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Carleton Putnam ’24

Published in May 20, 1998, issue

Carleton Putnam, airline pioneer, biographer, and writer, died Mar. 5, 1998, at his home in Charlottesville, Va., of pneumonia.

After Princeton, he became an aviation enthusiast. He earned his LLB in 1932 from Columbia Law School. Instead of practicing law, he turned a small California airline into a larger midwestern airline, Chicago and Southern, which merged into Delta in 1953. He was Delta's chairman of the board. He moved to Virginia to be near the Library of Congress, where he researched the early life of Theodore Roosevelt. His book Theodore Roosevelt: The Formative Years appeared in 1958 to critical acclaim.

In a Newsweek interview, Carleton said, "I decided early in life, being an American, that I would like to satisfy two needs of my nature. One was the need for the life of action, the other was the need for the life of the mind." He remained on the board of Delta until his death. He was a trustee of the Theodore Roosevelt Assn. and a member of the Cosmos, Chevy Chase, and Princeton Clubs.

He is survived by his wife, Esther MacKenzie Willcox Aughincloss, a daughter, three grandchildren, a stepdaughter, and three stepgrandchildren. He was previously married to Lucy Chapman Putnam. Donations may be made to the Theodore Roosevelt Assn., P.O. Box 719, Oyster Bay, NY 11771.

The Class of 1924

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3 Remembrances posted for Carleton Putnam

Dave Surath Says:

2010-12-12 01:21:33

You told the truth.

James Johnson Says:

2011-01-19 12:33:56

Putnam's other literary work, "Race and Reason," should be listed as well for its insight into minds of Anglo industrial leaders.

W. G. Plallance Says:

2015-04-21 10:21:39

Don't you think you should be more explicit about "Race and Reason" -- the omission on this is academic misconduct. Here is a Wikipedia summary: "His best known written work is 'Race and Reason,' an apology of racial segregation that originated in a letter he wrote to President Dwight Eisenhower protesting the end of segregation in U.S. public schools [Bradley, James (2009)]."
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Carleton Putnam
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