KITTO, JOHN (1804-1854), English biblical scholar, was the son of a mason at Plymouth, where he was born on the 4th of December 1804. An accident brought on deafness, and in November 1819 he was sent to the workhouse, where he was employed in making list shoes. In 1823 a fund was raised on his behalf, and he was sent to board with the clerk of the guardians, having his time at his own disposal, and the privilege of making use of a public library. After preparing a small volume of miscellanies, which was published by subscription, he studied dentistry with Anthony Norris Groves in Exeter. In 1825 he obtained congenial employment in the printing office of the Church Missionary Society at Islington, and in 1827 was transferred to the same society's establishment at Malta. There he remained for eighteen months, but shortly after his return to England he accompanied Groves and other friends on a private missionary enterprise to Bagdad, where he obtained personal knowledge of Oriental life and habits which he afterwards applied with tact and skill in the illustration of biblical scenes and incidents. Plague broke out, the missionary establishment was broken up, and in 1832 Kitto returned to England. On arriving in London he was engaged in the preparation of various serial publications of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, the most important of which were the Pictorial History of Palestine and the Pictorial Bible. The Cyclopaedia of Biblicat Literature, edited under his superintendence, appeared in two volumes in 1843-1845 and passed through three editions. His Daily Bible Illustrations (8 vols. 1849-1853) received an appreciation which is not yet extinct. In 1850 he received an annuity of 100 from the civil list. In August 1854 he went to Germany for the waters of Cannstatt on the Neckar, where on the 25th of November he died.
See Kitto's own work, The Lost Senses (1845); J. E. Ryland's Memoirs of Kitto (1856); and John Eadie's Life of Kitto (1857).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)