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William Wallace Whitelock (1869–1940)

Author of The Literary Guillotine . . .


Also includes: John Lane (10)

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Short biography
William Wallace Whitelock, poet and author, was born in Mt. Washington, Md. in 1869. He attended the Pennsylvania Military College and received his B.A. from The Johns Hopkins University in 1890. He did graduate work at the University of Munich, receiving his Ph.D. in 1893. Throughout his long, writing career, Whitelock published children's poetry as well as serious verse, novels, two plays, historical studies, and translations of German works. His personal writing career was combined with a journalistic career. Later in life, Whitelock's interest in languages led him to academic positions.

William Wallace Whitelock's interest in writing began early in his life. He studied law for a brief period but found a more satisfying opportunity with the New York Mail and Express. He edited the Criterion with Rupert Hughes until the Spanish- American War (1898), when he enlisted in the Navy. After his naval service, Whitelock was appointed foreign correspondent of the literary section of the New York Times and published a series of literary articles, 1899-1902. He interviewed literary celebrities including Emile Zola, Anthony Hope, Leon Daudet, and Beatrice Harraden. He also wrote a series entitled "The Beginnings of Great Authors," subjects of which included George Eliot, Victor Hugo, and Charles Dickens. At the same time, Whitelock became a regular contributor to Harper's, the Century, Scribner's, and other leading magazines. His poetry continued to be published throughout his life. In 1902, Whitelock published anonymously, The Literary Guillotine. This satire on contemporary writers was first published in the Reader magazine and later in book form.

Whitelock was skillful in different literary genres. In 1906, a successful play by Whitelock, The Man Who Told the Truth, was produced at the Princess Theater in New York. Between 1902 and 1907, he published a novel, When Kings Go Forth to Battle (1907); three volumes of poems, When the Heart is Young (1902), Just Love Songs (1906), Foregone Verses (1907); and an historical study of William the Third.

Because of his scholarly grasp of German and English, Whitelock was asked to translate Deutschland und der Weltkrieg which was published in 1916 as Modern Germany in Relation to the Great War. In the aftermath of World War I, Whitelock prepared studies of war-related problems for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

In 1921, Whitelock became professor of German at St. Stephen's College (later Bard College) and taught romance languages (1930- 1932) at Temple University. He completed a second volume of children's verse, Rhymes of Long Ago and co-edited a textbook, French Eloquence (1929). Whitelock continued to contribute poems to various magazines and newspapers, and much of this work was later included in anthologies. Whitelock married Mary von Stockhausen in 1901, and they had two children, Otto von Stockhausen and Jane Stockton Whitelock. For more information see the National Cyclopedia of American Biography. William Wallace Whitelock died in 1940.
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