Hale White

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William Hale White
1887 crayon drawing by Arthur Hughes (1831–1915)

William Hale White (December 22, 1831 – March 14, 1913), known by his pseudonym Mark Rutherford, was a British writer and civil servant.

Life, career and memorials[edit]

Plaque on his birthplace

White's father, William White, a member of the Nonconformist community of the Bunyan Meeting, became well known as a doorkeeper at the House of Commons and wrote sketches of parliamentary life for the Illustrated Times.[1] A selection of his parliamentary sketches was published posthumously, in 1897, by Justin McCarthy, the Irish nationalist MP, as The Inner Life of the House of Commons.[2]

White himself was born in Bedford and educated at Bedford Modern School[3] until the family moved to London.[4] There he was trained for the Congregational ministry, but the development of his views prevented his taking up that career and he became a clerk in the Admiralty.[4]

He had already served an apprenticeship to journalism before he made his name, or rather his pen name, "Mark Rutherford", famous with three novels, supposedly edited by one Reuben Shapcott: The Autobiography of Mark Rutherford (1881), Mark Rutherford's Deliverance (1885) and The Revolution in Tanner's Lane (1887).[5][6]

Under his own name White translated Spinoza's Ethics (1883). His later books include Miriam's Schooling, and Other Papers (1890), Catherine Furze (2 vols, 1893), Clara Hopgood (1896), Pages from a Journal, with Other Papers (1900), and John Bunyan (1905).[6]

There is now a Mark Rutherford School in Bedford and a blue plaque commemorates White at 19 Park Hill in Carshalton.[7]


His eldest son, Sir William Hale-White, was a distinguished doctor (sketch). His second son, Jack, married Agnes Hughes, one of Arthur Hughes' daughters.

Selected publications[edit]

  • The Autobiography of Mark Rutherford: Dissenting Minister Trubner and Co., London, 1881
  • Mark Rutherford's Deliverance Trubner and Co., London, 1885
  • The Revolution in Tanner's Lane Trubner and Co., London, 1887
  • Miriam's Schooling Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner and Co., London, 1890
  • Catharine Furze T. Fisher Unwin, London, 1893
  • Clara Hopgood T. Fisher Unwin, London, 1896


  1. ^ "Dictionary of Nineteenth-century Journalism in Great Britain and Ireland". google.co.uk. Retrieved 12 July 2015. 
  2. ^ William White, The Inner Life of the House of Commons, edited with a preface by Justin McCarthy, MP, London, T. Fisher Unwin, 1897
  3. ^ "Bedford Modern School of the black & red". worldcat.org. Retrieved 12 July 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Bedford Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire Council. "Mark Rutherford (William Hale White) - Digitised Resources - The Virtual Library". culturalservices.net. Retrieved 12 July 2015. 
  5. ^ Max Saunders, "Autobiografiction," Times Literary Supplement (October 3, 2008), 13-15.
  6. ^ a b "Results for 'au:Rutherford, Mark,' [WorldCat.org]". worldcat.org. Retrieved 12 July 2015. 
  7. ^ "WHITE, WILLIAM HALE (1831–1913)". English Heritage. Retrieved 2012-08-05. 


  • Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 
  • William James Dawson, "Religion in Fiction", a chapter, part of which is devoted to Hale White (on p. 283-289) in The Makers of English Fiction, 2nd ed., F.H. Revell Co., 1905.
  • E. J. Feuchtwanger, White, William (1807–1882), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004.

External links[edit]

This article is about the British writer. For the English footballer, see Mark Rutherford (footballer).