William C. Forbes

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William Cameron Forbes (May 21, 1870 – December 24, 1959), was governor-general of the Philippines and an investment banker.

He was the son of William Hathaway Forbes, president of the Bell Telephone Company, and of Edith Emerson, a daughter of Ralph Waldo Emerson.

US Ambassador to Japan, 1930-1932. Forbes received an LL.D. from Bates College in 1932. He died unmarried in 1959.

The gated community of Forbes Park in Makati City, the Philippines, is named after him, and is the residence of some of the wealthiest people in the country.


His papers are in the Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Copies of his annotated journal are at the Library of Congress and the Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston.

His autobiography, Fuddlehead by Fuddlehead (1935), is at the Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston.

He wrote the following books and articles:

  • The Romance of Business (1921)
  • "American Policies in the Far East," Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Jan. 1939
  • "A Survey of Developments in the Philippine Movement for Independence," Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1932-1936.

Forbes's Philippine career is analyzed in the following sources:

  • Peter W. Stanley, A Nation in the Making: The Philippines and the United States, 1899-1921 (1974)
  • Rev. Camillus Gott, "William Cameron Forbes and the Philippines, 1904-1946" (Ph.D. diss., Indiana University, 1974)
  • Theodore Friend, Between Two Empires: The Ordeal of the Philippines, 1929-1946 (1965).

Forbes's ambassadorship to Japan is discussed here:

  • Gary Ross, "W. Cameron Forbes: The Diplomacy of a Darwinist," in R. D. Burns and E. M. Bennett, eds., Diplomats in Crisis (1974).
  • Robert H. Ferrell, American Diplomacy in the Great Depression: Hoover-Stimson Foreign Policy, 1929-1933 (1957)
  • Armin Rappaport, Henry L. Stimson and Japan, 1931-1933 (1963)
  • James B. Crowley, Japan's Quest for Autonomy (1966).
Preceded by
Newton W. Gilbert
Governor-General of the Philippines
Succeeded by
Francis Burton Harrison

Original Source

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