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Austen Fox Riggs


Centurion, 1909–1940

Born 12 December 1876 in Kassel, Hessen, Germany

Died 5 March 1940 in Stockbridge, Massachusetts

Buried Stockbridge Cemetery, Stockbridge, Massachusetts

Proposed by Walter B. James and Harald de Raasloff

Elected 5 June 1909 at age thirty-two

Archivist’s Note: Brother of Francis Behn Riggs; son-in-law of Charles McBurney

Century Memorial

If large eye sockets are a mark of leadership, Dr. Austen Fox Riggs was obviously a leader. Tall, lean and almost as resilient as when he cavorted in undergraduate theatricals at Harvard, he dominated without domineering the Austen Riggs Foundation he set up in 1907 at Stockbridge where psychoneurotic patients with or without means are treated. He aimed, successfully, to make the Foundation more than a one-man show. In the first World War he recruited and led American Red Cross Ambulance Company No. 13. He was an incorporator of the Taconic Day School for Boys and Girls at Great Barrington. He wrote three books, “Just Nerves,” “Intelligent Living,” and “Play.”

After his professional studies at the College of Physicians and Surgeons and at Johns Hopkins, he was house surgeon for three years at the Presbyterian Hospital. While building up a large personal practice, he served as a consultant at Vassar and Williams, and lectured at Columbia and Vassar.

He married the daughter of the late Dr. Charles McBurney, Centurion. Their son, Benjamin Clapp Riggs, is an intern at Bellevue.

Geoffrey Parsons
1940 Century Memorials