William C. Whitney, Modern Warwick

William C. Whitney, Modern Warwick

William C. Whitney, Modern Warwick

William C. Whitney, Modern Warwick

Excerpt

This study was begun at the suggestion of Professor Allan Nevins. At its start, it could not be foreseen that it would expand and ramify as it did. William Collins Whitney had led an unusually active life and had interested himself in numerous and diverse fields, each of which soon demanded ever-increasing exploration. Few had remembered, and no one had chronicled, the complete career of this restless personality. Below the surface, therefore, voluminous material existed, awaiting scrutiny.

One reason for this situation was that biographers had singularly neglected Mr. Whitney. But a more important cause was that he himself preferred the background to the limelight. His good friend, Elihu Root, in 1892 admiringly called him "Warwick," and it was a deserved appellation not only in politics, but in almost everything that he did. He had no objection to being in the public eye socially, but he decidedly preferred, as befitted Warwick, the unobtrusive, controlling role behind other thrones. Nor did he in any way pace his existence to satisfy the public or curry its approval.

Consequently, without the unusually generous, unstinting assistance given by so many interested persons, this biography could hardly have reached conclusion.

First among these, Professor Nevins has been constant guide, advisor and friend. He has given the biography throughout its every stage the benefit of his skillful editing, counsel and knowledge. In addition, he made critical suggestions concerning style, content and length. His neverflagging enthusiasm and cheeriness always dispelled those gloomy problems which biographers know so well. Moreover, he arranged for my use of Professor Robert McNutt McElroy's collection of copies of the Grover Cleveland papers, and of the Abram S. Hewitt papers.

Mr. Thomas J. Regan was not only confidential secretary to Mr. Whitney, but his close acquaintance with many leading figures of the day, and keen understanding of contemporary events and trends made him an invaluable and encyclopaedic source for the period. He gave me freely both of his time and energy, and without his meticulous and lengthy recollections of hitherto unknown or otherwise unavailable data, Whitney would have emerged a pallid, nebulous figure. Mr. Regan more-

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