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Caspar Whitney


Centurion, 1899–1929

Born 2 September 1864 in Boston, Massachusetts

Died 18 January 1929 in New York (Manhattan), New York

Buried Santa Barbara Cemetery, Santa Barbara, California

Proposed by Theodore Roosevelt and W. Austin Wadsworth

Elected 4 November 1899 at age thirty-five

Seconder of:

Century Memorial

To every one who knew him intimately, Caspar Whitney seemed by instinct and temperament to have been foreordained as an adventurous explorer. Under other circumstances and perhaps with different professional affiliations, he might have matched the achievements of a Peary or a Byrd. His interest in the penetrating of untrodden wastes was of the keenest; at intervals, and on a less ambitious scale than the program of those daring adventurers, he himself broke loose from civilization, traversing on foot or on horseback or in his own small boat the secluded regions of Siam and the Malay peninsula, the all but impenetrable jungles of South America.

But Whitney was also a born writer; he always came back from his adventurous expeditions to his desk and pen, through which he played an active part in promoting, as long ago as 1888, the national bent for out-of-door sports. This congenial occupation was again varied by activities as newspaper correspondent at the front in our Spanish War and the great European conflict, and by useful and arduous service in the Belgian relief work. But it was always and primarily the great exploring enterprises which excited Whitney’s interest; he followed them with the closest expert knowledge. One of Whitney’s interesting casual judgments was his opinion that the greatest pity of the unhappy Dr. Cook’s career was that Cook should have claimed to have done what he did not do; because the Arctic journey which that discredited explorer actually made was itself a notable achievement.

Alexander Dana Noyes
1930 Century Association Yearbook