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John Palmer Gavit


Centurion, 1920–1954

Born 1 July 1868 in Albany, New York

Died 27 October 1954 in Winter Park, Florida

Buried Brookside Cemetery, Englewood, New Jersey

Proposed by Edwin Lefevre and Ellwood Hendrick

Elected 5 June 1920 at age fifty-one

Archivist’s Note: Grandson of John E. Gavit; brother-in-law of Thomas W. Lamont; uncle of Austin Lamont and Thomas S. Lamont

Proposer of:

Seconder of:

Century Memorial

John Palmer Gavit was an old-time journalist; but when he was young he studied at the Hartford and the Chicago Theological Seminaries, and this seems to have given his interests a sociological twist. He worked on the Albany Evening Journal and on The Hartford Courant, and then he was in Washington for a time.

In 1913 he became managing editor of The New York Evening Post, which was owned by Oswald Villard. This was an astonishing example of anarchy in operation. The other editors included Rollo Ogden, Alexander Dana Noyes, and H. I. Brock. None of the editors took any suggestions either from each other nor from Mr. Villard, and Gavit’s life was neither simple nor easy. He was a tough-minded man, however, and survived nearly ten years of it.

Gavit wrote books on education and on international affairs. He had lively ideas in these fields, and, although he was not learned, he was stimulating and well informed. Dartmouth gave him an honorary L.H.D. in 1935. He was a trustee of Rollins College and went to live at Winter Park when he retired many years ago.

It was to have been expected that he would belong to the Gridiron Club, and the National Press, and various organizations of that kind—which he did—but it is curious that he was a trustee of the American Society for Psychical Research, for the interests and members of this Society are about as far removed from the turmoil of the newspaper business as a Trappist community.

Personality is mysterious and its elements imponderable. When the morning stars sing together, we shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree.

George W. Martin
1955 Century Association Yearbook