Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Reid, Whitelaw

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REID, Whitelaw, journalist, b. near Xenia, Ohio, 27 Oct., 1837. He was graduated at Miami university in 1856, took an active interest in journalism and politics before attaining his majority, made speeches in the Frémont campaign on the Republican side, and soon became editor of the Xenia “News.” At the opening of the civil war he was sent into the field as correspondent of the Cincinnati “Gazette,” making his headquarters at Washington, whence his letters on current polities (under the signature of “Agate”) attracted much attention by their thorough information and pungent style. From that point he made excursions to the army wherever there was a prospect of active operations. He served as aide-de-camp to Gen. William S. Rosecrans in the western Virginia campaign of 1861, and was present at the battle of Shiloh and the battle of Gettysburg. He was elected librarian of the house of representatives in 1863, serving in that capacity three years. He engaged in cotton-planting in Louisiana after the close of the war, and embodied the results of his observations in the south in a book entitled “After the War” (Cincinnati, 1866); then returning to Ohio, he gave two years to writing “Ohio in the War” (2 vols., Cincinnati, 1868). This work is by far the most important of all the state histories of the civil war. It contains elaborate biographies of most of the chief generals of the army, and a complete history of the state from 1861 till 1865. On the conclusion of this labor he came to New York at the invitation of Horace Greeley, and became an editorial writer upon the “Tribune.” On the death of Mr. Greeley in 1872, Mr. Reid succeeded him as editor and principal owner of the paper. In 1878 he was chosen by the legislature of New York to be a regent for life of the university. With this exception, he had declined all public employment. He was minister to France under Harrison, and was special ambassador to attend the Queen's jubilee in 1897. He is a director of numerous financial and charitable corporations, and had been for many years president of the Lotos club. Mr. Reid has travelled extensively in this country and in Europe. Besides the works mentioned above and his contributions to periodical literature, he has published “Schools of Journalism” (New York, 1871); “The Scholar in Politics” (1873); “Some Newspaper Tendencies” (1879); and “Town-Hall Suggestions” (1881).