Paul Clinton Whitney: Our Man-of-the-Month for
October needs no introduction to Coast Survey old timers, as
he has been around so long that he is as well known to them
as Santa Claus is to American children.
The newcomers to the office are not quite so
fortunate as they have not shared the same privilege of knowing
one of the finest contacts enjoyed by the oldsters with one
of the Bureau’s most popular officers.
Captain Paul Clinton Whitney, the oldest member
of the Survey’s commissioned officers, from the point
of service and youngest in mannerisms, entered the Survey in
1902 as a civilian employee and was assigned to the electroplating
section for a period until being transferred to the field. During
his long service in the field he was engaged in directing surveys
of the coasts of Alaska, Philippine Islands, Pacific and Atlantic
Coasts and acted as Chief of Section of Coast Pilots, Washington
He served as Lt. and Lt. Comdr. in the U.S.
Navy during the 1st World War and at its conclusion assumed
the duties of Inspector of the San Francisco Field Station until
He became Chief of Division of Tides and Currents,
Washington Office in 1928, and has remained in this position
until his recent transfer to Norfolk, Va., in charge of the
Bureau’s Processing Office.
Capt. Whitney served as magnetic observer on
the first magnetic cruise, in the Pacific Ocean, under the auspices
of the Carnegie Institute in 1905.
He is a member of the Washington Society of
Engineers (Secretary), American Society of Military Engineers,
Philosophical Society of Washington and American Geophysical
Union (Pres. of Section of Oceanography).
He is the author of various technical government
publications on articles on tides and currents and a member
of the Cosmos and Anchor Masonic Clubs.
A graduate of George Washington University
and a Washingtonian by birth, the Captain has done much to reflect
great credit on his Alma Mater and the city of his birth.
During his long service with the Bureau, Capt.
Paul has done much to gain the large circle of friends which
he enjoys by his genial, hail-fellow-well-met attitude at all
times never exhibiting the slightest conceit by his many successes
and his ultimate promotion to the rank of Captain; and it was
with real regret that his friends learned of his departure from
the office recently.
His greatest interests, aside from his home
life seems to be developing a better and better tide gage with
which to measure the behavior of old man ocean, improving his
knowledge of navigation, traveling , and exhibiting in a most
attractive manner the Coast Survey’s many scientific developments
at World Fairs and the various organization meetings he attends.
Among the outstanding achievements he has accomplished
along this line were his designing and installing the Bureau’s
exhibits at the World Fairs at Chicago, Dallas, Cleveland, and
San Francisco and at the meeting of the International Geophysical
Union in Washington in 1939.
The versatility of the man, at times, is almost
startling because, besides his many activities required in his
work and his duties with the various scientific organizations
to which he belongs, he still finds time to be the “life
of the party” at almost all of the dances and entertainments
give by the Survey; to be the dynamic leader of the Air Raid
Wardens at the Commerce Building; for a good many years to act
as Bureau Representative of the Anchor Club and do many chores
at home which include the dismantling of useless garage doors,
and spending most of his time in helping with the harvest at
the ranch of his wife’s folks out in North Dakota during
his summer vacations.
‘Tis said he swings a nasty pitch fork
and can handle the great teams of farm horses equal to the most
seasoned rancher on the place.
He is being missed and will continue to be
missed while he is on his “trick” of duty at Norfolk
and all his friends hope he will enjoy his new work equally
as much as did that in our midst.
“The Buzzard,” Vol. IX, No. 40, pp. 1-2. October