Mayo. 1-2. L. 1875; edited several biographies in Rulers of India Series, himself wrote on Dalhousie and Mayo (again).
– Edited 128 volumes of local Gazetteers and compiled from them: Imperial Gazetteer of India. 1-9. 1881 & 1-14. 1885-87, 3rd ed. 1-26. 190?.
– A Brief History of the Indian Peoples. 1883, 20th ed. 254 p. Oxford 1893.
– The Indian Empire, its Peoples, History and Products. 852 p. L. 1886 (revised introdustory chapter of the Gazetteer).
– Life of Brian Houghton Hodgson: British Resident at the court of Nepal. 390 p. L. 1896.
– A history of the British India. 1-2. 475+419 p. L. 1899-1900; several further works on colonial history.
Sources: Buckland, Dictionary; *J.S.C[otton], D.N.B. Suppl. 3, 1901, 16-19; *F.H. Skrine, JRAS 1900, 393-401; *F.H. Skrine, The life of Sir W.W.H. L. 1901; *Oxford D.N.B.; Wikipedia with photo.
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