century association biographical archive

Earliest Members of the Century Association

View all members

William R. Richards


Centurion, 1903–1910

Full Name William Rogers Richards

Born 20 December 1853 in Boston, Massachusetts

Died 7 January 1910 in New York (Manhattan), New York

Buried Mountain Grove Cemetery and Mausoleum, Bridgeport, Connecticut

Proposed by Henry van Dyke and John E. Parsons

Elected 2 May 1903 at age forty-nine

Archivist’s Note: Brother of George Richards

Proposer of:

Century Memorial

William Rogers Richards was born in Boston, educated at Yale and Andover, was a clergyman first in Maine, then in New Jersey and finally in New York, where he fell like a soldier suddenly stricken on the field of battle. For no man was more thoroughly enlisted for his warfare than he was, and no man threw himself more entirely into the conflict, and no man, conscious of the right, was less indifferent to the consequences. Throughout his ministry he was a keen combatant in the pulpit, a scholar thoroughly versed in the polemics, social and theological, of his age, and a just man, ever ready to hear, and fearless to present the other side to prejudiced audiences. Men heard him gladly, however poignant their disagreement, because of his blameless life, his fine character, and especially of the work he was doing so untiringly for the regeneration of man on earth as well as beyond. In the faith committed to him by his Puritan fathers he never wavered, but he was ever ready to modify and adapt it to new conditions. So he walked serene and confident amid the strife and babble of tongues, managing a great institutional church, a councillor in the affairs of the New York University and of Yale, carrying welcome messages to many colleges, a profound student of education in its bearing on character, a man of God in the world but not of it. For six years he had enjoyed, thoroughly enjoyed and cultivated, this fellowship, being regular in attendance here and keen in his appreciation of his Century friendships. He was but fifty-seven [sic: fifty-six] when he fell exhausted, suddenly and without warning, a sacrifice on the altar of the high duty he struggled so manfully and so successfully to perform.

William Milligan Sloane
1910 Century Association Yearbook