century association biographical archive

Earliest Members of the Century Association

View all members

Douglas Volk


Centurion, 1913–1935

Full Name Stephen Arnold Douglas Volk

Born 23 February 1856 in Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Died 7 February 1935 in Fryeburg, Maine

Proposed by Francis C. Jones and William H. Lippincott

Elected 1 November 1913 at age fifty-seven

Century Memorial

From his father [Leonard Volk] Douglas Volk inherited his artistic instinct; his personal kindliness, his modesty, his entire lack of professional pride or arrogance, were quite his own. Probably most of the Centurions with whom he mingled did not know how high his artistic achievement stood. Volk’s paintings of our fellow-clubmen Felix Adler and Frank Babbott hang respectively in the Metropolitan Museum and the Brooklyn Museum. In the National Gallery at Washington are his General Pershing, his Lloyd-George, his Albert of Belgium, all of them painted from life during or soon after war-time. Perhaps he is best known to the general public for his five or six Lincoln portraits, of which the origin was somewhat unusual. Volk, who was only a lad at the time of Lincoln’s death, had naturally never drawn the Emancipator from life. But his sculptor father, who had been a friend of Lincoln and who by marriage was related to Lincoln’s political rival, Douglas, had made a life-mask of both public men, and from the Lincoln mask and contemporary paintings of the War President, Volk conceived his own picture. As to which of the two celebrated political antagonists was his father’s favorite in the Fifties, the only evidence is of an odd description. The Centurion who signed his name Douglas Volk, and was so known to his fellow-clubmen, had actually been christened Stephen A. Douglas Volk.

Alexander Dana Noyes
1936 Century Association Yearbook