William Wallace Atterbury

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William Wallace Atterbury
William Wallace Atterbury 9722409e77 o.jpg
c. 1913
Member of the
Republican National Committee
from Pennsylvania
In office
May 12, 1928 – October 10, 1930
Preceded by George Pepper
Succeeded by Jay Cooke
Personal details
Born (1866-01-31)January 31, 1866
New Albany, Indiana
Died September 20, 1935(1935-09-20)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Matilda Hoffman of Fort Wayne, Ind. (November 13, 1895 – her death in 1910)
Arminia (Rosengarten) MacLeod (June 10, 1915 – his death)
Children three McLeod children he adopted
William W. Atterbury, Jr.
Alma mater Sheffield Scientific School (1886)
A plaque commemorating the career of William Wallace Atterbury, hanging in Philadelphia's 30th Street Station, a former Pennsylvania Railroad Station.

William Wallace Atterbury (January 31, 1866 – September 20, 1935)[1][2] was an American Brigadier General during World War I. He was instrumental in reorganizing railroad traffic during the war for more efficient transportation of troops and supplies for the American Expeditionary Forces. After the war, he became the tenth president of the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) (1925–1935). He was a leader in pushing to electrify portions of the PRR.


Atterbury was born in New Albany, Indiana. He attended Yale University, Class of 1886, where he was a member of the Chi Phi Fraternity. He was a Pennsylvania delegate to the 1920 Republican National Convention.

He started as an apprentice in the Pennsylvania Railroad shops at Altoona for five cents/hour.[2][3] In 1925, he succeeded Samuel Rea as president of the PRR, a position he held until he retired in 1935.

Atterbury was also active in Republican State politics. In 1928,[4] he was elected the state's Republican National Committeeman, though he resigned from the post two years later in opposition to Gifford Pinchot's gubernatorial candidacy.[5]

Atterbury on the cover of Time Magazine in 1933.

Awards and decorations[edit]

For his work he was awarded: Distinguished Service Medal, Commander of the Legion of Honor (France); Companion of the Most Honorable Order of the Bath (England); Commander of the Royal Order of the White Eagle (Serbia), and Grand Officer of the Order of the Crown (Romania).[6]


Camp Atterbury in Edinburgh, Indiana, is named for him, as was, for a time, Atterbury Army Airfield.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Noted rail head, native of city" (PDF). New Albany Tribune. September 21, 1935. Retrieved 2011-06-26.  cited at New Albany Floyd County Public Library.
  2. ^ a b "William Wallace Atterbury". Dictionary of American Biography. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. 1944. Gale Document Number: GALE|BT2310018570. Retrieved June 26, 2011 – via Fairfax County Public Library. (subscription required) Gale Biography In Context.
  3. ^ "Business: Atterbury for Rea". Time (magazine). September 28, 1925. Retrieved 2011-06-26. 
  4. ^ "Pepper Refuses Place As Contest Chairman". The Baltimore Sun. June 1, 1928. Retrieved January 22, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Atterbury Bolts Pinchot Candidacy". The New York Times. October 10, 1930. Retrieved January 22, 2012. 
  6. ^ Indianamilitary.org

Further reading[edit]

  • Atterbury-Bakalar Air Museum (2000), General Atterbury. Retrieved February 21, 2005.
  • The Political Graveyard (March 10, 2005), Politicians in Railroading in Indiana. Retrieved December 30, 2005.
  • White, John H., Jr. (Spring 1986). America's most noteworthy railroaders, Railroad History 154, p. 9–15.

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
George Pepper
Member of the Republican National Committee from Pennsylvania
Succeeded by
Jay Cooke
Other offices
Preceded by
Samuel Rea
President of the Pennsylvania Railroad
Succeeded by
Martin Clement