Richard M. Whitney

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Richard Merrill Whitney (November 10, 1874 - August 16, 1924) was a newspaper journalist and anti-communist author of Reds in America. He was director of the Washington bureau of the American Defense Society.

Early life

Richard M. Whitney was born at St. Albans, Maine to Charles Albert Whitney and Martha (Merrill) Whitney. He attended Phillips Academy School in Andover, Massachusetts and graduated Harvard College in 1897. On June 6, 1900 he married Mary Pierce Johnson in Manchester, New Hampshire. They had five children.[1]


After Harvard, Richard Whitney began working in St. Louis, Missouri as a newspaper journalist. With the outbreak of the Spanish American War he served as Second Lieutenant with the 6th Missouri Volunteer Infantry.

After the war he worked at various newspapers in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Diego some of which were the Boston American and the Los Angeles Times. During the First World War he was Associated Press correspondent in Washington DC at the State Department. he was a foreign correspondent in Mexico and Central and South America.

In August 22, 1922 the Justice Department raided a secret convention of the Communist Party being held in cottages in the woods near the small village of Bridgman, Michigan. Sixteen party leaders were arrested and charged with violating Michigan’s criminal syndicalism law. J. Edgar Hoover provided Whitney with photo-static copies of documents seized in the raid. Hoover also allowed Whitney access to Justice Department files to write his book Reds in America.[2]


In August 1924 Richard Whitney died of heart disease in a New York hotel.



  • Reds in America text (1924) 284 pages
  • La Follette, Socialism, Communism (1924) 64 pages


  • The Youth Movement in America text(1923) 27 pages
  • Back to Barbarism (1923) 24 pages
  • Peace at Any Old Price (1923) 32 pages

See also


  1. Harvard College Class of 1897 twenty-fifth anniversary report, page 604
  2. Red Scare: FBI and the origins of anticommunism in the United States, 1919-1943 By Regin Schmidt, page 103