century association biographical archive

Earliest Members of the Century Association

View all members

James Herbert Morse


Centurion, 1877–1923

Born 8 October 1841 in Hubbardston, Massachusetts

Died 21 May 1923 in New York (Manhattan), New York

Buried Mosswood Cemetery, Cotuit, Massachusetts

Proposed by Joseph H. Choate, Calvert Vaux, and Bayard Taylor

Elected 3 February 1877 at age thirty-five

Archivist’s Note: Father of William Gibbons Morse. His diaries at the Mss Collection of the New-York Historical Society include extensive entries about life and events at the Century.

Century Memorial

The active life of James Herbert Morse was devoted to teaching, but his personal interests were absorbed in scholarship and in literature. A graduate of Harvard and a fine classical scholar, he was one of the best Greek scholars within reach of New York. Morse carried on for many years a training school in New York. He had keen personal sympathy with his pupils, and they came to regard him during their school days, and later, as a personal friend. He was keenly interested in citizens’ movements, although a certain sensitiveness of temperament prevented him from taking up any committee work.

Outside of school hours and entirely apart from that life, he had two absorbing interests; literary work and his friends. He published various articles, poems, essays, reviews, in the Anti-Slavery Standard, Independent, Christian Union, Critic, Commercial Advertiser, Harper’s Monthly, Scribner’s Monthly, and Century Magazine; including some hundreds of contributions, signed and unsigned, to the critical departments. In 1886, G. P. Putnam’s Sons published a volume of his earlier verse, entitled, “Summer Haven Songs.” His favorite literary workshop was at Cotuit, Mass.,—for upwards of forty years his Cape Cod summer home,—where he wrote in a hammock or a tent among the pines, facing the sea. A constant visitor at the Century Club, he rarely missed a meeting even in his later years.

Alexander Dana Noyes
1924 Century Association Yearbook