The New International Encyclopædia/Whitney, William Collins

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WHITNEY, William Collins (1841-1904). An American politician and Cabinet officer, born in Conway, Mass., and educated at Yale and at Harvard. He settled in New York City, where he was admitted to the bar. In 1871 he was prominent in organizing the Young Men's Democratic Club, and was active in the movement against the ‘Tweed Ring.’ From 1875 to 1882 he was Corporation Counsel of the City of New York, and during his administration of the office the work of the city's Law Department was completely reorganized and simplified in such a manner as to save thousands of dollars annually. He was active in 1882 in the State campaign which resulted in the election of Grover Cleveland as Governor, and from 1885 to 1889, during Cleveland's first administration as President, was Secretary of the Navy. Under his control considerable progress was made in building the ‘new navy.’ He afterwards engaged in extensive financial enterprises in New York, and in 1892 successfully managed the Cleveland Presidential campaign.