White, William Allen, 1868–1944, American author, b. Emporia, Kans., studied (1886–90) at Kansas State Univ. As owner and editor of the Emporia Gazette from 1895 until his death, he represented grass roots political opinion throughout the nation. In 1896 his famous editorial, "What's the Matter with Kansas?," attacked the Populists and helped elect McKinley, the Republican candidate. A spokesman for small town life and a liberal Republican, White feared the results of excessive industrialization. His fiction reflects his social and political views. In 1923. he won a Pulitzer Prize for his editorials. His writings include short stories, the novel A Certain Rich Man (1909), a biography of Woodrow Wilson (1924), two biographies of Calvin Coolidge (1925, 1938), and two collections of his newspaper writings, The Editor and His People (1924) and Forty Years on Main Street (1937).
See his autobiography (1946; Pulitzer Prize) and selected letters (ed. by W. Johnson, 1947).
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