century association biographical archive

Earliest Members of the Century Association

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Harry Harkness Flagler

President, New York Symphony Society

Centurion, 1917–1952

Born 2 December 1870 in Cleveland, Ohio

Died 30 June 1952 in Millbrook, New York

Buried Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, New York

Proposed by Edwin T. Rice and Henry W. Kent

Elected 1 December 1917 at age forty-six

Century Memorial

Flagler graduated from Columbia in 1897. His father was exceedingly involved with the Standard Oil Company, rail roads, and the hotel projects which are familiar in Florida, but Harry was not in the least interested in these matters.

His temperament was artistic, and as early as 1903 he became Secretary of the Permanent Fund Orchestra, which later led to the development of the Philharmonic Society. He reorganized the Symphony Society of New York in 1914 and supported it generously through its early years. In 1928, when it was merged with the Philharmonic he became President of the Philharmonic-Symphony, a position which he held till 1934. If it had not been for his help, the Orchestra would not have survived the financial depression of those times.

For twenty-two years he was President of the Trustees of Millbrook School, and his loyalty, generosity, and wise counsel never flagged. In an age when deportment is becoming less and less formal he may have appeared somewhat reserved in social relationships, but he was wonderfully friendly, and his old-world etiquette was a foil for a delightful sense of humor.

He lived at Millbrook, which he loved, and there he was a link with the outside world.

George W. Martin
1953 Century Association Yearbook