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Cortlandt Parker


Centurion, 1890–1907

Full Name John Cortlandt Parker

Born 27 June 1818 in Perth Amboy, New Jersey

Died 29 July 1907 in Newark, New Jersey

Buried Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Newark, New Jersey

Proposed by Augustus R. Macdonough, Stephen P. Nash, and Charles E. Whitehead

Elected 4 October 1890 at age seventy-two

Century Memorial

Cortlandt Parker was ninety [sic: eighty-nine] when he laid down his last brief as a successful barrister, dying literally in the practice of a profession which he kept influential and unsullied as far as his signal abilities could reach. A native of New Jersey and a graduate of Rutgers, he rejoiced in his birthright as imposing heavy duties on those who devoted themselves to the administration of justice. His eminence at the bar brought to him at frequent intervals temptations to high place in the public service, State and national. Though deeming public office a crown of glory for other kindred spirits, he resolutely refused to leave the career where, as he knew, he could best realize his capacity for work in theoretical and practical development of the common law, to the cherishing and expansion of which his State was committed by tradition and interest. He deviated from his path but once; to preside in Louisiana at the crisis of a controversy which menaced the very foundations of national life. He had been a member of The Century for seventeen years and coming to us in the later maturity of a busy life was not often in our gatherings. But he was in spirit one of the brotherhood, companionable, witty, and rich in both knowledge and experience. As his contributions to juristic learning stood solid on the basis of concrete cases, so his manner and his talk were those of one who was much among men, who knew them and their ways by the test of their behavior, and judged the world as it is, not as it desires to appear. Though neither caustic nor cynical, his poise, his words, and his action were realistic, human, delightful.

William Milligan Sloane
1908 Century Association Yearbook