century association biographical archive

Earliest Members of the Century Association

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W. C. Schermerhorn


Centurion, 1874–1903

Full Name William Colford Schermerhorn

Born 22 June 1821 in New York (Manhattan), New York

Died 1 January 1903 in New York (Manhattan), New York

Buried Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York

Proposed by George Templeton Strong and William W. Parkin

Elected 7 November 1874 at age fifty-three

Archivist’s Note: Uncle of F. Augustus Schermerhorn

Century Memorial

The last name on this long and depressing roll is that of William Colford Schermerhorn, for thirty years of his long life a member of The Century. By character as by descent he was a representative of the fine ancient stock for which, lacking a better name, we have adopted that given in jest by Irving, the “Knickerbockers.” That is to say, he had in him the blended blood of Holland and England, and in the tranquil passage of his leisurely days he manifested their tendencies and tastes. Blessed with abundant means, the honored and beloved head of a closely united family, the centre of a refined social circle, his chief outside activity was with education, letters, and art. For more than forty years a trustee of Columbia College, he became ultimately the Chairman of the Board of the University, and added to his valuable service generous gifts. He was an active member of Grace Church, and at the time of his death Senior Warden. It is significant of his steadfast character that during his more than fourscore years he changed his residence but once—from the old family mansion in Lafayette Place, in 1860, to the spacious dwelling in Twenty-third Street, where he died.

Edward Cary
1903 Century Association Yearbook