William F. Whiting

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
William Whiting
4th United States Secretary of Commerce
In office
August 22, 1928 – March 4, 1929
PresidentCalvin Coolidge
Preceded byHerbert Hoover
Succeeded byRobert P. Lamont
Personal details
William Fairfield Whiting

(1864-07-20)July 20, 1864
Holyoke, Massachusetts, U.S.
DiedAugust 31, 1936(1936-08-31) (aged 72)
Holyoke, Massachusetts, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
SpouseAnne Chapin
RelativesWilliam Whiting (father)
EducationAmherst College (BA)

William Fairfield Whiting (July 20, 1864 – August 31, 1936) was United States secretary of commerce from August 22, 1928, to March 4, 1929, during the last months of the administration of Calvin Coolidge.

Early life and career[edit]

Whiting was born on July 20, 1864, in Holyoke, Massachusetts. He was the son of William Whiting II, a politician and businessman, and Anna Morgan (née Fairfield).[1] He attended Amherst College and graduated in the class of 1896 alongside future Secretary of State Robert Lansing.[1]

When Whiting's father, who organized the Whiting Paper Company, became president of that business, William Fairfield Whiting became treasurer.[2] When his father died, Whiting became president of the Whiting Paper Company and his brother Samuel Raynor Whiting became treasurer.[2] He became a lifelong friend of future President Coolidge when Coolidge was mayor of Northampton, Massachusetts.[3] Later, Whiting and Frank Stearns were the first two "Coolidge Men" who advocated their friend as a serious presidential candidate. At the 1920 Republican National Convention, Whiting voted for Coolidge for president on every ballot, the sole delegate to do so after Warren G. Harding had sewed up the votes to win the nomination.[3]

Whiting was appointed as President Coolidge's secretary of commerce after the resignation of Herbert Hoover surprised the Washington establishment. The position was predicted to go to Hoover's preferred candidate, Dr. Julius Klein, the director of the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce and Klein did not get the position when Hoover became president.[4] Former Senator William Butler of Massachusetts turned down the post before Coolidge offered it to Whiting.[4] His appointment was confirmed by the United States Senate on December 11, 1928.[5]

During his first press interview after his appointment, Whiting stated, "My policies will be Mr. Hoover's policies."[3] As secretary, he headed President Coolidge's delegation to the International Conference on Civil Aeronautics.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Whiting married the former Anne H. Chapin, daughter of Judge Edward Whitman Chapin, on October 19, 1892.[7][1] The couple had four children: William Whiting, Edward Chapin Whiting, Fairfield Whiting and Ruth Whiting Fowler.[1] Like his father, Whiting gained a reputation for raising Jersey cattle and poultry.[8]

He died of a long illness at his Holyoke home on August 31, 1936.[1] He is interred in Forestdale Cemetery in Holyoke along with his parents.[9]


  1. ^ a b c d e W.F. Whiting, Coolidge's Aid in Cabinet, Dies," The Washington Post, September 1, 1936
  2. ^ a b 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
  3. ^ a b c "Filling Hoover's Shoes," Los Angeles Times, Oct. 14, 1928
  4. ^ a b "Naming of Whiting Astonishes Capital," The New York Times, August 22, 1928
  5. ^ Whiting Given O.K. of Senate, Los Angeles Times, December 12, 1928.
  6. ^ "Named for Air Parley," The New York Times, Nov. 3, 1928.
  7. ^ Cutter, William Richard (1910), Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of the State of Massachusetts, New York, N.Y.: Lewis Historical Pub. Co., p. 980
  8. ^ WF Whiting of Coolidge Cabinet Dies, Hartford Courant, Sept 1, 1936.
  9. ^ Clark, Rusty (2004), Holyoke, Massachusetts: Stories Carved in Stone, West Springfield, MA: Dog Pond Press, p. 155, ISBN 0-9755362-6-5

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by U.S. Secretary of Commerce
Served under: Calvin Coolidge

August 22, 1928 – March 4, 1929
Succeeded by