century association biographical archive

Earliest Members of the Century Association

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William Mahl

Comptroller, Union Pacific Railroad

Centurion, 1908–1918

Born 19 December 1843 in Karlsruhe, Germany

Died 13 May 1918 in Atlantic City, New Jersey

Buried Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, New York

Proposed by Thomas H. Hubbard and Charles H. Tweed

Elected 4 April 1908 at age sixty-four

Century Memorial

With William Mahl, who will be remembered by those who frequented the Club of an afternoon or a summer evening for his quiet and friendly interest in the conversation of other men, it was not a habit to talk shop. Perhaps his fellow-members would have got a larger grasp on some of the realities of the day if he had done so. For Mahl had passed through the grades of railway service in close and intimate association with such successive chiefs as Albert Fink, Thomas A. Scott, Collis P. Huntington, and Edward H. Harriman. It was difficult to realize that this gentle and rather shy participant in the exchange of afternoon gossip was a man whose hand had been on the finances of the companies when the rival Pacific Railways were struggling for control of California and when, two decades later, every resource of American credit was strained to get possession of the Northern Pacific. In his reviews of those situations, so the organ of the railway industry wrote in describing his career, “touch after touch would be given, until the facts which, under a man of less genius, would have been a compilation of figures and nothing more, stood out vividly as a physical picture of the company’s resources.”

Alexander Dana Noyes
1919 Century Association Yearbook