Minnesota State Law Library
Wallace B. White was born on August 8, 1827 in Massachusetts. He served as Minnesota's Territorial Librarian from February 1851 to 1853. Prior to his appointment, he was the deputy postmaster of St. Paul and the personal secretary of Alexander Ramsey, first Territorial Governor of Minnesota. White joined other prominent Minnesota settlers including Governor Ramsey, H.H. Sibley, Alexander Faribault, and James Goodhue as a member of the delegation that traveled to Traverse des Sioux in July 1851 to sign a treaty with several bands of Lakota and Dakota Native Americans. His name appears as a witness on the resulting Treaty of Traverse des Sioux, signed July 23, 1851, by which the Native Americans ceded much of their territory and agreed to move onto reservations along the Minnesota River in exchange for annual deliveries of cash and goods.
Following his tenure as Territorial Librarian, White served in the Massachusetts 20th Infantry Regiment during the Civil War from August, 1861 to November, 1862. He later held several positions in Washington, D.C. including Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Senate and a position in the War Department. He lived for a time in London, where he worked for a newspaper office, and died in Boston on May 6, 1882 at the age of 58 shortly after returning from Europe. He was buried at the Central Burying Ground, Boston Common.
You may read more about the life and work of Walter B. White in the resources linked in the Research Resources page, which are the source of this brief biography.