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Louis Ayres


Centurion, 1917–1947

Full Name Louis Derby Ayres

Born 25 August 1874 in Bayonne, New Jersey

Died 30 November 1947 in New York (Manhattan), New York

Buried Duck River Cemetery, Old Lyme, Connecticut

Proposed by Charles C. Nadal and Frank H. Holden

Elected 5 May 1917 at age forty-two

Century Memorial

Louis Ayres. [Born] 1874. Architect.

Louis Ayres used to sit, you will remember, under the portrait of President Madison in our Dining Room, almost every day at lunch time, looking startlingly like Durand’s portrait of the fourth President of the United States. Nor did the resemblance end there. For, as Madison was the author of the “Virginia Plan”—presented to the constitutional convention by others—which largely became the Constitution of the United States, so one has the feeling that the newspaper accounts are true that Louis was largely responsible for his firm’s winning nation-wide competitions for great buildings: the Federal Building at Honolulu, the Department of Commerce Building in Washington, the Federal Reserve Bank in New York, for example.

It is said of Madison that his influence largely shaped the form of the final draft of the Constitution, and just as that statement is no disparagement of Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, John Marshall, and Madison’s other great friends and partners, so also is it no disparagement of Louis Ayres’ friends and partners. Centurions all, to say that he too largely shaped whatever he touched.

Certainly, we who served with him on the Board of the Centurion-founded American Academy in Rome for twenty years would say that it was Louis Ayres’ final words—and they never were more than a very few—which settled every debate.

It was the clarity of his perceptions which led to his sureness of judgment. There never was a better man who said less.

Source: Henry Allen Moe Papers, Mss.B.M722. Reproduced by permission of American Philosophical Society Library & Museum, Philadelphia

Henry Allen Moe
Henry Allen Moe Papers, 1947 Memorials