1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Page, Walter Hines
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Page, Walter Hines
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PAGE, WALTER HINES (1855-1918), American editor and diplomatist, was born at Gary, N.C., Aug. 15 1855. After graduating from Randolph-Macon College, Va., in 1876, he was appointed one of the first 20 fellows of the newly established Johns Hopkins University. He taught for a time in Louisville, Ky., and then accepted the editorship of the St. Joseph, Mo., Daily Gazette. After two years (1881) he resigned to travel through the South, having arranged to contribute letters on southern sociological conditions to the New York World, the Springfield Republican and the Boston Post. These letters were helpful in educating the North and the South to a fuller understanding of their mutual dependence. In 1882 he joined the editorial staff of the New York World and wrote a series of articles on Mormonism, the result of personal investigation in Utah. Later in the same year he went to Raleigh, N.C., where he founded the State Chronicle, but returned to New York in 1883 and for four years was on the staff of the Evening Post. From 1887 to 1895 he was, first, manager and, after 1890, editor of The Forum, a monthly magazine; and from 1895 to 1900 was literary adviser to Houghton, Mifflin & Co., and for most of the same period editor of the Atlantic Monthly (1896-99). When the house of Doubleday, Page & Co. was organized in 1899, his duties were divided between editorial and publishing work, for he was not only a partner in the publishing house but also editor of its magazine, the World's Work. In March 1913 President Wilson appointed him to succeed Whitelaw Reid as ambassador to England.
Mr. Page was hardly known in England when he was appointed, but during his tenure of office he gradually established himself as one of the great line of American ambassadors. None had ever worked more assiduously than he did for Anglo-American solidarity, and his speeches — though he was no orator — were always marked by absolute sincerity and by well-informed appeals to history. His position was a delicate one after the outbreak of the World War, when German and Austrian interests in England were placed in his hands. He was thoroughly loyal to his country in his conduct, although sympathetic with the Allies. Among the problems with which he had to deal were the British claim of the right to stop and search American ships, including examination of mail pouches; the commercial blockade (1915) and the “blacklist,” containing the names of American firms with whom all financial and commercial dealings on the part of the British were forbidden (1916). He had the satisfaction of seeing the United States through its period of neutrality without friction, and then representing it as a partner in the war. In Aug. 1918, finding his strength exhausted, he resigned as ambassador and returned to America in September. He was critically ill on arrival, and after a short rally died at Pinehurst, S.C., Dec. 21 1918. No man ever served his country, or the cause of Anglo-American friendship, more strenuously. While in Great Britain he was honoured with degrees by the universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Sheffield, Cambridge, and Oxford. He was the author of The Rebuilding of Old Commonwealths (1902) and The Southerner, a Novel: Being the Autobiography of Nicholas Worth (1909).