- William Allen White
name = William Allen White
image_size = 180px
caption = William Allen White
birth_date = February 10, 1868
birth_place = Emporia, Kansas, United States
death_date = January 31, 1944
death_place = Emporia, Kansas
College of Emporiaand University of Kansas
occupation = newspaper editor, author
spouse = Sallie Lindsay
parents = Allen, Mary Ann
children = William, Mary
William Allen White (February 10, 1868 – January 31, 1944) was a renowned American
newspaper editor, politician, and author. Between World War Iand World War IIWhite became the iconic middle American spokesman for thousands throughout the United States.
Born in Emporia,
Kansas, White moved to El Dorado with his parents, Allen and Mary Ann Hatten White, where he spent the majority of his childhood. [cite web | title = William Allen White House: History | publisher = Kansas State Historical Society | date = 2008 | url = http://www.kshs.org/places/white/history.htm | accessdate = 2008-03-30] cite web | title = William Allen White Biography | publisher =Kansas University School of Journalism | date = 2008 | url = http://www.journalism.ku.edu/school/waw/bio/waw/WAWhitebio.html | accessdate = 2008-03-30] He attended the College of Emporiaand University of Kansasand in 1892 started work at " The Kansas City Star" as an editorial writer.
White purchased his hometown newspaper, the "
Emporia Gazette" for $3,000 in 1895. He rocketed to national fame and influence in the Republican Party with an August 16, 1896, editorial entitled " What's the Matter With Kansas?" [cite web | first=William Allen | last = White | title = "What's the Matter with Kansas?" | publisher = "Emporia Gazette" | date = | url = http://www.emporia.com/waw/kansas.html | accessdate = 2008-03-30] The paper is still run by the descendents of White.
White developed a friendship with President
Theodore Rooseveltin the 1890s until Roosevelt's death in 1919. Roosevelt spent several nights at White's Wight and Wight-designed home, Red Rocks, during trips across the United States. The house is now a museum and is on the National Register of Historic Places. White was to say later, "Roosevelt bit me and I went mad." [cite web | first= | last = | title = Family History: William Allen White | publisher = "Emporia Gazette" | date = 1996–2000 | url = http://www.emporia.com/waw/williamawhite.html | accessdate = 2008-04-05] The two would be instrumental in forming the Progressive (Bull-Moose) Party in 1912 in opposition to the forces surrounding incumbent Republican president William Howard Taft. [cite book
last = Johnson
first = Walter F.
title = William Allen White's America
publisher = Henry Holt and Company
date = 1947
pages = Chapter 10
isbn = ] Later, White supported much of the
New Deal, however, opposed Franklin D. Rooseveltin the three of Roosevelt's four elections as president, as White died before voting in the election of 1944.
White married Sallie Lindsay in 1893. They had two children, William Lindsay, born in 1900, and a daughter Mary, born in 1904. Mary died in a 1921 horse-riding accident, leading White to write a famous eulogy "Mary White" on August 17, 1921.cite web
last = White
first = William Allen
title = Family History: Mary White
publisher = "Emporia Gazette"
url = http://www.emporia.com/waw/mary.html
accessdate = 2008-04-05 ] [cite web
last = White
first = William Allen
title = Mary White
publisher = Kansas State Historical Society
url = http://www.kshs.org/news/pressroom/press_kit_waw/mary_white.pdf
format = pdf
accessdate = 2008-04-05]
age of Emporia
The last quarter century of White's life was spent as an unofficial national spokesman for middle America. This led President Franklin Roosevelt to ask White to help generate public support for the Allies before America's entrance into
World War II. White was fundamental in the formation of the Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies, sometimes known as the White Committee. [cite web
last = Namikas
first = Lise
title = The Committee to Defend America and the Debate Between Internationalists and Interventionists, 1939-1941
work = High Beam Encyclopedia
publisher = High Beam Research, Inc.
date = 2008
url = http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G1-56909073.html
accessdate = 2008-04-05] White spent much of his last three years involved with this committee.
Sometimes referred to as the Sage of Emporia, he continued to write editorials for the "Gazette" until his death in 1944. He was also a founding editor for the
Book of the Month Clubalong with long time friend Dorothy Canfield.
Famous Visitors to White's Home
Henry J. Allen
*wife and daughter of
He won a
1923 Pulitzer Prizefor his editorial "To an Anxious Friend", published July 27, 1922, after being arrested in a dispute over free speech following objections to the new Kansas Industrial Court law pushed by rival publisher and then Governor Henry Justin Allen.
Objecting to the rise of the
Ku Klux Klanin the state, he made an unsuccessful run for Kansas Governorin 1924. White was an early supporter of the Progressive Party led by Robert M. La Follette, Sr.
His autobiography, which was published posthumously, won a
1946 Pulitzer Prize.
"Life" described him:
:He is the small-town boy who made good at home. To the small-town man who envies the glamour of the city, he is living assurance that small-town life may be preferable. To the city man who looks back with nostalgia on a small-town youth, he is a living symbol of small-town simplicity and kindliness and common sense. [cite web | first= | last = | title = Kansas Newspaper Hall of Fame: William Allen White | publisher = Kansas Press Association | date = | url = http://www.kspress.com/img/HOF/members/white-wa.html | accessdate = 2008-03-31]
University of KansasJournalism School is named for him. There are also two awards the William Allen White Foundation has created: The William Allen White Award for outstanding Journalistic merit and The Children's Book Award.
=Rock group's use of White's
Starting in the 1980s, alternative rock group
They Might Be Giantsused large cardboard cutouts of White's face during many concerts, as well as in the video for "Don't Let's Start". His image also appears on the compact disc (CD) single, several other videos, and is used at live performances. [cite web | title = The TMBG Knowledge Base | work = This Might Be a Wiki | publisher = MediaWiki | date = 2008 | url = http://tmbw.net/wiki/TMBG.ORG_FAQ | accessdate = 2008-04-06]
From editorial "Mary White":
From 1933 editorial about the futility of war (referring to
World War I):quote|The boys who died just went out and died. To their own souls' glory of course -- but what else? ... Yet the next war will see the same hurrah and the same bowwow of the big dogs to get the little dogs to go out and follow the blood scent and get their entrails tangled in the barbed wire. cite book
last = Sherry
first =Michael S.
title =In the Shadow of War: The United States Since the 1930s
publisher =Yale University Press
location = New Haven, Connecticut
page = 26
isbn = 0300072635]
From an editorial published in February 1943, shortly after President Franklin D. Roosevelt returned from the
Casablanca Conferencewith Winston Churchill:
*White and wife Sallie took special tour of
Soviet Unionin the early 1930s
*Visited six of the seven
continentsat least once in his long life
*Part of Committee within
Book of the Month Clubwhich translated Mein Kampfinto English and distributed it to Americans in 1939
*Received 10 honorary degrees including one from
Harvardwith Albert Einsteinand one from Columbia with Dr. W.W. Mayoone of the founders of the Mayo Clinicin Rochester, Minnesota
White had 20 works published throughout his life. Many of these works were collections of short stories, magazine articles, or speeches he gave throughout his long career.
*"Rhymes by Two Friends", with
Albert Bigelow Paine(1893)
Woodrow Wilson, The Man, His Times, and His Tasks" (1924)
Calvin Coolidge, The Man Who is President" (1925)
*"Masks in a Pagaent" (1928)
*"A Puritan in Babylon: The Story of Calvin Coolidge" (1938)
*"The Autobiography of William Allen White" (1946)
*"The Real Issue: A Book of Kansas Stories" (1896)
*"The Court of Boyville" (1899)
*"Stratagems and Spoils: Stories of Love and Politics" (1901)
*"In Our Town" (1906)
*"A Certain Rich Man" (1909)
*"God's Puppets" (1916)
*"The Martial Adventures of Henry & Me" (1918)
*"In the Heart of a Fool" (1918)
Political and social commentary
*"The Old Order Changeth: A View of American Democracy" (1910)
*"Politics: The Citizen's Business" (1924)
*"Some Cycles of Cathay" (1925)
*"Boys-Then and Now" (1926)
*"What It's All About: Being A Reporter's Story of the Early Campaign of 1936" (1936)
*"The Changing West: An Economic Theory About Our Golden Age" (1939)
William Lindsay White
* [http://www.kansastravel.org/emporiagazette.htm Emporia Gazette & Museum]
* [http://www.journalism.ku.edu/school/waw/ William Allen White]
* [http://www.kshs.org/portraits/white_william.htm Profile from Kansas State Historical Society]
* [http://www.kshs.org/places/white/index.htm William Allen White House]
* [http://www.kshs.org/cool2/coolwhit.htm William Allen White's printing press, Kansas Museum of History]
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