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Theodore Sedgwick


Centurion, 1913–1951

Born 2 August 1863 in Stockbridge, Massachusetts

Died 22 May 1951 in Sharon, Connecticut

Buried Stockbridge Cemetery, Stockbridge, Massachusetts

Proposed by Joseph H. Choate and Edward C. Henderson

Elected 7 June 1913 at age forty-nine

Archivist’s Note: Son of Henry D. Sedgwick; brother of Alexander Sedgwick, Ellery Sedgwick, and Henry Dwight Sedgwick Jr.; uncle of Francis Minturn Sedgwick; second cousin of Arthur G. Sedgwick and Robert Sedgwick; great-uncle of Alexander Sedgwick

Century Memorial

Born into a family of old Unitarian tradition, Theodore Sedgwick, just out of Harvard College, embraced with eagerness the more militant faith of the Episcopal Church. From that moment, and even before, he saw with absolute clarity what his life’s work should be. To give time for reflection, his father urged him to work for a year in civil life. He chose railroading, where his natural administrative gifts promised him early promotion. But his compass was fixed, and throughout his life, the needle never trembled from certainty. After three years in the Berkeley Seminary at Middletown, Connecticut, he was attracted by the fighting spirit of St. George’s Church, which, under the masculine leadership of Dr. W. S. Rainsford, was waging unremittent war on the slums of New York. He had come to know the poor at first hand, and in dealing with boys and young men proved he had a way with him that won their life-long devotion. This was the bent he followed when he chose Williamstown, Massachusetts, as his first independent parish. Here he built his first church, and made among young men friendships which never loosened.

Called to larger things, he built the church of St. John the Evangelist at St. Paul, and made it the centre of a large and devoted congregation. There, too, he married the complete partner of his ministry, Miss May Aspinwall Bend.

The last parish at his prime was Calvary Church. Here for thirteen years he worked early and late accomplishing a peculiarly difficult task. Lower New York was transposing its church and it was long a question whether the Church at 22nd Street could hold its congregation then streaming northward. Dr. Sedgwick not only held it, but increased its members and immensely enjoyed its activities. It was not until retirement was approaching in 1924 that he took on the less exhausting burden of St. Andrew’s Church, Yonkers.

One delightful duty was still in store for him. He was recalled from his retirement by the American Church in Rome. He loved the life, and the foreign colony gathered close about him.

During his last years he was called upon to suffer greatly, but to the end his spirit was strong.

Dr. Sedgwick was a Centurion born and made. His father [Henry D. Sedgwick] and his three brothers [Alexander Sedgwick, Ellery Sedgwick, and Henry Dwight Sedgwick, Jr.] all belonged to the Club and he never ceased to enjoy it.

His was a fortunate life: for, literally, thousands of other lives were changed because of his.

George W. Martin
1951/1952 Century Association Yearbook