Willard Straight

Willard Straight

Willard Straight

Willard Straight

Excerpt

Willard Dickerman Straight was conspicuously a many-sided man. His career, in the sense of his voluntary and responsible contact with the world, began when in the late fall of 1901 at the age of twenty-one he sailed for China. From that time until he died in Paris on December 1st, 1918, he was eagerly welcoming new experiences and busily engaged in a great variety of affairs. Trained in college as an architect, he always remained keenly observant of the outside aspect of things, and particularly during his early residence in China, his pencil and his pen were both busy in reporting what he saw. He was impressionable, sensitive, alert, inquisitive, quick to the challenge of the occasion and the affair. Yet he was not by temperament an artist. He was first a man of action. He needed to act upon life before he was ready to report and re-interpret it.

His many interests expressed themselves in many occupations. Beginning as an official in the Chinese Customs Service, he resigned in 1904 to serve as correspondent during the Russo-Japanese War. At its end he entered the employment of the American government as Vice-Consul at Seoul, and during the next few years he served successively in Korea, in Washington, in Cuba and as Consul-General at Mukden. He resigned as an employee of the State Department in order ostensibly to go into business, but the business in which he engaged remained public. No well-wisher of the Chinese people could live for long in China without becoming interested in the development of her economic . . .

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