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Edwin Lefevre


Centurion, 1905–1943

Born 23 January 1871 in Colón, Panama (then Colombia)

Died 22 February 1943 in New York (Manhattan), New York

Buried Dorset, Vermont

Proposed by Edmund C. Stedman and William T. Smedley

Elected 4 February 1905 at age thirty-four

Century Memorial

There was a mingling of French, American and Latin-American blood in Edwin Lefevre and the result was a masterpiece of friendliness, wit and sensitivity to beauty. His career reflected the varied elements of his nature and so did the contradictions of his manner, by turns abrupt, extravagant, impudent and deeply affectionate. His father stemmed from French Huguenots who settled first in the Isle of Jersey and then in England. His mother was a citizen of Colombia and Lefevre was born in Colon, now a city of Panama. Through his mother, he was related alike to titled families of Spain and to the leading figures in the history of Colombia and Panama.

Coming to this country for an education, Lefevre speedily found his life work, writing. He was in turn newspaper reporter, columnist, short story writer, financial editor and the author of a number of books, composed of articles in newspapers and magazines. Fiction was his first love as a writer and when he took a job with the Commercial Advertiser in this city, it was chiefly because he thought Wall Street offered a virgin field for fiction. He mastered the intricacies of the stock market but it was always the human side of the great boom years that fascinated him. By 1901 he was writing “Wall Street Stories” for McClure’s and was an author with an established reputation. His articles appeared in a long list of magazines; but in later years he wrote exclusively for the Saturday Evening Post. It was from these articles, about real characters in the Wall Street scene or typical figures fictionalized and serialized, that his highly successful books were assembled. The first was “Wall Street Stories,” the last “The Making of a Stock Broker.”

His zest for life was immense. He travelled far, knew well the great figures of his time and relished alike good food, good wine and good friends. Old glass became his hobby along with his exquisite marble home in Dorset, Vermont, where his collection was housed. “You will hear that most of my bottles are empty but I feel perfectly safe in telling you that I also have a cellar,” he wrote to a college friend.

He kept in touch with the country of his birth. In 1910 he was sent by the President of Panama as a special envoy to Spain and to Italy to establish diplomatic posts in the two countries. He conducted his missions with complete success and to his great enjoyment. He always wore an emerald ring given him by King Alfonso.

To an outsider Edwin Lefevre must have seemed an enfant terrible. His manner could be cocky, his remarks cutting because so discerning. But to those who knew him he was the friendliest of people. He was impatient with the heavy-minded because he was, himself, so quick, so intuitively right and so deeply sincere. His appreciation of art in any form was instantaneous, emotional and understanding. No one saw the intent more clearly in picture or sculpture, or was more sure in his judgment about its degree of fulfillment. He cared greatly for the things of the spirit. His was a special niche in the Century which no one else can fill.

Geoffrey Parsons
1943 Century Memorials