About the Author
"E.A. Wallis Budge was born in Bodmin, Cornwall to Mary Ann Budge, a young woman whose father was a waiter in a Bodmin hotel. Budge's father has never been identified. Budge left Cornwall as a young man, and eventually came to live with his grandmother and aunt in London.
Budge became interested in languages before he was ten years old, but given that he left school at the age of twelve in 1869 to work as a clerk at the firm of W.H. Smith, he studied Hebrew and Syriac in his spare time with the aid of a volunteer tutor named Charles Seeger. Budge became interested in learning the ancient Assyrian language in 1872, when he also began to spend time in the British Museum. Budge's tutor introduced him to the Keeper of Oriental Antiquities, the pioneer Egyptologist Samuel Birch, and Birch's assistant, the Assyriologist George Smith. Smith helped Budge occasionally with his Assyrian, whereas Birch allowed the young man to study cuneiformtablets in his office and obtained books of Middle Eastern travel and adventure such as Sir Austen Henry Layard's Nineveh and Its Remains for him to read from the British Library.
From 1869 to 1878 Budge spent whatever free time he had from his job at W.H. Smith studying Assyrian, and he often walked down to St. Paul's Cathedral over his lunch break to study during these years. When the organist of St. Paul's, John Stainer, noticed Budge's hard work, he decided to help the boy to realize his dream of working in a profession that would allow him to study Assyrian. Stainer contacted Budge's employer, the Conservative Member of Parliament W.H. Smith, as well as the former Liberal Prime Minister W.E. Gladstone, and asked them to help his young friend. Both Smith and Gladstone agreed to help Stainer to raise money for Budge to attend Cambridge University, where Budge later studied Semitic languages, including Hebrew, Syriac, Ethiopic and Arabic from 1878 to 1883, continuing to study Assyrian on his own. Budge worked closely during these years with the famous scholar of Semitic languages William Wright, among others." (Quote from en.wikipedia.org)