(1869–1934), Ohio journalist and lawyer, after serving as a liberal reform mayor of Toledo (1905–13) was appointed minister (later ambassador) to Belgium (1913–22). During the war he distinguished himself as a humanitarian worker, both in behalf of such individuals as Edith Cavell and in relief administration. His liberal interests are shown in novels that belong to the nascent period of realism, mainly set in the town of Macochee, whose original was his home, Urbana, Ohio. These include The 13th District (1902), an objective depiction of the corruption of American politics and the inevitable moral disintegration of those concerned in it; Her Infinite Variety (1904), a light account of the embroilments of suffragettes in politics; The Happy Average (1904), a semi-autobiographical novel; The Turn of the Balance (1907), a realistic story of the relation of criminals to modern society, and a humanitarian plea for social and prison reform; J. Hardin & Son (1923), a character study of the contrasts between two generations; Uprooted (1926) and Transplanted (1927), novels contrasting American and continental standards; and Big Matt (1928), a character study of a typical machine politician. In addition to his autobiography, Forty Years of It (1910), Whitlock wrote Belgium: A Personal Narrative (1919), books on contemporary politics, and biographies.
From The Oxford Companion to American Literature in Oxford Reference.