William Crooke (1848-1923) was an English orientalist and "the central figure in Anglo-Indian folklore" according to Richard Mercer Dorson. Born in a family long settled in Ireland, he was educated at Tipperary Grammar School, before winning a scholarship to the Trinity College, Dublin. In 1871, he entered the Indian Civil Service. As an Indian Civil Service officer, his tenure was entirely spent in the United Provinces of Agra and Awadh. During this time, he held charge as Magistrate and Collector of various districts like Etah, Saharanpur, Gorakhpur and Mirzapur. In these districts, he found abundant material for his researches in the ancient civilisation of India. He was also an accomplished hunter, and an outspoken critic of the mechanically efficient "Secretariat" system. He was allowed to retire early after just 25 years of service in 1895. Apart from his official duties to which he was heavily devoted, he found ample time to write much on the people of India and their religions, beliefs and customs. In 1910, he was chosen to be the President of the Anthropological Section of the British Association, and became the editor of Folklore in 1915. His works include: Rural and Agricultural Glossary, NWP and Oudh (1888), The Popular Religion and Folklore of Northern India (1896) and The Tribes and Castes of the NWP and Oudh (1896).