Leonard Wood, a Biography - Vol. 1

Leonard Wood, a Biography - Vol. 1

Leonard Wood, a Biography - Vol. 1

Leonard Wood, a Biography - Vol. 1

Excerpt

The writer of a biography must depend for his material on four main sources—the private papers of his protagonist, the reminiscences of those who knew him, public documents, and books or other printed material relating to his activities. In the case of Leonard Wood, the author was fortunate in having access to an unusually rich collection of diaries, letters, manuscripts, memoranda, and scrapbooks of clippings and photographs.The diaries cover the Geronimo campaign in detail, touch here and there the uneventful twelve years that followed, tell briefly of the Spanish War, skip tantalizingly General Wood's service in Cuba, and reveal with increasing detail day by day the events of the quarter century that intervened between the completion of his work in Havana and his death.The correspondence is voluminous, filling some two hundred and twenty-five filing-cases; the scrapbooks reflect with a wealth of diverse comment all General Wood's major activities from 1898 to 1927.

The author was fortunate in the number and the generosity of his collaborators. He is indebted first and foremost, of course, to Mrs.Wood, who placed General Wood's papers at his disposal and herself contributed significant data and lively anecdotes.Scarcely less profound is his indebtedness to Major-General Frank R. McCoy, who submitted day after day for hours to his questioning, and read the manuscript with meticulous care.Colonel Gordon Johnston was constantly helpful.Other former aides of General Wood, notably the Honorable Matthew E. Hanna, American minister to Nicaragua; Brigadier-General Halstead Dorey; Brigadier-General Charles E. Kilbourne; Colonel George T. Langhorne and Major Sumner M. Williams; his quarter-master general in Cuba, Colonel Chauncey B. Baker, and his devoted friend, Mr.Frank Steinhart of Havana—contributed vitally to the story.More than a hundred others, men and women, recounted significant incidents of General Wood's career or supplied lights and shades of background.Their . . .

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