William Allen White

William Allen White

Infobox Person
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
education = College of Emporia and 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 I and World War II White 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 Emporia and University of Kansas and in 1892 started work at "The Kansas City Star" as an editorial writer.

Emporia Gazette

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.

Progressive politics

White developed a friendship with President Theodore Roosevelt in 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.
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = William Allen White's America
publisher = Henry Holt and Company
date = 1947
location =
pages = Chapter 10
url =
doi =
id =
isbn =
] Later, White supported much of the New Deal, however, opposed Franklin D. Roosevelt in the three of Roosevelt's four elections as president, as White died before voting in the election of 1944.

Personal life

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
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Family History: Mary White
work =
publisher = "Emporia Gazette"
date =
url = http://www.emporia.com/waw/mary.html
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-04-05
] [cite web
last = White
first = William Allen
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Mary White
work =
publisher = Kansas State Historical Society
date =
url = http://www.kshs.org/news/pressroom/press_kit_waw/mary_white.pdf
format = pdf
doi =
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
authorlink =
coauthors =
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
format =
doi =
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 Club along with long time friend Dorothy Canfield.

Famous Visitors to White's Home

*Theodore Roosevelt
*Herbert Hoover
*Calvin Coolidge
*Edna Ferber
*Henry J. Allen
*wife and daughter of J.P. Morgan
*Douglas Fairbanks
*Dorothy Canfield


He won a 1923 Pulitzer Prize for 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 Klan in the state, he made an unsuccessful run for Kansas Governor in 1924. White was an early supporter of the Progressive Party led by Robert M. La Follette, Sr.

After death

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]

The University of Kansas Journalism 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 Giants used 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.
authorlink =
coauthors =
year =1995
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 Conference with Winston Churchill:


*White and wife Sallie took special tour of Soviet Union in the early 1930s
*Once met Benito Mussolini
*Visited six of the seven continents at least once in his long life
*Part of Committee within Book of the Month Club which translated Mein Kampf into English and distributed it to Americans in 1939
*Received 10 honorary degrees including one from Harvard with Albert Einstein and one from Columbia with Dr. W.W. Mayo one of the founders of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota

Published works

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)

ee also

*Theodore Roosevelt
*Progressive Party
*William Lindsay White
*Emporia Gazette
*Pulitzer Prize


External links

* [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]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • William Allen White — (* 10. Februar 1868 in Emporia, Kansas; † 31. Januar 1944 ebendort) war ein US amerikanischer Journalist, Politiker und Schriftsteller. Er wurde 1923 mit dem Pulitzer Preis ausgezeichnet …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • William Allen White House — Infobox nrhp | name =William Allen White House nrhp type = nhl caption = location= 927 Exchange St., Emporia, Kansas lat degrees = 38 lat minutes = 24 lat seconds = 34 lat direction = N long degrees = 96 long minutes = 10 long seconds = 30 long… …   Wikipedia

  • William Lindsay White — (1900 1973), American journalist, was the son of newspaper editor William Allen White. White grew up in Emporia, went to the nearby University of Kansas, and then transferred to and graduated from Harvard College. After completing his course of… …   Wikipedia

  • William Allen (artist) — William Marshall Allen (born in 1957 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is an American poet and visual artist. His poetry is rooted in Imagism, history, politics, and art. His word art painting and prints are published by [http://www.patsfallgraphics …   Wikipedia

  • White,William Allen — White, William Allen. 1868 1944. American newspaper editor and writer noted for his politically influential editorials and for his autobiography (1946). * * * …   Universalium

  • White, William Allen — born Feb. 10, 1868, Emporia, Kan., U.S. died Jan. 29, 1944, Emporia U.S. journalist. White purchased the Emporia Daily and Weekly Gazette in 1895. His editorial writing was a mixture of tolerance, optimism, liberal Republicanism, and… …   Universalium

  • William Allen Walsh — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Walsh. William Allen Walsh (20 août 1887 18 octobre 1940) fut un directeur d école, enseignant et homme politique fédéral du Québec. Biographie Né à Kingston en Ontario, Walsh devient député du Parti conservateur …   Wikipédia en Français

  • White (surname) — White is a surname. In the 1990 United States Census, White ranked fourteenth among all reported surnames in frequency, accounting for 0.28% of the population. [United States Census Bureau (9 May 1995). . Retrieved on 2008 07 04.] A list of… …   Wikipedia

  • William White — may refer to:Politics*William White (MP), MP for Clitheroe (UK Parliament constituency) in 1660 *William White (Secretary of State), North Carolina Secretary of State, 1798 ndash;1811 *William White (Canadian politician), elected member of the… …   Wikipedia

  • White (Familienname) — White ist ein englischer Familienname. Herkunft und Bedeutung Das englische Wort white bedeutet „weiß“, damit ist der Name die Entsprechung zum deutschen Familiennamen Weiß. Namensträger Inhaltsverzeichnis A B C D E F G H I J K L M …   Deutsch Wikipedia