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Earliest Members of the Century Association

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Edwin V. Morgan

U.S. Minister to Cuba

Centurion, 1909–1934

Full Name Edwin Vernon Morgan

Born 22 February 1865 in Aurora, New York

Died 16 April 1934 in Petropólis, Brazil

Buried Cemitério Municipal de Petrópolis, Petrópolis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Proposed by Joseph H. Choate and William Adams Delano

Elected 1 May 1909 at age forty-four

Century Memorial

In spite of the traditional contempt of a plain American—the Westerner especially—for high diplomacy, our diplomatic service has always, so far at least as concerns United States ambassadors and ministers at important foreign posts, made a distinguished showing. Probably this was because direct representation of the United States at European capitals by men of dignity and culture gratified national pride. But that did not prevent, during many years, the entrusting of consular posts to party hacks, whose own curiosity or their wife’s insistence made them wish to visit foreign lands at the public expense. Their inexperience and ignorance often made our minor envoys the laughing-stock of foreign communities to which they were commissioned.

During the past quarter-century a very salutary reform has been achieved. The foreign service has become a career, of which the new American conception has been pleasingly illustrated in the story of Edwin Vernon Morgan. The service of Morgan at foreign posts covered thirty-three consecutive years; his continuous term of twenty years at the head of the Embassy to Brazil surpassed all similar records in our diplomatic history. Beginning, very appropriately, with study and teaching of history, he was appointed Secretary to the Samoan commission; Secretary of legation, first at Corea [Korea], then at St. Petersburg, then at Manchuria; thereafter minister successively to Cuba, Portugal and Brazil. With this series of responsibilities it may readily be imagined that, in promoting his country’s legitimate interests and in winning for the United States the regard of the people to whom he was commissioned, his experience and judgment were to our government of the highest value. Brazil in particular publicly emphasized his “thorough and sympathetic knowledge of the whole country,” and held him in the highest individual respect.

Alexander Dana Noyes
1935 Century Association Yearbook