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Dorothy Payne Whitney
Dorothy Payne Whitney
  • Born 23 January 1887 - Washington, D.C.
  • Deceased 13 December 1968 - Devonshire, England,aged 81 years old
  • Activist, publisher
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 Spouses, children and grandchildren


 Paternal grand-parents, uncles and aunts

 Maternal grand-parents, uncles and aunts


Individual Note

rootsweb: Click Here
Linked to: Timothy Michael Dowling, 8th cousin 3x removed
"Born in Washington, DC, at age 17 she came into a major inheritance following the death of her extremely wealthy father, businessman and statesman, William C. Whitney.
Her first marriage in 1911 was to Willard Dickerman Straight (1880-1918) an orphan from Oswego, New York who went to Cornell University and by the age of 30 was a powerful man amongst the international community trading in Peking, China. He died at the age of thirty-eight of influenza during the great epidemic while serving with the United States Army in France during World War I. Straight's will requested his wife to continue his philanthropic work in support of Cornell and in 1925 she built Willard Straight Hall, a student union building dedicated to her late husband's memory.
One of the wealthiest women in America in the early 20th century, Dorothy Whitney Straight was a philanthropist, social activist, suporting women's trade unions, educational and charitable organisations such as the Junior League of New York, becoming the first president of the Association of Junior Leagues International Inc. in 1921. She was also a founder with her husband of the weekly magazine The New Republic and the New School for Social Research.
Records of Dorothy Payne Whitney's in New York City, reveal the extent of her philanthropic work. She was a benefactor of the arts, feminist, and pacifist causes as well as social and labour reform. She lent financial support to progressive alternative education plus scholarly research. In 1937, she created in her father's name the William C. Whitney Foundation.
It was through the Cornell connection that in 1920 she met Major Leonard K. Elmhirst, from a Yorkshire landowning family, who was then studying Agriculture at Cornell University, and was seeking support for Cornell's Cosmopolitan Club which provdied amenities for foreign students. They married in April 1925, and embarked on ambitious plans to recreate rural community life at Dartington Hall in Devon."


  • Birth, death: Dowling Family Tree - Tim Dowling - rootsweb, 2001-2015 - - electronic - I55137

  Photos and archival records

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 Family Tree Preview

                                                                             _____|16_Josiah Whitney 1753-1827
                                                   _____|8_Steven Whitney 1784-1852
                                                  /                         ¯¯¯¯¯|17_Anna Scollay 1756-1824
                         _____|4_Joseph Scollay Whitney 1811-1878
                        /                        \
                       /                          ¯¯¯¯¯|9_Mary A. Burgess 1786-1868
|2_William Collins Whitney 1841-1904
|                      \
|                       ¯¯¯¯¯|5_Laurinda Collins 1810-1906
|--1_Dorothy Payne Whitney 1887-1968
|                                                                           _____|24_Abraham Paine, Rev. 1722-1801
|                                                  _____|12_Elisha Payne, Judge 1762-1843
|                                                 /                         ¯¯¯¯¯|25_Rebekah Freeman 1724-1810
|                       _____|6_Henry B. Payne, Sen. 1810-1896
|                      /                        \                          _____|26_Caleb Douglas 1756-1833
|                     /                          ¯¯¯¯¯|13_Esther Douglas 1778-1853
|                    /                                                     ¯¯¯¯¯|27_Bethiah Chapel 1758-1788
|3_Flora Payne 1842-1924
                      \                                                     _____|28_Nathan Perry, Major 1760-1813
                       \                           _____|14_Nathan Perry 1786-1865
                        \                         /                         ¯¯¯¯¯|29_Sophia Leonora Root 1762-
                         ¯¯¯¯¯|7_Mary P. Perry 1818-1895
                                                  \                         _____|30_Abraham Skinner 1755-1826
                                                   ¯¯¯¯¯|15_Pauline Skinner 1794-
                                                                             ¯¯¯¯¯|31_Mary Ayres 1766-1812