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William Lindsay White

Journalist and author. Born: June 17, 1900, Emporia, Kansas.  Married: Kathrine Klinkenberg, April 29, 1931. Died: July 26, 1973, Emporia, Kansas

Photograph of William Lindsay White, between 1945 and 1960William Lindsay White, born June 17, 1900, in Emporia, to William Allen White and Sallie Lindsay White. He was raised to be a newspaper editor. His father expected that his only son would one day run the Emporia Gazette. William Lindsay had opportunities to meet the newsmakers of the day, including a number of U.S. presidents, when they visited the White family home.

The younger White began his journalism career at the Gazette while in high school, writing personal items. He participated with the Student Army Training Corps at the University of Kansas in support of the U.S. involvement World War I. While he never served in the war, he did accompany his father to Paris to witness the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. White graduated from Harvard University and continued to write Gazette’s editorials from the mid-1920s to mid-1930s. He married Kathrine Klinkenberg April 29, 1931. She worked for Time magazine and was an assistant curator at the Library of Congress.

Before the beginning of World War II he served as a correspondent in Europe, covering the London blitzkrieg and broadcasting an emotional editorial in 1940 from Finland. He was honored for his efforts with an award from the Overseas Press Club. In London William Lindsay and Kathrine adopted Barbara. White told her story in the book A Journey for Margaret, which became a major motion picture.

Photo of William Allen White sitting in a hammock with wife,  Sallie Lindsay and son, William Lindsay, sitting by his side, June 1940White worked for the Washington Post and Fortune magazine. He wrote several screenplays and 14 books including three that were made into successful motion pictures: They Were Expendable, Lost Boundaries, and  His other books include What People Said, Land of Milk and Honey, and Bernard Baruch: Portrait of a Citizen. (Pictured with William Allen and Sallie White in 1940.)

When William Allen White died in 1944, the younger White finished his father’s autobiography, which received a Pulitzer Prize in 1946. William Lindsay took over the Gazette’s duties. His goals for the newspaper were "to be honest, concise, thoughtful, independent, and entertaining." He personally undertook a major redesign of the newspaper, which earned the prestigious Ayer Cup for newspaper excellence. He and Kathrine renovated the Gazette building in 1967, preserving and restoring many of the original features.

William Lindsay died in 1973. Kathrine assumed the role of editor after his death. She pushed for more local coverage, kept watch on the business operations, and oversaw the creation of White Memorial Park, near the Gazette building. Kathrine died in 1988. 

Entry: White, William Lindsay

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: February 2011

Date Modified: January 2016

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.