WHITE, JOHN GRISWOLD (10 Aug. 1845-26 Aug. 1928), lawyer and bibliophile, was born in Cleveland to lawyer Bushnell White and Elizabeth Brainard (Clark)White. In 1865 White graduated from Western Reserve College and was admitted to the bar in 1868. He went into partnership with Robt. E. Mix and Judge Conway W. Noble in 1870. The firm subsequently became White & Mix and was still active in 1995 as SPIETH, BELL, MCCURDY & NEWELL CO. White practiced largely in real estate, but was also well-versed in maritime, church, and municipal law. He was special counsel for CLEVELAND RAILWAY CO. in its fight with TOM L. JOHNSON over municipal control of street railways; attorney for the Catholic Diocese of Northern Ohio; and participated in litigation between 2 factions of the Evangelical church.
White was a charter member of the UNION CLUB; and with Mix, founded CLEVELAND YACHT CLUB. He served on the CLEVELAND PUBLIC LIBRARY board of trustees (1884-86, 1910-28), as president 15 years (1913-1928), instrumental selecting WM. H. BRETT and LINDA EASTMAN to head the library. Largely through his efforts, CPL grew to national prominence, established a branch library system, introduced the open-shelf policy, and implemented an employee retirement plan. White personally selected and donated over 60,000 books on Orientalia, folklore, and related subjects to the library; upon his death he bequeathed his 12,000-volume chess and checker collection to it. He left the bulk of his estate as an endowment to maintain and develop its John G. White Collection of Folklore, Orientalia and Chess. Never married, White died in Jackson, Wyoming, and was buried in LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.
Cleveland Public Library. The Open Shelf. Memorial Number: John Griswold White, Citizen of Cleveland, Lawyer, Scholar, Bookman, Donor of the White Collection (ca. 1929).
Cleveland Public Library Round Table. Tribute Presented to Mr. White by the Round Table on the Occasion of his Eightieth Birthday (1925).
Reece, Motoko B. Yatabe. "John Griswold White, Trustee, and the White Collection in the Cleveland Public Library" (Ph.D. diss., University of Michigan, 1979).