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Captain 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 Office 1903-1917.

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 1928.

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.

In: “The Buzzard,” Vol. IX, No. 40, pp. 1-2. October 1, 1942.



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Last Updated: June 8, 2006 9:24 AM

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