Wickliffe Preston Draper

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Wickliffe Preston Draper (1891-1972), wiki Pioneer Fund's "main benefactor, served on its five-person Board of Directors from 1937 until 1972. Draper was born in 1891 to a distinguished New England family, distant kin to three American presidents. He graduated summa cum laude from Harvard in 1913.

"When World War I broke out in 1914, Draper enlisted as a lieutenant in the British Army and saw action on the western front and then in Greece. Returning to the western front, he fought at Messines and Ypres, where he was seriously wounded, and was later awarded the British Star Medal and the Belgian Croix de Guerre. When the U.S. entered the war in 1917, Draper transferred to the U.S. Army. In 1919, he was discharged with the rank of major. Promoted to Colonel in the Cavalry Reserve, a title by which many people addressed him, he continued to take officers' courses until the outbreak of World War II.

"When Draper's father died in 1923, he inherited the family's wealth earned from a textile machine manufacturing company...

"When the United States entered World War II, Draper, now 51 years old, returned to active service. Assigned to military intelligence, he joined British headquarters in India. Later, he was made responsible for internal security for the Alcan (Alaska-Canadian) Highway.

"By nature introverted, shy, and modest, Draper refused honorary doctorates or having university buildings named in his honor. The only distinctions he accepted were for his role in the discovery of Asselar Man and his military decorations. Draper insisted that his role as benefactor to many charitable causes (including military history, archaeology, conservation, and population problems) remain anonymous. He never married and when he died in 1972, he left a significant portion of his assets to the Pioneer Fund to continue its scientific philanthropy." [1]

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  1. Founders, Pioneer Fund, accessed October 2, 2009.