Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History

Sauer, Anne

Branco, Jessica

Bennett, John

Crowley, Zachary


White, Zebulon Lewis, 1842-89


Zebulon L. White (1842-1889), A1866, was a distinguished journalist and trustee of Tufts College. Tufts' second President A.A. Miner, in dedication to White, wrote, "The College reckons many noble men in the catalogue of its alumni, but none truer or nobler than Zebulon Lewis White."

White was born in Norton, Massachusetts, on July 23, 1842.He worked in a foundry as a young boy, and later as a laborer on a farm. He struggled mightily to obtain a college education and first came to the Hill with his younger brother G. Penn White in 1862.

After graduation, White wrote some freelance articles for a temperance journal. By 1867 he had joined the city staff of the New York Tribune, and moved quickly up the ranks. In 1869 White obtained a transfer to Washington as chief of the Tribunes' correspondence bureau, a position he held for over a decade. One of the exciting events of this period stemmed from his publication of the Washington Treaty (1871) in advance of its official dissemination. The Senate promptly imprisoned White for contempt, as he refused to reveal the source of his information.

This and similar episodes, though less colorful, are testaments to White's integrity and character, aspects noted by his contemporaries with awe. He was well-known for his loyalty, garnering him the confidence and esteem of Washington politicians who habitually distrusted members of the press. One obituary writer eulogized "he put himself, without pretension or reservation, into whatever he undertook."White's persistence and powers of retention were legend among his fellow classmates and colleagues. They observed that he was not the man who learned immediately what he wished, but rather he acquired the knowledge over time, and once in his head it was there for good.

From the Times, White moved on to the editorship of The Providence Press. From this publication he resigned, begging poor health, but he rallied briefly to contribute articles to The North American Review, Harpers Magazine, and other similar publications.

Zebulon L. White married twice, each time to a daughter of M.J. Drummond, and in his religious faith he was a Universalist.

At Tufts White was an ardent member of the Mathetican Society, a brother in Zeta Psi, and he used to take a notebook to sermons at Goddard Chapel in order to record them - practice for his career. He retained a powerful appreciation for his alma mater, and gladly served as Trustee from 1872 until his death seventeen years later.

In failing health, White and his family boarded ship to Bermuda in hopes of regaining his strength. Unfortunately he died within three weeks of his arrival, in the early morning hours of January 1, 1889.

Sources: VF; TN

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  • The encyclopedia seeks to capture more than 150 years of Tufts' achievements, societal contributions and outstanding alumni and faculty in concise entries. As a source of accurate factual information, the Encyclopedia can be used by anyone interested in the history of Tufts and of the people who have made it the unique institution it is.
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Numeric Entries
Dame, Lorin Low, 1838-1903
Dana, Charles A., 1881-1975
Dana Laboratory, 1963
Daniel Ounjian Prize in Economics,
Davies, Caroline Stodder, 1864-1939
Davies House, 1894
De Florez Prize in Human Engineering, 1964
de Pacheco, Kaye MacKinnon, ca. 1910-ca. 1985
Dean Hall, 1887-1963
Dean, Oliver, 1783-1871
Dearborn, Heman Allen, 1831-1897
Department of Anatomy and Cellular Biology, 1893
Department of Anesthesia, 1970
Department of Art and Art History, 1930
Department of Biochemistry, 1893
Department of Chemistry, 1882
Department of Community Health, 1930
Department of Dermatology, 1897
The Department of Economics, 1946
Department of Medicine, 1893
Department of Molecular Biology and Microbiology
Department of Neurology, 1893
Department of Neuroscience, 1983
Department of Neurosurgery, 1951
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 1893
Department of Ophthamology, 1893
Department of Orthopedic Surgery, 1906
Department of Otolaryngology, 1895
Department of Pathology, 1893
Department of Pediatrics, 1930
Department of Pharmacology, 1915
Department of Physics and Astronomy, 1854
Department of Physiology, 1893
Department of Psychiatry, 1928
Department of Radiation Oncology, 1968
Department of Radiology, 1915
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, 1955
Department of Surgery, 1893
Department of Urban and Environmental Policy, 1973
Department of Urology, 1910
Dental Health Sciences Building, 1969
Dewick, Cora Alma (Polk), 1875-1977
Dewick/MacPhie Dining Hall, 1959
Dickson Professorship of English and American History, 1913
Dirlam, Arland A., 1905-1979
Dog Cart, 1900
Dolbear, Amos Emerson, 1837-1910
Donald A. Cowdery Memorial Scholarship, 1946
Dr. Benjamin Andrews Professorship of Surgery, 1987
Dr. Philip E. A. Sheridan Prize, 1977
The Drug Bust, 1970
Dudley, Henry Watson, 1831-1906
Dugger, Edward Jr., 1919-75
Durkee, Frank W., 1861-1939
Durkee, Henrietta Noble Brown, 1871-1946
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