Ohio History Journal

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Brand Whitlock's Macochee:

Brand Whitlock's Macochee:

Puritan Theo-Politics in the Midwest






TO BE REGARDED as "an American Hardy" or "an American

Turgenev" was a lifelong ambition of Brand Whitlock, well-

known midwest political figure and diplomat, who, to his

everlasting disappointment, failed in his ambitious quest for

such literary renown.1 Held in high esteem, however, by

political scientists and historians alike for his successful meth-

ods in the administration of local government and revered

by countless humanitarians who remember his often bizarre

exploits in Belgium as head of the relief commission there

during World War I, this one-time firebrand mayor of Toledo

(1905-13) had established a reputation for himself in the field

of journalism long before the call to public service temporarily

halted his earnest efforts to scale Parnassus.

As political reporter for the Chicago Herald (1890-93),

Whitlock had caught the attention of Governor John P. Alt-

geld, Illinois' famed "eagle forgotten," and subsequently spent

many hours at the executive mansion talking occasionally

about politics but discoursing more often on the literary con-

tributions of Tolstoy, Meredith, and other luminaries in the

glamorous world of contemporary letters.2 His first law office

in Toledo had on its walls not portraits of supreme court

justices or photographs of other legal titans, but rather a

prominent picture of William D. Howells, fellow Ohioan and


* Abe C. Ravitz is associate professor of English at Hiram College.

1 Allan Nevins, ed., The Letters and Journal of Brand Whitlock (New York

and London, 1936), lxviii. Hereafter cited as Letters.

2 Letters, xxxi.