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Walter B. James


Centurion, 1891–1927

Full Name Walter Belknap James

Born 11 May 1858 in Baltimore, Maryland

Died 6 April 1927 in New York (Manhattan), New York

Buried Memorial Cemetery of Saint John’s Church, Laurel Hollow, New York

Proposed by Henry Holt and William H. Draper

Elected 2 May 1891 at age thirty-two

Archivist’s Note: Brother of of Henry A. James

Century Memorial

The interests and activities of Walter Belknap James ranged far beyond the field of his profession; indeed, his larger achievement may be said to have begun with his retirement from active medical practice eighteen years ago. He was alumni trustee of Columbia University, a powerful influence in the State Hospital Commission for the insane, a close collaborator with Trudeau in the campaign against tuberculosis. In shaping the policies of the Academy of Medicine he was an active force, and his work as trustee of the Museum of Natural History, to which his research in biology and public health strongly inclined him, was of high service to that institution. It was Dr. James who carried into effect against political interference the program for a Medical Centre on Washington Heights, and he personally fought down the attempt of the Hylan administration to cut down Health Department appropriations in the City budget.

Along with this executive energy, Dr. James found time to gratify a multitude of other tastes. He loved art and music; at intervals in his library studies he was fond of applying himself to carpentry and machinery in an adjacent work-shop. But the special tribute of his friends was that the individuality of a patient interested him even more than the disease, and that he was more fond of meeting and knowing people even than of investigating vital problems.

Alexander Dana Noyes
1928 Century Association Yearbook