century association biographical archive

Earliest Members of the Century Association

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William Carlton

Centurion, 1859–unknown

Born unknown in Unknown

Died unknown in Unknown

Proposed by J. Howard Wainwright

Elected 5 November 1859 at age unknown

Archivist’s Note: There is a possibility that he did not join the club despite documentation of his election, as his name does not appear in any subsequent printed rosters of membership. He may have chosen not to “qualify” for membership (i.e., pay initiation fees). The Century Association has traditionally recognized such cases as former members, however, as rosters were not published annually and it is possible he joined between printings. If he did join, he would be one of only three members whose identity has not been firmly established because of the paucity of data in the club archives (cf. Francis Bacon and Henry Lawrence). The most likely identification is the painter William Tolman Carlton (1816–1888), who was active primarily in the Boston area but had exhibited works in New York and painted portraits in Albany several years before the election of the Century member William Carlton. Another plausible candidate is the Dublin-born actor and playwright William Carlton (or Carleton; c. 1827–1885), although he may have arrived in New York after the Century member’s election. Either hypothesis might be proven if a connection can be established between the painter or actor and the Centurion’s proposer, J. Howard Wainwright. A photograph captioned “William Carlton” in the Frederick Hill Meserve Collection is of the poet William McKendree Carleton, born in 1845, who would have been too young to be elected in 1859 and thus is not reproduced here.