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Earliest Members of the Century Association

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Francis W. Halsey


Centurion, 1902–1919

Full Name Francis Whiting Halsey

Born 15 October 1851 in Unadilla, New York

Died 24 November 1919 in New York (Manhattan), New York

Buried Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, New York

Proposed by Hamilton W. Mabie and Edward Cary

Elected 1 November 1902 at age fifty-one

Seconder of:

Century Memorial

In our group of men of art and letters, the hand of death has touched lightly as to numbers, but heavily when measured by achievement. Not many faces were more familiar, to members who dropped in at the Century of an afternoon or evening, than that of Francis Whiting Halsey. His conversation—he seemed to know and talk with every one in the Club—covered a wide range. Politics, history, occasionally even finance, would figure in his quiet and thoughtful exchange of views; but it was literature, past or present, that most of all awakened the train of information and reminiscence which he had at command. Although in a modest way he was himself an author, half a dozen books bearing his name on the title-page, the work of literary editorship really absorbed his life interest. Beginning with book reviews and literary correspondence for two great newspapers successively, Halsey took charge of the New York Times’ weekly Book Review on its foundation, then became literary adviser for one of the large New York publishing houses, and went from there to the editorial staff of the Literary Digest.

In all these responsibilities Halsey displayed the qualities of sound literary judgment, quick recognition of literary merit in writers previously unknown, and great contempt of meretricious work which asked for recognition because it might be a “best seller.” He accomplished much more than even those who knew and liked him were aware, towards keeping up the standard of good literature. In the Century, Halsey did loyal service during many years; he was one of the members with whom the Club stood next to his profession in its claim on his time, his interest and his energies.

Alexander Dana Noyes
1920 Century Association Yearbook