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Chicago Literary Club
P.O. Box 350
As a recent member of The Chicago Literary Club, and a fairly old member of the Caxton Club of Chicago, I have become aware of the striking similarities and some of the differences between these two Chicago institutions. Both have an interesting and varie
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(FOOTNOTE: Lawrence Whiting appears to have been a "Kentucky General", as the only rank mentioned in his "Who's Who" entries is Lieutenant Colonel in the First World War, when he was in charge of personnel for the A.E.F. (American Expeditionary Forces).
In the Second World War, while he was a "Special Consultant" to the War Department on personnel matters, and he probably had the "perks" of general rank, he was not one.
He does not, actually, appear to have, himself, claimed that rank, but he seems to have been pleased to hear himself referred to as such.
As he was based in Chicago during the Second World War, using the accounting staff in his own office in The Furniture Mart, he took charge of the affairs of the Club.
Per Bill Petersen, Lawrence Whiting had been a football star at The University of Chicago who had pursued, and won, as his wife, a daughter of the Countiss Family, early members of the Club, and he was the model for a prominent character in Edna Ferber's "So Big", in which there is a vivid description of a Lake Geneva weekend of the protagonist at "Stormwood" on Lake Geneva.
I am told that the elaborate lakefront residence described therein is the so-called "Countiss Property"; which Whiting obtained after he married a Countiss daughter.
Any reading of "So Big" by anyone who was acquainted with Whiting will lead the reader to believe that its protagonist was modeled after him.)
Promoting the 50th Anniversary Celebration to come, "General" Whiting (then the Club's President) sent a printed letter to the Club's membership.
With respect to motivations, General Whiting
would have been more accurate, had he
recognized that The Great Chicago Fire of October, 1871, and the labor unrest typified by the Pullman Strike of 1894 had motivated those who could afford a second home to arrange for one that was beyond the reach of such calamities.
Returning to General Whiting's written "history":
"General" Whiting wished that this new Military Academy
be located in Southern Wisconsin, immediately South of Geneva Lake.
"General" Whiting had persuaded then Governor Kohler of Wisconsin to propose this site to Washington.
"General" Whiting wished that the acreage of the Club be the new Military Academy
's access to Geneva Lake.
"General" Whiting had, since he became the Club's Secretary-Treasurer in 1935, been buying shares of the outstanding stock of the Club from former members, with the result that he had obtained a minority stockholder's position that was many times larger that of any other member.
WHEREAS, General Lawrence H. Whiting has tendered his resignation as a member of long-standing of the Lake Geneva Country Club because of poor health and his inability to use the privileges of the Club;
AND WHEREAS, General Whiting has played a prominent role in the life and history of the Club, serving as its president and its Secretary and contributing other valuable services to the Club during his many years of membership;
AND WHEREAS, the Lake Geneva Country Club
wishes to formally express its gratitude to General Whiting;
NOW, THEREFORE, in recognition of General Whiting's
services and devotion to the Club, it is hereby:
RESOLVED, that the resignation of General Lawrence H. Whiting
as a valued member in good standing of the Lake Geneva Country Club
is hereby accepted with sincere regret and deep appretiation for his
long years of service to the Club;
RESOLVED, FURTHER, that a copy of this resolution be sent to General Whiting