Men on a Mission
Justin DuPratt White
George Bowen Case
The fateful meeting took place one Sunday in 1897 at the house of the well known banker Dumont Clarke. The Clarke household Sunday gatherings of friends and family were grand events, bringing together many from the banking and business worlds. Clarke himself was president of American Exchange National Bank in New York. Among the regular guests were Henry (“Harry”) Davison, already destined for great things as a self-made financier, and his wife, Kate. Kate happened to invite along George Case, then a young lawyer and a bachelor. It turned out to be one of the truly memorable days of George Case’s life.
The fateful meeting took place one Sunday in 1897 at the house of the well known banker Dumont Clarke. The Clarke household Sunday gatherings of friends and family were grand events, bringing together many from the banking and business worlds. Clarke himself was president of American Exchange National Bank in New York. Among the regular guests were Henry (“Harry”) Davison, already destined for great things as a self-made financier, and his wife, Kate. Kate happened to invite along George Case, then a young lawyer and a bachelor. It turned out to be one of the truly memorable days of George Case’s life.
At the Clarke house that Sunday, Case met for the first time DuPratt White, a close friend of the Clarke family, and was introduced to Mary, Dumont Clarke’s daughter. George and Mary were wed the following year.
It was Mary who suggested to her husband that he and DuPratt White form a new law firm. Case discussed the idea with Davison, who lent his encouragement. It was a bold move. They were not typical established lawyers who could use a long career in law as a springboard to branch off on their own. One had “read” law with a lawyer in lieu of attending law school, and the other had graduated from law school just four years earlier. They were relatively young: White was 31 years old and Case was 28. But they were ambitious, highly able and well connected (see profiles,
DuPratt White
George Case
Charlie Fay, the Firm’s first lateral partner, trained in the classics and taught Greek and Latin before attending Columbia Law School. He joined White & Case in 1907, at age 35, after having been a partner at a larger, more established firm, Lord, Day & Lord. He stood out, both for his fine crop of red hair and for “his
The two lawyers rented an office at 31 Nassau Street, a few blocks north of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and immediately west of today’s Chase Manhattan Plaza. The partners each contributed $250 to their new firm’s capital and agreed to divide all expenses and profits equally. They never had to contribute another penny. At the end of the first year, they had earned $2,028.97 apiece, and from that successful start, the Firm grew rapidly. Perhaps it was common at the time, but so absolute was their mutual trust that they did not sign a partnership agreement for 14 years. They finally put their arrangement into writing in 1915, at which point three other lawyers (Charlie Fay, Colonel Hartfield and Roberts Walker) had been made partners. Fay was the Firm’s first lateral partner, joining from the firm of Lord, Day & Lord in 1907. Colonel Hartfield, one of the great characters in the Firm’s history
(see profile)
, was hired as an associate in 1905 and became a partner in 1912. Walker became the second lateral partner in 1912 on the recommendation of Daniel Reid, a shareholder of Liberty National Bank. Walker was familiar with railroad mortgages, then a fast-growing area of practice for the Firm, from his time as general counsel of the Rock Island Railroad and his work with other railroads.
The firm of White & Case was born on May 1, 1901
Charlie Fay
Charlie Fay, the Firm’s first lateral partner, trained in the classics and taught Greek and Latin before attending Columbia Law School. He joined White & Case in 1907, at age 35, after having been a partner at a larger, more established firm, Lord, Day & Lord. He stood out, both for his fine crop of red hair and for “his independent and forthright ideas,” according to the 50th anniversary history of the Firm. In his 43-year career at White & Case, Fay worked with clients such as First National Bank and West Virginia Coal & Coke Corporation. During World War I, he was counsel to New York Shipbuilding Corporation and represented the company in its construction of Hog Island Shipyard. He also looked after the interests of Bankers Trust. Once or twice a week, he would take the private elevator that ran between the Firm’s offices at 14 Wall Street and the executive offices of Bankers Trust to visit the bank’s senior executives one by one to talk through their legal requirements and to bring himself up to date with their business. Such attention to clients, now considered integral to managing client relationships, was then rare but typical of the Firm’s forward thinking. He died in 1950 at age 79.

partnership agreement, march 1915
This was the first partnership agreement, despite the fact that the Firm had been founded 14 years earlier. Trust underpinned the partnership.

The turn of the century, however, ended up being a great time to start a new firm. The industrial sector in the United States was growing rapidly, and the need for corporate legal services was expanding with that growth. In 1901, the year of White & Case’s founding, U.S. Steel was established as the world’s first corporation with assets of more than $1 billion. The enormous Spindletop oil field in Texas was discovered that same year, spawning four giants of the oil industry: Exxon, Gulf, Sun and Texaco. Two years later, Henry Ford created Ford Motor Company. These were just a few of the major corporations that came into being around the turn of the century.
At the same time, the very nature of the practice of corporate law was changing. Most lawyers in the United States were originally litigators, but in the 1880s many firms began broadening their services and working with clients on a continuous basis, not just at the point of litigation.

wall street, 1911
j.p. morgan & co. is on the right.

Edwin G. Burrows and Mike Wallace, in their Pulitzer Prize–winning book,
Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898
, noted: “Many corporate lawyers withdrew from trial work altogether, dealing instead with the growing number of regulatory state agencies that corporations were answerable to, or serving as businessmen’s emissaries and lobbyists—or serving in public office themselves.”
Alongside these trends, Wall Street emerged as the center of the corporate legal profession in the United States. This occurred not only because of the concentration of financial institutions in the Wall Street area, but also because many industrial firms—such as Standard Oil from Cleveland, Armour & Company from Chicago, and American Tobacco Company from Durham, North Carolina—moved their corporate offices to lower Manhattan in the closing years of the 19th century to improve their access to capital. Having moved to Wall Street, they hired Wall Street lawyers.
By the end of the 19th century, lower Manhattan “grew thick with corporate law firms,” Burrows and Wallace wrote. White & Case, though a newcomer and up against stiff competition, soon established its strong credentials as a top Wall Street firm.
White & Case was by no means the first important Wall Street law firm. Firms such as Davis Polk & Wardwell (founded in 1849), Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy (1866), Shearman & Sterling (1873) and Sullivan & Cromwell (1879) were already well established by the time White & Case arrived on the scene.
A great time to establish a law firm

spindletop Oil Field, beaumont, texas, 1901


henry ford in his first automobile, 1896

With a little help
Outstanding lawyers though they were, DuPratt White and George Case did not do it all on their own. If ever a firm was born with a guardian angel at its side, White & Case had one in Harry Davison. Case and Davison met for the first time in the 1890s after both had moved to New York City and Case had enrolled at Columbia Law School. They hit it off immediately and became close friends.
Davison, who would rise to become a leading figure in the financial world and the de facto head of J.P. Morgan & Co.
(see profile)
, was a keen supporter of the fledgling firm of White & Case, recognizing in its founders top legal minds, a willingness to innovate and a strong sense of community spirit. Wall Street was a tightly knit community, and business in that era depended on personal contacts and trust. In Davison, the two young lawyers found an extraordinary ally. As Davison’s star ascended, he retained White & Case to represent a series of banking ventures that he headed or formed.

a woman working in a munitions factory during world war I, 1916
White & Case was retained to handle all the legal work associated with purchases of war materials by J.P. Morgan & Co., which had been hired by the British and French governments to purchase these materials in the United States on their behalf.

The most important of these was Bankers Trust Company, which Davison organized in 1903 with the support of George Baker and Pierpont Morgan. Bankers Trust, in effect a trust company for other banks, succeeded because of an ingenious concept dreamed up by Davison
(see Chapter Two)
. Davison retained White & Case to handle all the legal work required to establish Bankers Trust and to advise on the complexities associated with what was the first of its kind. The Firm continued to represent the company for the next 96 years, until and after it was acquired by Deutsche Bank (a White & Case client) in 1999.
Davison also entrusted White & Case to handle all the legal work associated with purchases of war materials during World War I by J.P. Morgan & Co., which had been hired by the British and French governments to purchase these materials in the United States on their behalf. This work included the writing of contracts with nearly a thousand U.S. suppliers. By the war’s end, approximately $3 billion of armaments had been channeled to the British and French military through the program, nearly half of all U.S. supplies sold to the Allies during the war. After the war, the French government made DuPratt White a Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor in recognition of his and the Firm’s contributions to this massive undertaking that helped the Allies win the war.

harry davison at his desk
In the office of the American Red Cross in Washington, D.C., while serving as chairman of the Red Cross War Council during World War I.

Davison also relied on White & Case for important matters not related to clients. During World War I, while continuing to manage J.P. Morgan & Co., Davison was appointed chairman of the American Red Cross War Council at the request of President Woodrow Wilson. Case became legal adviser to the War Council at its inception and was later, at Davison’s request, appointed a member of the War Council by President Wilson.
J.P. Morgan & Co. was the dominant investment bank throughout the first three decades of the 20th century, organizing and financing dozens of new companies. White & Case was appointed general counsel by a number of them, including Newmont Mining Corporation at the time of its founding in 1921. The Firm’s relationship with Newmont Mining continues to this day. Indeed, enduring relationships became a hallmark of the Firm: White & Case represented nearly all its early clients for decades—through wars, changing economic conditions and evolving business environments.

bankers trust company building, 16 wall street, new york, may 1912
At the time of the building's completion, it was the world's tallest bank building.


white & case partner’s office at 14 wall street


the first register page of White & Case, 1901
The Firm’s first client was American Exchange National Bank.

Marden’s recollections of the quaint technology are borne out by the description of the copying process used in 1917 in a memo written by an unidentified member of the Firm. According to the memo, carbon paper was then still relatively new, and the Firm had yet to begin using it. Instead, all letters were typed in transferable “purplish” ink. Before a letter was inserted into an envelope for mailing, an employee named “Pop” Turner—“an old gentleman with a white beard and white hair who was over eighty”—placed it in a press against a piece of damp tissue. He then tightened the press by turning a large iron wheel, in this way copying the letter onto the tissue. Late each afternoon, the day’s tissues were collected and stapled together onto a cardboard backing. The workweek at White & Case was six days: Monday through Friday, plus an abbreviated session until 3 p.m. on Saturday, although “it was considered better form to wait until about five” before leaving, Marden wrote. The six-day week was common among law firms, as it had been for decades. Many clients were also open for business on Saturdays, and even the New York Stock Exchange had a six-day trading week, Monday through Saturday. White & Case eliminated mandatory Saturday hours after World War II, although “Saturday duty”—rotating assignments shared by younger lawyers—lasted into the 1970s. Some things, however, never change: Marden said that, in 1930, lawyers labored into the night if their work demanded it. Certainly, the founders dictated the Firm’s work ethic: Case worked long hours, and White even longer, sometimes not leaving the office until midnight. For White & Case, 14 Wall Street continued as its headquarters for 72 years. The Firm left Wall Street in 1984 for offices in midtown Manhattan.
In 1973, Orison Marden, another legendary figure in the Firm’s history, provided a colorful account of what the office was like in 1930. “It is the little things that I remember best,” Marden wrote. “For example, practically everyone wore heavy woolen suits throughout the summer. Air conditioning, of course, was nonexistent. Windows were kept open and the noise of automobile horns and clouds of soot were familiar visitors. I still shudder at the dog days of August. Duplicating machines had not yet been invented and one’s hands were constantly dirtied by carbon black copies of letters and documents.”
When Bankers Trust moved into the new building in 1912, White & Case moved in, too, renting space on the 26th floor, eventually expanding to a total of six floors. The Firm’s lawyers and staff used the separate tenant entrance at 14 Wall Street, but a private elevator ran between the Firm’s offices and those of the bank’s senior executives. The partners and senior associates of White & Case may at times have seemed almost like an extension of Bankers Trust’s management, providing advice on business decisions as well as rendering legal services. In fact, throughout its early years, Bankers Trust did not have in-house legal staff, relying on White & Case to handle all legal matters. The Firm’s new office was spectacular compared to the one at 31 Nassau Street. Many of the individual lawyer offices were wood-paneled, and some featured working fireplaces. The largest office, occupied in later years by Colonel Hartfield, looked out between the enormous ornamental columns at the top of the Bankers Trust building onto Wall Street. Monty Hatch’s office, which had a black marble Adam fireplace, had briefly been occupied by Pierpont Morgan himself. Irving Olds was at one time in George Case’s former office, which featured granite pillars. The Firm’s library afforded a view of the harbor. But not all individual offices were luxurious, many of them spreading down long hallways like “rabbit warrens,” making it hard to tell who was a partner and who was an associate.
The links between White & Case and Bankers Trust extended beyond the typical law firm-client relationship. The two organizations also shared physical proximity. At its opening in 1903, Bankers Trust had a staff of eight and occupied two rooms in the basement of an office building at Liberty and Washington Streets in Manhattan. Within five months, it had outgrown those offices and moved to 7 Wall Street.
In 1909, as it continued to expand, Bankers Trust purchased a prime piece of land (said to be the most expensive per square foot in the world at the time) at 16 Wall Street to erect a 41-story headquarters building. When completed, the building was the world’s tallest bank building, symbolizing Bankers Trust’s rapid emergence as a premier financial institution. The building’s pyramid top—a replica of the ancient tomb at Halicarnassus in Asia Minor—became one of the distinctive features of the lower Manhattan skyline, inspiring a vogue for temples and mausoleums atop other new skyscrapers nationwide.
Change of address and a 72-year tenancy
“Practically everyone wore heavy woolen suits throughout the summer. Air conditioning, of course, was nonexistent. Windows were kept open and the noise of automobile horns and clouds of soot were familiar visitors. I still shudder at the dog days of August.”
Orison Marden

a desk believed to have been used by george case
The desk was made by furniture maker Theodore Hofstatter & Co.

Early Clients
When White & Case was founded, Dumont Clarke’s American Exchange National Bank became its first client. The Firm’s first register page shows Case representing his father-in-law’s bank in its attempts to collect a debt from a jewelry company in Manhattan. Other early client relationships grew out of the so-called “Englewood connection.” Following their marriage, George and Mary Case took up residence in Englewood, New Jersey, across the Hudson River from northern Manhattan. The Davisons had previously moved to Englewood, and the Case and Davison families became neighbors. Other friends and colleagues of Harry Davison moved to Englewood also, and soon the town became an enclave of up-and-coming Wall Street financiers. The members of this group often rode into New York City together on the morning commuter train. Sometimes DuPratt White, commuting from Nyack, would change trains to join the group for the final leg of the journey.
The members of the Englewood connection formed an extraordinary group. In addition to Case and Davison, they included Thomas Lamont, a Davison protégé who later became chairman of J.P. Morgan & Co.; Benjamin Strong Jr., a young banker who in 1914 was elected president of Bankers Trust and, after serving briefly in that position, became the first governor (president) of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York; Thomas Cochran, another future Morgan partner; Seward Prosser, another future Bankers Trust president; and Dwight Morrow, who would become a Morgan partner and then enter government service as U.S. ambassador to Mexico before being elected to the U.S. Senate from New Jersey. Case fit naturally into this group. He was intelligent and capable, and many of the other members of the Englewood connection turned to him for legal counsel. He not only served their personal legal needs, but also represented their companies, developing relationships that continued for generations. For instance, early in his career, Thomas Lamont headed a family-owned food export-import business, Lamont, Corliss & Company, which was represented by Case. Case, and later White & Case, represented not only that company, but also Lamont, personally, as well as his estate and other interests. Lamont, Corliss was subsequently acquired by Chesebrough-Pond’s Company, whereupon White & Case became counsel to that company, a relationship that continued until Chesebrough-Pond’s was acquired by British-based Unilever in 1987.

erie railway, nyack station, rockland county, New York, 1916
The station from which DuPratt White commuted to work.


president woodrow wilson with the original world war i american red cross war council, 1917
Front row (left to right): Robert W. DeForest (not a member), President Wilson, former President William Howard Taft, Eliot Wadsworth. Back row (left to right): Harry Davison, Col. Grayson M.P. Murphy, Charles D. Norton, Edward N. Hurley. Cornelius Bliss, a member, is not pictured. George Case, not pictured, was appointed a member by President Wilson in early 1918, succeeding Norton.

Early growth of the partnership
Of course, the Firm was not just dependent on its founders. DuPratt White and George Case displayed an unerring ability to hire and train talented lawyers. Within two decades of its founding, the Firm had assembled an impressive legal team. By 1918, the Firm had nine partners and 16 associates, plus four other associates on leave in the armed forces. By 1928, it had 15 partners and about 45 associates. Each of these lawyers—with the exception of White, Case, Fay and Walker, who were partners from their first day with the Firm—made partnership after having been with White & Case for six to nine years.
The Firm’s founders had a clear idea of the type of law firm they wished to create. It would deliver top-quality legal advice to the Firm’s clients. Connections alone would never be sufficient. The Firm would have to repay the trust that its clients placed in it. Since the Firm was a new entrant in the market, its lawyers would have to be entrepreneurial, going out of their way to win new clients. The Firm’s lawyers would also have to be open to new ideas and innovative thinking, devising legal answers to the challenges set by its financial institution and corporate clients. The founders were also keen to create a collegial and collaborative environment in which everyone would feel comfortable and would be recognized for their contributions. And, based on their own commitment to community causes, the founders instilled in those around them an ethos of civic duty. Truly, White & Case was a different type of law firm.

roberts walker and joseph hartfield announcement, 1912
Joseph Hartfield was better known as Colonel Hartfield.

Irving Olds was on the fastest track, becoming a partner in six years, presumably reflecting his contributions to the Firm’s success, including his work advising J.P. Morgan on armaments purchases for the British and French governments. Olds went on to open the Firm’s first overseas office, in Paris in 1926. Many of the Firm’s early partners spent well over half a century with the Firm. Their work was their life, and White & Case—like other law firms of the day—did not have a retirement policy. Indeed, many of the Firm’s early partners remained active into their seventies or eighties. Even if they retired, which few did, they typically retained their full partnership interest until they died. Being a member of White & Case was a lifetime commitment.

roberts walker in his office
Roberts Walker was one of the partners who knew and had high regard for White & Case associate and World War I hero Charles Whittlesey.

DuPratt White
Justin DuPratt White (he was always known by his middle name) might never have had occasion to start a law firm. Luckily for the Firm, however, he lost his bid in the late 1890s to become county judge of Rockland County. Running on a Democratic ticket, he lost—badly—because the county was predominantly Republican.
White came from humble origins. He was born in 1869 in Middletown, New York, then a small industrial city and railroad center in the southeastern part of the state. His father was paymaster for the New York, Ontario and Western Railway. When he was an infant, the family moved to Nyack, New York, where he went to public school before attending Cornell University on a state scholarship. After graduating from Cornell, he spent two years apprenticing in the offices of a lawyer in lower Manhattan. He passed the Bar in 1892 and practiced in New York City on his own for the next nine years, serving various government and corporate clients, including the New York County Public Administrator and First National Bank. White was civic-minded to the core, embarking in 1900 on one of the great crusades of his life—the preservation of the majestic cliffs, or palisades, that stretch along the western bank of the Hudson River from the George Washington Bridge northward to Piermont, New York. That year, he became one of the original commissioners of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, formed to acquire and protect the palisades and adjacent woodlands, which were being threatened by quarrying and other commercial development.
The New York Times
called White “the guiding figure” in the Commission’s work. Indeed, he remained a commissioner for 39 years until his death in 1939, serving as the Commission’s secretary for 20 years and then its president for 19, and handling all its legal affairs on a pro bono basis. The acquisition of the palisades came slowly at first and peaked in 1933 when John D. Rockefeller Jr. donated 700 acres for inclusion in the park.

governor's inspection of the palisades, 1924
Front row: DuPratt White (third from right) with New York Governor Al Smith (third from left). White served as a commissioner of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission from its foundation for the next 39 years until his death.

Thanks to the relentless efforts of White and others, the palisades are today one of the great undeveloped natural wonders in the New York metropolitan area. At his funeral, 70 members of the Palisades Interstate Park police formed the guard of honor from the sidewalk to the church door. White’s other consuming passion was Cornell, his alma mater. He sat on Cornell’s board of trustees for 26 years, devoting himself to the physical improvement of the university’s campus and the growth of its law school. The J. DuPratt White Professorship of Law at Cornell University School of Law honors his memory.
About five and a half feet tall, White was meticulous in his appearance, favoring conservative, neatly tailored suits and often wearing a freshly cut flower in his lapel. He was equally scrupulous in his practice. “When a contract, an indenture, or a brief finally left Mr. White’s hands, it had been prepared with lawyer-like perfection and reflected credit upon him and the Firm,” according to the 50th anniversary history of White & Case, written by Colonel Hartfield.

palisades interstate park under construction, 1940

White became the first White & Case partner to present a case to the U.S. Supreme Court when, in 1934, he represented New York Trust Company in defending an appeal of a White & Case victory in the Second Circuit. The case concerned the eligibility of a particular gain for a low tax rate applicable to capital gains. Not only did White achieve this first on behalf of the Firm, but he also won.
He was also independent-minded and forthright, speaking out, for instance, against the Eighteenth Amendment and Prohibition. His 1920 article, “Is There An Eighteenth Amendment?” in the
Cornell Law Quarterly
, challenged Prohibition on constitutional grounds. He said the federal government did not have the right to control what people drank and, in any event, he thought the government was foolish to deprive itself of taxes from the sale of alcoholic beverages. In 1932, when Franklin D. Roosevelt ran for president on a platform that included Prohibition’s repeal, White was delighted with the candidate’s views. He even made a small wager with his partner, Leonard Smith, a Prohibitionist and Hoover supporter, on the outcome of the election. Needless to say, Roosevelt won the election—and White won the bet. He died in 1939 at age 69.

palisades interstate park under construction, 1940

George Case
George Case, taller and heavier than his co-founding partner, was a man of vigor, geniality and quiet self-confidence—endowed with “the gift of leadership,” in the assessment of Tom Kiernan, writing in his
Case was born in Kansas City in 1872 and attended Phillips Academy in Andover, a prep school in Massachusetts, before enrolling at Yale. Tall and athletic, he captained the Eli baseball team in his senior year and is widely credited with inventing the squeeze play, which is now a staple of the sport (see description below). Upon graduating from Yale in 1894, he enrolled at Columbia Law School, earning his degree in 1897 and joining New York corporate firm Swayne & Swayne as an associate that same year. He later moved to another New York firm, Richards & Heald. Case was an early example of a lawyer clients rely on for counsel in both legal and business matters. It was Case to whom Davison turned to advise him on his efforts to reform the U.S. banking system (which led eventually to the creation of the Federal Reserve System in 1913), on his work with the American Red Cross in the United States and Europe during World War I and, after the war, with his work to create the League of Red Cross Societies, a predecessor to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). At Davison’s recommendation, President Wilson appointed Case to the seven-member American Red Cross War Council, which took charge of the Red Cross’s war efforts and raised more than $100 million for war relief during its 1917 campaign. Case served as legal adviser to the War Council, and his help to Davison during and after the war led to the Firm’s becoming the Red Cross’s outside counsel, providing it with pro bono legal services for more than 30 years. Case was also a member of the team of high-powered lawyers who advised Pierpont Morgan and Davison in 1912 on their testimony at hearings of the Congressional Pujo Committee, which was investigating whether a Wall Street “money trust” controlled U.S. industry.

a print of an Etching by George Case

When many U.S. banks closed in 1933 during the height of the Great Depression, top officials of banks including Bankers Trust, First National Bank and New York Trust called upon Case to advise them on their many and diverse problems arising out of that financial crisis.

Due in part to Case’s business interest and acumen, he played a much more active role than White in the management of the Firm both before and after it began adding more lawyers. When Case withdrew from active involvement in the Firm in the late 1930s, he remained a partner and was often consulted on important Firm matters, right up until his death in 1955. Case’s love for, and devotion to, the Firm is evident in the letter he wrote to his partners on the occasion of the Firm’s 50th anniversary
(see the letter)

an exchange of telegrams between george case and dupratt white, 1921
This exchange underlined the pride they felt in the firm they had created.

It has long been a part of White & Case lore that Case, while the captain of the Yale baseball team, invented baseball’s squeeze play during a game between Yale and Princeton on June 16, 1894. Case certainly believed he did. In a memorandum of December 7, 1950, in which he inadvertently and wrongly referred to the game as taking place on June 18, Case described how the play was “first applied.” A leading sportswriter and Case’s teammates also believed that Case invented the play. On April 7, 1930, Joe Vila, the sports editor of the New York City newspaper
The Sun
, wrote an article in which he noted that New York Yankees manager Clark Griffith claimed to have invented the squeeze play in the early 1900s, but then went on to write: “The ‘squeeze play’ wasn’t invented by Griffith, however. It first was executed by Yale in the game with Princeton at Eastern Park on June 16, 1894.” Later in the article, he went on: “For some time before this game, [George] Case and [Dutch] Carter figured on springing the trick, which never had been seen in a ball game, professional or amateur. It was invented by them at least ten years before the Yankees, led by Griffith, tried it successfully.” Vila then described the play at the Yale-Princeton game about the same way Case did in his 1950 memorandum.

memorandum about the squeeze play
George Case’s description of how the squeeze play was first applied in a game between Yale and Princeton on June 16, 1894.

George Case and the squeeze play
Redington noted in his letter to Vila that the squeeze play “first applied” in the Yale-Princeton game was not only a squeeze play but also a double squeeze, explaining to Vila that Yale teammates Tom Arbuthnot on third and Fred Murphy on second “started on a dead run with the wind-up of the pitcher.” Murphy himself confirmed the play was a double suicide squeeze in a letter he wrote to Case on June 16, 1943, in which he spoke of his memories of the 1894 game and the squeeze play in glowing terms: “Dear me! Do I remember it! It is as clear as if we were standing at the plate this minute. I shall never forget the care with which you made the signal for the play, that is picking up and rubbing dust on your left elbow. It was done with such care that I felt sure the opposing pitcher would realize that something was up.”

the yale bulldogs, 1894
George Case played shortstop for the Yale Bulldogs from 1891 to 1894. Back row (left to right): C.H. George, F. Murphy, H.M. Keator, A.A. Bigelow, M.J. Warner, J.R. Quinby; middle row (left to right): J.B. Speer, F.B. Stephenson,F. Rustin, G.B. Case (center holding bat), W.F. Carter, T.S. Arbuthnot; front row (left to right): seated on ground: G.O. Redington, E.R. Trudeau, J.C. Greenway.

“It resulted from [Case’s] thinking that if a batter could sacrifice a runner from first base to second, or from second to third, he ought to be able to sacrifice him from third base home.”
George Redington
The day after Vila’s article ran, George Redington, one of Case’s Yale teammates, wrote a letter to Vila in which he said: “It was very interesting to read in your column last evening the account of our successful ‘squeeze play’ against Princeton during the third and deciding game in 1894. You might be interested to know how George Case came to invent the play. It resulted from his thinking that if a batter could sacrifice a runner from first base to second, or from second to third, he ought to be able to sacrifice him from third base home.” In a squeeze play, the batter, acting on a prearranged signal, tries to bunt the ball toward first or third base to enable the runner on third to score. In a “safety squeeze,” the runner on third does not break for home until the batter makes contact with the ball. In a “suicide squeeze,” the runner on third breaks for home as soon as the pitcher begins the wind-up motion of the pitch. If the batter bunts successfully, the runner from third scores easily. If the batter misses the bunt, the catcher easily tags out the runner.

yale vs. Princeton, 1894
Program for the May 21, 1894 game between Yale and Princeton, won by Yale. Princeton won the rematch on June 9, forcing the playing of the June 16 game as the tie-breaking game of a three-game series, as noted in Redington’s letter to Vila.

The Firm’s research for this book uncovered a number of claims that the squeeze play might have been first used earlier than June 16, 1894. However, none of these claims, in particular those relating to the suicide or double suicide squeeze, was documented as conclusively as its use by Case and his teammates in the Yale-Princeton game. The invention of the squeeze play was innovative, and the play exemplified other requirements for building a great law firm: strategic thinking, risk-taking, self-sacrifice, teamwork and flawless execution. Case brought all these qualities with him in abundance to the firm he co-founded seven years later, values that are still at the heart and soul of White & Case

letter to george case from the firm’s partners for his 80th birthday, june 5, 1952
“We have our Chief ever in mind.”

Harry Davison
Harry Davison was born in 1867 in Troy, Pennsylvania, where his father sold farm equipment. Davison’s mother died when he was nine. With financial support from relatives, young Harry attended Greylock Institute in the western part of Massachusetts, then one of the nation’s top prep schools, graduating first in his class.
Banker, philanthropist and White & Case guardian angel
He was accepted at Harvard. However, when he was denied a scholarship to Harvard, he skipped college and took a job as a bookkeeper at a bank in Bridgeport, Connecticut. With his engaging personality and wonderful sense of humor, Davison made friends easily. Soon, he got to know P.T. Barnum, the famous showman, who was a director of the bank. Barnum took a liking to the young man and invited him to weekly games of whist at the Barnum home, the first of several important friendships that would propel Davison in his career. In 1893, Davison married Kate Trubee, daughter of a prominent Bridgeport family, and they moved to New York, where he became a teller at the newly organized Astor Place Bank. He made his mark for coolness under fire when a deranged man with a gun appeared at his teller’s window and demanded to cash a check made out to “The Almighty.” Davison paid the sum in small bills, counting out each dollar loudly, thereby alerting the bank guard that something was amiss. The police arrived, and the man was arrested. Davison soon came to the attention of George Baker, who was always on the lookout for bright, young executives to staff the various banks he controlled. In 1894, Baker hired Davison as an assistant cashier at Liberty National Bank. In 1901, Davison became Liberty’s president and, the following year, was tapped by Baker for a vice-presidency at the huge First National Bank.
Davison’s biggest break of all came in 1907 when, as an officer of First National, he worked with the redoubtable Pierpont Morgan in implementing a Morgan-devised plan to stem a nationwide financial panic. As the panic deepened before being ultimately resolved, Morgan was impressed by Davison’s judgment and ability to get things done. Not long thereafter, Morgan asked his friend George Baker for a personal favor—that Baker allow Davison to leave First National to join the Morgan firm. Baker agreed, and on January 1, 1909, the 41-year-old Davison became a J.P. Morgan & Co. partner, the pinnacle of Wall Street success. Four years later, when Pierpont Morgan died, Davison was tapped to manage the firm, although Pierpont’s son, J.P. “Jack” Morgan Jr., became its titular head. Beginning in 1908, when the U.S. Congress formed the National Monetary Association to consider reformation of the U.S. monetary system, Davison was appointed as an adviser to the association by its chairman, Senator Nelson Aldrich of Rhode Island. In 1910, Davison helped Aldrich develop the “Aldrich Plan” to reform the banking system that, while leading to no Congressional action at that time, is credited with helping lay the foundation for the creation of the Federal Reserve System in 1913. During World War I, while continuing to manage the Morgan firm, Davison was appointed chairman of the American Red Cross War Council by President Wilson. The War Council took charge of all of the Red Cross’s efforts to provide support for American and Allied soldiers and their families during the war and raised more than $100 million for these relief efforts during the ambitious Red Cross campaign of 1917. According to Thomas Lamont’s biography of Davison, that campaign gave rise to “an entirely new standard of giving, in establishing a new scale of generosity that has since been felt in efforts of charitable and educational gifting throughout the country.” After the war, Davison’s proposal to form a federation of individual national Red Cross Societies led to the creation of the League of Red Cross Societies, a predecessor of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). He died in 1922 at age 54 while undergoing surgery for a brain tumor.
Charles Whittlesey
World War I hero
Charles Whittlesey joined White & Case as an associate in 1920 after attaining the rank of major while fighting for the U.S. Army in Europe during World War I. Before enlisting in the Army in 1917, he earned his law degree at Harvard Law School in 1908 and formed his own law firm in New York City with one of his classmates.
In late summer 1918, Whittlesey and the infantry battalion he commanded were moved to the combat lines in northeast France as part of the Allied offensive in the woods of Argonne to stave off advancing German forces. During fighting in October, Whittlesey’s battalion found itself cut off from the rest of the Allied troops in a “pocket” formed by a hill, an old Roman road and railroad tracks. This isolation led Whittlesey’s troops to come to be known as the “Lost Battalion.” Trapped in the pocket, Whittlesey’s battalion engaged the Germans in a hotly contested battle until Whittlesey found a way for several of his troops to escape from the pocket and return with Allied reinforcements. For his bravery in battle and valor in saving his troops, Whittlesey received the Congressional Medal of Honor in a ceremony in Boston on December 24, 1918 before a cheering crowd of thousands. His heroics were later recounted in a Hollywood movie,
The Lost Battalion.
After returning home from the war, Whittlesey joined White & Case and spent the next year working in its banking practice. His colleagues at the Firm, including Robert Little, found him to be a talented lawyer but also believed that he felt compelled, as a high-profile war hero, to participate in causes in support of surviving U.S. troops and their families. Among other things, he became chairman of the Red Cross Roll Call, an annual drive sponsored by the New York County chapter of the American Red Cross to increase the number of its members and their contributions.

certificate and congressional medal of honor awarded to lt. col. (then major) charles w. whittlesey, 77th division, 308th infantry, world war i
commending his bravery and the events that took place in the “pocket” (battle of argonne).

On Saturday, November 26, 1921, Whittlesey boarded in New York City a United Fruit Company steamship, the S.S. Toloa, bound for Havana. The next day, he was reported by wire from the ship’s captain to have “disappeared” from the ship, raising the question as to whether he took his own life. Whittlesey’s friends were reported to have believed that “his mind broke down through the misery he had seen as a result of the war.” One of the Firm’s partners at the time, Roberts Walker, was quoted as noting that Whittlesey had been besieged by wounded soldiers and widows of soldiers seeking aid and that a recent invitation to participate in a ceremony to honor the Unknown Solder at Arlington National Cemetery had been an especially difficult reminder of the war. “He was very sentimental and those distressing appeals made him most anxious and worried,” Walker noted. For their part, his fellow associates were impressed with the remarkable care he had taken to leave his work at the Firm in “perfect order” and praised his “remarkable mind.”