William Baly, MD (1814-1861), was born at King's Lynn, Norfolk, where he attended the grammar school. He became a pupil of University College, London, in 1831, and of St Bartholomew's Hospital in 1832. After passing the College of Surgeons and the Apothecaries's Hall, Baly went to Paris in 1834, moving on from there to Heidelberg, and then Berlin, where he graduated M.D. in 1836. On his return he started in practice in London. In 1841 he was appointed physician to Millbank Penitentiary. He often acted as an advisor to the government on the hygiene of prisons. In 1841 he became lecturer on forensic medicine at St Bartholomew's Hospital. Baly was admitted a fellow of the College of Physicians in 1846, and in 1847 became a fellow of the Royal Society. In 1854 he became assistant physician to St Bartholomew's Hospital, and in 1855, in conjunction with Dr George Burrows, lecturer of medicine at the hosptial. In 1859 he was selected to share with Sir James Clerk the office of regular attendant on the queen and the royal family. Afterwards he discharged the duties of censor of the College of Physicians and was nominated to a seat on the medical council as one of the representatives of the crown in the place of Sir James Clark. Baly died in a railway accident on 28 January 1861.
Diary of a journey through Germany, 8-29 September , apparently in Baly's hand, 122 folios. On fo. 2 is an explanatory note in the hand of the donor. Running from the end of the volume are notes on the geological formations in the districts visited and financial accounts for travel expenses.