Remembering William Allen White

The Whites in front of Red Rocks

Tributes and Biographies about William Allen White

Wichita Eagle"The world long has put the personality of Will White as an inseparable part of modern America and America has given Kansas an added identity in him. The thousand brilliant facets of his outstanding gifts have become as much a part of the life of the people of this commonwealth as in the sunshine of their prairies!"

Salina Journal: "Above all things the Emporia editor was a Kansan. When the state was attacked, he defended. When things went wrong, he preached encouragement and optimism. When evil flourished in political or social problems, he went on the war path. Born with the spirit of a crusader, crossed with kindly, friendly, sentimental tendencies, he never dared let his right hand know what his left was doing. In his passing the nation as well as his home state have lost a valiant fighter for all that is worthwhile. His place will not be filled."

Topeka State Journal"There is something about William Allen White that to me seemed as elemental as Pike's Peak. His rugged soul had a way of enveloping all. It was boundless. There was no dissembling about Mr. White. He said what he was. Regardless of what he may have thought yesterday, if there was reason for changing his ideas because of having seen the problem from a new angle or new light, he changed his ideas by just that much. His genius will be a part of the annals of Kansas. He lies down to rest and his soul becomes to Kansas evermore as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land."

Henry J. Haskell, editor of The Kansas City Star, speaking at White's funeral — "We are met here this afternoon as the friends of William Allen White to show our respect and affection. We are met in a chapel that seems empty without him. Yet in a larger sense this chapel is not empty. It is crowded with memories that are more than memories- with enduring achievements that live on in the generation that he touched and moved and influenced.

"When we met him in person or on the printed page, we came like Bunyan's Pilgrim to the Interpreter's house. For primarily he was a great interpreter of life- of the human comedy or tragedy that passed before him. Interpretation was his technique. He was a preacher of righteousness, of sane and wholesome and unselfish living. But he preached largely by revealing to us our own hearts and the hearts of others...

"Behind all his work was the personality of the man. He was a great human being- great in intelligence, in understanding, in courage, in zest. Life to him always was a glorious adventure. 'I never have been bored an hour in my life,' he wrote on the occasion of his sixty-fifth birthday. 'I get up every morning now wondering what new, strange, gorgeous thing is going to happen, and it always happens at fairly reasonable intervals. Lady Luck has been good to me. I fancy she is good to everyone, only some people are dour, and when she gives them the come hither with her eyes, they look down or turn away and lift an eyebrow. But me, I give her the wink and away we go!'"

President Franklin D. Roosevelt in a telegraph to Mrs. White — "My heart goes out to you and Bill in the loss of a beloved husband and father. The newspaper world loses one of its wisest and most beloved editors in the death of William Allen White.

"He made The Emporia Gazette a national institution. As a writer of truth, forcible and vigorous prose, he was unsurpassed. He ennobled the profession of journalism which he served with such unselfish devotion thru more than two score years. To me his passing brings a real sense of personal loss, for we had been the best of friends for years."

Kansas Senator Arthur Capper — "William Allen White, sincere citizen and great editor, chose to live most of his useful life near the scenes of his youth. Yet his deep sympathies knew no boundaries of space, religion, color or nationality.

"William Allen White's recognition of the civic responsibilities of the profession of newspaper editor has been in a large measure the means by which his chosen profession has attained the place of honor which it holds today in the eyes of his countrymen. He championed democracy. He was an advocate of the freedom of the press...

"The newspaper profession has lost an inspiring leader. His state and his nation have lost a Christian citizen. The world has lost a friend."


  • Buller, Beverley Olson, From Emporia: The Story of William Allen White. Kansas City STAR Books, 2007.
  • Frank C. Clough, William Allen White of Emporia, Whittlesey House, 1941
  • Sally Foreman Griffith, Home Town News: William Allen White and The Emporia Gazette, Oxford University Press, 1989
  • David Hinshaw, A Man from Kansas, the Story of William Allen White, Putnam, 1945
  • Jay Jernigan, William Allen White, 1983
  • Walter Johnson, William Allen White's America, Holt, 1947
  • John DeWitt McKee, William Allen White: Maverick on Main Street, Greenwood, 1975
  • Everett Rich, William Allen White, the Man from Emporia, Farrar & Rinehart, 1941