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William P. Northrup


Centurion, 1891–1935

Full Name William Perry Northrup

Born 11 January 1851 in Peterboro, New York

Died 20 November 1935 in New York (Manhattan), New York

Buried Lenox Rural Cemetery, Lenox, New York

Proposed by William H. Draper and Edward H. Kendall

Elected 6 June 1891 at age forty

Seconder of:

Century Memorial

Probably William Perry Northrup will be best remembered in the Club as the fellow-Centurion who perpetuated in enduring photographic picture the old-time Club-house groups. The doctor never aspired to moving-picture reproduction. The accumulating portraits of that nature in the Century’s archives, in which Charles Collins or Major Putnam or Joseph H. Choate will still advance from the darkness of the framed canvas into the foreground of the picture, looking cheerfully and characteristically to right and left, were produced by other hands than his. But Northrup’s camera has portrayed a score of dining-table or library assemblages, made up of fellow-Centurions in wholly characteristic surroundings, who are nowadays only memories. Pictures of Henry Holt, Amos Fiske, John Mitchell of Life, Captain Metcalfe, Walter Hinchman and William Lippincott, seated at the third-floor dinner-table with more or less convivial fare before them, of Herman Kohlsaat and Melville Stone engaged in animated conversation in the library, of Elihu Root surrounded by the Board of Management of fifteen years ago, bring back the Century and the Club-house personnel of another generation as nothing else could do.

In the medical profession, Northrup made his mark. Long a notable specialist in children’s diseases, he had carried forward in advance of his profession the treatment of pneumonia. He was a pioneer in cold-air and cold-water treatment for infectious diseases, and originated the open-air ward on hospital roofs. But quite beyond all this, he was himself one of the best-known figures in the Club. To him the Century, its dinner-table company, the cheerful talk in which Northrup was modest listener rather than participant, meant as much as his own professional activities—perhaps more. His interested face was always in evidence at the Century’s monthly or annual meetings. If the doctor was rather apt, when discussion or paper was prolonged, to drop off into restful slumber, he always re-awaked at the proper moment and joined in the applause.

Alexander Dana Noyes
1936 Century Association Yearbook