century association biographical archive

Earliest Members of the Century Association

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Charles Stewart Smith

Merchant (Dry Goods)/Collector

Centurion, 1866–1909

Born 2 March 1832 in Exeter, New Hampshire

Died 30 November 1909 in New York (Manhattan), New York

Buried Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, New York

Proposed by Joseph H. Choate and Sanford R. Gifford

Elected 2 June 1866 at age thirty-four

Archivist’s Note: Father of Howard Caswell Smith

Supporter of:

Century Memorial

Charles Stewart Smith was a Centurion of long standing, having been for forty-three of his seventy-seven years a member of the association. Of old and famous New England ancestry he brought to New York the capital of integrity and ability, and with it rose to eminence as a merchant. To the affairs of his adopted city he gave untiring, unselfish attention, leading successful campaigns for civic righteousness. Our underground transit we owe in large measure to his efforts. Five financial corporations, two great charities and our two foremost art institutions had the benefit of his interest and active participation. He was for a time president of the Chamber of Commerce, was a member of five social and two patriotic organizations. His avocation was art and letters; a notable collection of oriental porcelains he gave to the Metropolitan, and his home was full of important paintings by native and foreign artists. For the betterment of social conditions in every quarter of the city he was active and very liberal. He was one of the great merchants of a time when New York’s commercial greatness was in the building, when the metropolis was in the making, and when sturdy, honest, capable men put their shoulders to the wheels of progress, when each felt the others’ interest to be his own and the welfare of the whole community a charge for which he was responsible. He was constant in his attendance at our meetings and found hearty greetings on every hand.

William Milligan Sloane
1910 Century Association Yearbook