John Kitto, an English Biblical scholar, born in Plymouth, Dec. 4, 1804, died in Cann-statt, Germany, Nov. 25, 1854. He was the son of a mason, and when about 12 years old was rendered incurably deaf by a fall from the roof of a house. Poverty compelled him to enter the workhouse of Plymouth. He was apprenticed to a shoemaker, who treated him so cruelly that his indentures were cancelled and he returned to the workhouse. His love of study procured him admission to a college in Islington, and he soon after published by subscription a small volume of miscellaneous writings. Next he went to Exeter to learn the profession of a dentist; and thence to London, where he was employed in the printing office of the church missionary society. Two years later he went to the society's establishment at Malta, and subsequently he visited Bagdad as a private tutor. There he resided three years, and acquired an intimate acquaintance with oriental life. Soon after returning to London Charles Knight engaged him first as assistant in preparing serials for the "Library of Useful Knowledge," and afterward in the compilation of other works.
Having been seized with paralysis, he retired in 1854 to Cannstatt. In 1844 he received the degree of D. D. from the university of Giessen; and the British government granted him in 1850 an annuity of £100. His principal works are: the "Pictorial Bible" (1835-'8; 2d ed. enlarged, 4 vols, royal 8vo, 1847-'9); "Uncle Oliver's Travels" (2 vols. 12mo, 1838); "Pictorial History of Palestine" (2 vols, royal 8vo, 1839-'40); " Cyclopaedia of Biblical Literature " (2 vols. 8vo, 1845-'50); "The Lost Senses: Deafness and Blindness" (1845); "Physical Geography of the Holy Land " (2 vols. 18mo, 1848); "Daily Bible Illustrations" (8 vols., 1849-'53). In 1848 he established the "Journal of Sacred Literature," which he edited till 1853. His memoirs have been written by J. E. Ryland (Edinburgh, 1856).