Whittemore was born on January 6, 1921 in Hackensack, New Jersey. He first became interested in glass making after seeing the Blashka botanical at Harvard University and while in high school he began experimenting with glass blowing at a Bunsen burner. From 1946 he worked for 16 years as a scientific glassblower. In 1962 he began teaching scientific glass blowing at the Salem County Vocational Technical Institute in New Jersey. It was while working there that he began experimenting and making crimp rose paperweights. After much trial and error he soon taught himself the technique and developed the tools required to create crimp roses and today they remain some the most celebrated and sought after crimps ever made. In 1969 he began making lampwork paperweights in the tradition and style of the classical era French makers with elegant lines and fine detail. Whittemore passed away on January 4, 2020, he will forever be celebrated as a pioneer in the art and as one of the most important and influential paperweight renaissance artist.