Bachelor of Arts Kansas, 1942. Student, Columbia University, 1946.
Reporter, assistant editor Douglas County (Kansas) Outlook, 1940-1941, Topeka Daily Capital, 1942. Reporter United Press, 1945-1947, assistant copy editor, 1947-1949, New York City overnight bureau manager and news editor, 1949-1951. Assistant to managing editor World Book Encyclopedia, Chicago, 1952-1954, managing editor, 1954-1964.
Vice president, editor-in-chief Encyclopedia Americana, 1964-1965. President, editor Cowles Education Corporation, New York City, 1965-1968. Vice president educational systems Universal Education Corporation, 1969-1972.
President, editor David C. Whitney Associates, Inc., since 1972.
President Village board trustees, mayor, Deerfield, Illinois, 1961-1964. President board education School District 110, Deerfield, Illinois, 1956-1961. Member Library board trustees, Chappaqua, New York, 1975-1980, president, 1978-1980.
Trustee W. Deerfield Township Public Library, 1953-1959. Served from ensign to lieutenant United States Naval Reserve, 1942-1945. Member American Society Curriculum Development, Society Mayflower Descendants, Friends of Library, American History Society, Authors Guild, Sigma Delta Chi.
Married Elizabeth J. West, January 31, 1943 (deceased 1978). Children: Ann G., Katherine W., Jane P. (deceased), West Martin (deceased), Peter A., Lynn McC. (deceased). Married Merrie Robin Vaughn, February 23, 1980.