William F. Whiting, U.S. Secretary of Commerce

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William Fairfield Whiting

Birthdate: (72)
Death: 1936 (72)
Immediate Family:

Son of William Whiting, II and Anna Morgan Fairfield

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About William F. Whiting, U.S. Secretary of Commerce


William Fairfield Whiting (born in Holyoke, Massachusetts, on July 20, 1864, died August 31, 1936) was United States Secretary of Commerce August 22, 1928 to March 4, 1929, during the last months of the administration of Calvin Coolidge.

Businessman and politician

Whiting was the son of Massachusetts politician and businessman William Whiting and Anna Marin Fairfield Whiting. He attended Amherst College and graduated in the class of 1896 alongside future Secretary of State Robert Lansing.

When Whiting's father, who organized the Whiting Paper Company, became president of that business, William Fairfield Whiting became treasure. When his father died William F. Whiting became president of the Whiting Paper Company and his brother Samuel Raynor Whiting became treasurer. He became a lifelong friend of future President Coolidge when Coolidge was mayor of Northampton, Massachusetts. Later, Whiting and Frank Stearns were the first two "Coolidge Men" who advocated their friend as a serious Presidential candidate. At the 1920 Republic Nominating Convention, Whting voted for Coolidge for President on every ballot, the sole delegate to do so after Warren Harding had sewed up the votes to win the nomination.

Whiting's appointment by President Coolidge to succeed Herbert Hoover surprised the Washington establishment, which had expected the position to be filled by Hoover's preferred candidate, Dr. Julius Klein, the director of the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce. Former Senator William Butler of Massachusetts turned down the post before Coolidge offered it to Whiting. His appointment was confirmed by the United States Senate on December 11, 1928.

During his first press interview after his appointent, Whiting stated, "My policies will be Mr. Hoover's policies." As Secretary, he headed President Coolidge's delegation to the International Conference on Civil Aeronautics.

Marriage and family

Whiting married the former Anne Chapin, daughter of Judge Edward Chapin, on October 19, 1892. The couple had four children: William Whiting, Edward Chapin Whiting, Fairfield Whiting and Ruth Whiting Fowler. Like his father, Whiting gained a reputation for raising Jersey cattle and poultry.


Whiting died at his home in Holyoke, Massachusetts, on August 31, 1936, after a long illness. He is interred in Forestdale Cemetery along with his parents.

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William F. Whiting, U.S. Secretary of Commerce's Timeline

Age 72