Butler, Isaac (1689/90?–1755), almanac maker, botanist, and antiquary, was by 1725 in business as a bookseller and publisher in Patrick Street, Dublin; he was a quarter-brother of the printers’ guild (1728–31). His first almanac was Advice from the stars (1725), which he published having acquired from the widow of John Whalley (qv) (d. 1724) the rights to Whalley's almanack. For his final edition, entitled Gentleman and dealer's almanack (1756), he compiled the first index of Dublin streets and public buildings. In the 1740s he was employed by Dr John Rutty (qv) and by the Physico-Historical Society to collect botanical specimens. In this connection he made an extensive tour of north Leinster (1744), noting natural and antiquarian features as well as signs of economic progress; his illustrated account of his travels remains largely unpublished. Another fact-finding journey (made probably a few years later) took him to Lough Derg in west Ulster. He was appointed by the dean and chapter of St Patrick's, Dublin, to write a history of the cathedral but seemingly nothing came of it. A man of wide interests, he described himself as ‘a student of astronomy and botany . . . and well skilled in the occult’. He died 7 December 1755 aged sixty-five.
Isaac Butler, journal, 1744, Armagh Public Library; [William R. Wilde], ‘Irish astrologers’, Dublin Quarterly Journal of Medical Science, n.s., iv (1847), 271–2; Isaac Butler, ‘A journey to Lough Derg’, RSAI Jn., xxii (1892), 13–24, 126–36; G. T. S[tokes], ‘Isaac Butler’, RSAI Jn., xxii (1892), 431; James Dean (ed.), ‘Extracts from Isaac Butler's journal’, Louth Arch. Soc. Jn., v, no. 2 (Dec. 1922), 93–108; G. L. H. Davies, ‘The Physico-Historical Society of Ireland, 1744–1752’, Irish Geography, xii (1979), 92–8; Mary Pollard, A dictionary of members of the Dublin book trade, 1550–1800 (2000), 68, 603–4