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Henry W. Kent

Librarian, Grolier Club

Centurion, 1904–1948

Full Name Henry Watson Kent

Born 8 September 1866 in Boston, Massachusetts

Died 28 August 1948 in Petersham, Massachusetts

Buried Evergreen Cemetery, Keeseville, New York

Proposed by Edmund C. Stedman and Edward Harland

Elected 4 June 1904 at age thirty-seven

Proposer of:

Century Memorial

Harry Watson Kent. [Born] 1866. Museum officer.

He was a bachelor and bachelors who live to be 82 years old [sic: 81] apparently have a lot of time to get things done. Harry Kent got a lot done—as Assistant Secretary and Secretary of the Metropolitan Museum of Art for thirty-five years, and before that in the Boston Public Library, the Slater Museum and the Peck Library of the Norwich Free Academy, and as the Librarian of the Grolier Club.

His interest in books led him to help in the building up of the Metropolitan Museum’s superb library. His interest in exactitude of method led to the well-drilled organization of all the departments of that museum which were under his oversight. His interest in the interpretation of museum collections to the public and to industry, first exercised at Norwich, led to his pioneering in the same kind of education in New York. His interest in Americana led to the American Wing of the Metropolitan. His interest in the technique of museum display and organization led to his assisting in the founding of the national body of the profession, the American Association of Museums.

It is a sign one has built well when the institutions one has helped to found or to build continue long to survive and to grow as Harry Kent’s do. The Slater Memorial Museum continues his exhibitions of contemporary textiles by leading designers and manufacturers. The American Association of Museums, with an institutional membership now in the hundreds, individuals in the thousands, has held its forty-second annual meeting. The Walpole Society, at once convivial and serious, continues to flourish as the inner circle of collectors and connoisseurs of early American art. The Grolier Club stoutly maintains its position and its ancient ideals.

Behind his cool reserve, Kent always had a heart, warm with friendships wide and deep. His generosity and help, especially to young men in their careers, could never be forgotten by any of them.

He loved the Century for forty-four years, distinguished in knowledge and wisdom, discriminating in taste.

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, 1948 Memorials