Whitney, William Dwight
- Julia S. Falk
Whitney, William Dwight (09 February 1827–07 June 1894), linguist, Sanskrit scholar, and lexicographer, was born in Northampton, Massachusetts, the son of Josiah Dwight Whitney, a businessman and banker, and Sarah Williston. At age fifteen he joined the sophomore class of Williams College, graduating three years later in 1845 as the class valedictorian after having spent “no small part of his time … roaming over the hills and through the valleys, collecting birds for the Natural History Society,” according to his autobiography (repr. in Silverstein, p. 1). This early interest in natural science was sustained throughout Whitney’s life and played an important role in his approach to the study of language....