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William Whiting II

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

William Whiting
William Whiting II (politician) picture2.png
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 11th[1] district
In office
March 4, 1883 – March 3, 1889
Preceded byGeorge D. Robinson
Succeeded byRodney Wallace
3rd Mayor of the City of Holyoke, Massachusetts
In office
Preceded byRoswell P. Crafts[2]
Succeeded byWilliam Ruddy[2]
2nd Treasurer of the City of Holyoke, Massachusetts
In office
Preceded byCharles W. Ranlet[2]
Succeeded byCharles W. Ranlet[2]
Massachusetts State Senate
In office
School Committee of the Town of Holyoke, Massachusetts
In office
Personal details
BornMay 24, 1841
Dudley, Massachusetts
DiedJanuary 9, 1911(1911-01-09) (aged 69)
Holyoke, Massachusetts
Resting placeForestdale Cemetery
Holyoke, Massachusetts
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Anna Fairfield Whiting[4]
ChildrenWilliam Fairfield Whiting, Samuel Raynor Whiting[5]
Residence(s)Holyoke, Massachusetts
Alma materAmherst College
OccupationPaper Maker

William Whiting (May 24, 1841 – January 9, 1911) was an American businessman and politician from Holyoke, Massachusetts. Whiting descended from an English family who first settled in Lynn, Massachusetts during 1636.[4]

Whiting was born in Dudley, Massachusetts, May 24, 1841. Whiting attended public schools and graduated from Amherst College.[4]

Whiting worked for the Holyoke Paper Company and the Hampden Paper Company. At the age of 17 Whiting started at the Holyoke Paper Company working first as a bookkeeper. After three years working as a clerk, Whiting became a salesman first working out of the company's main office and later working as a commercial traveling salesman.[6] Whiting organized the Whiting Paper Company in Holyoke, Massachusetts in 1865.[7] In 1865, Whiting built his first mill followed by another in 1872.[7] When the Whiting Paper Company was first formed. L.L. Brown of South Adams, Massachusetts was president and Whiting was agent and treasurer. Whiting later became president and his son, William Fairfield Whiting, became treasurer.[7] Whiting later organized the Collins Paper Company and built a paper mill in North Wilbraham, Massachusetts.[7]

In addition to his political and manufacturing careers, Whiting was a prominent philanthropist in Holyoke's history, and endowed the city with many of its secular institutions. In 1870 along with John and Edwin Chase, Whiting incorporated the Holyoke Public Library, serving as its first president.[8] During his mayoralty Whiting privately funded the construction of the Holyoke Opera House, a venue which once hosted a wide variety of renowned Vaudeville and musical acts, as well as early motion pictures. In 1893 he led the efforts to found the Holyoke Medical Center, then known as Holyoke City Hospital, as the first non-sectarian medical institution in the city.[9] Being a member of the Mount Tom Lodge of freemasons, his work in philanthropy was held in such regard that he would go on to have the city's second lodge named after him in 1909, an unusual honor as freemasons rarely name lodges after living persons. Following a period of declining membership and poor bookkeeping the William Whiting Lodge however had its charter suspended in 1997.[10]

Political career

Whiting during his tenure as a state senator, 1873; a variant of Whiting Paper's acorn logo, evoking the namesake etymology of his hometown, the Holyoke surname deriving from "holy oak"

Whiting was a member of the Massachusetts Senate in 1873; city treasurer of Holyoke in 1876 and 1877; and mayor of Holyoke in 1878 and 1879. While Holyoke's mayoral elections are officially nonpartisan, drawing support from the business community and Holyoke's residents at large, Whiting enjoyed backing of both major political parties during his mayoral election.[10] He would go on to serve as delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1876 and 1896; elected as a Republican to the Forty-eighth, Forty-ninth, and Fiftieth Congresses (March 4, 1883 – March 3, 1889).

After politics

Whiting was not a candidate for renomination in 1888. He was a commissioner to the Exposition Universelle in Paris, France, in 1900, and resumed his former manufacturing pursuits.

Whiting died in Holyoke on January 9, 1911 and was interred in Forestdale Cemetery in Holyoke.[4]


William Whiting's son William F. Whiting was a close friend and adviser to President Calvin Coolidge.[4] Serving for a time as United States Secretary of Commerce.


The Holyoke Public Library (left), and Holyoke Medical Center (right), both institutions that Whiting, his wife Anna Fairfield, and associates directly had a role in establishing

Many of the institutions which Whiting established or cultivated during his life continue to play a significant in Holyoke today. Most notably these include the Holyoke Medical Center, and the city's public library. Whiting, an alumnus of Holyoke Public Schools would have one named after him on Chestnut Street, which has since been converted to apartments. He also served as a vice president of the Holyoke and Westfield Railroad, predecessor of the Pioneer Valley Railroad which maintains freight services in the region. His former summer home and cattle farm today bears his name as the Whiting Farms neighborhood of Holyoke.

See also


  1. ^ Poore, Ben: Perley (1884), Official Congressional Directory, Washington, D.C.: United States Congress, p. 42
  2. ^ a b c d Copeland, p. 17
  3. ^ a b Copeland, p. 39
  4. ^ a b c d e Clark, p. 155
  5. ^ Clark, pp. 155-156
  6. ^ White, James Terry (1910), The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography: Being the History of the United States as Illustrated in the Lives of the Founders, Builders, and Defenders of the Republic, and of the Men and Women who are Doing the Work and Moulding the Thought of the Present Time. Supplement 1, New York, N.Y.: J.T. White and Co., p. 481
  7. ^ a b c d Weeks, Lyman Horace (1916), A history of paper-manufacturing in the United States, 1690-1916, New York, N.Y.: The Lockwood Trade Journal Company, p. 247
  8. ^ "Holyoke". History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts, with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers. Vol. II. Philadelphia: Louis H. Everts; Press of J.B. Lippincott and Co. 1879. pp. 915–938. OCLC 866692568.
  9. ^ "About Us". Holyoke Medical Center. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  10. ^ a b Brooks, Archibald (1950). Mount Tom Lodge A. F. & A. M. 100th Anniversary. Anker Printing Company. p. 10.


  • Clark, Rusty (2004), Holyoke, Massachusetts: Stories Carved in Stone, West Springfield, MA: Dog Pond Press, ISBN 0-9755362-6-5
  • Copeland, Alfred Minot (1902), "Our County and Its People" a History of Hampden County, Massachusetts v. 3, Boston, MA: The Century Memorial Pub. Co.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 11th congressional district

March 4, 1883 – March 3, 1889
Succeeded by
Preceded by Mayor of Holyoke
Succeeded by
William Ruddy
This page was last edited on 20 February 2022, at 06:59
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