century association biographical archive

Earliest Members of the Century Association

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Frederick S. Cozzens

Writer/Wine Merchant

Centurion, 1849–1869

Full Name Frederick Swartwout Cozzens

Born 11 March 1818 in New York (Manhattan), New York

Died 23 December 1869 in New York (Brooklyn), New York

Proposed by Charles M. Leupp

Elected 3 February 1849 at age thirty

Archivist’s Note: Brother of Abraham M. Cozzens

Century Memorials

Frederic Cozzens had gained a place in that rare class, of American humorists whose spirit is more often earnest than grotesque, sounding the depths of humanity rather than playing with its accidents. With his keen perceptions, his control of language, and his grace of natural transition from wit to pathos, if the cares of a busy life had not forbidden its devotion to literature, he might have stood high even where Irving and Hawthorne stand highest. Even thus restrained, he discharged his full duty to the cause of letters, by his strenuous efforts in behalf of International Copyright. He aided greatly to form the peculiar character of the Century of which from the beginning until within a few years, he continued an active and important member; and he was rewarded, as he often said, by finding here the rest and refreshment sought in vain elsewhere. But we gained from him more than we gave—and no one who recalls the earlier days of our club life can withhold the expression of deep and sincere sorrow for his loss, as one of the gravest that the Century has ever sustained.

Augustus R. Macdonough
Annual Meeting Minutes, 8 January 1870

Abraham M. Cozzens’ brother, Frederick S., is cited in Who Was Who as a founding member of the Century. But our Red Book says that Frederick was a member from 1849 to 1869. He was a wine merchant. He published in Yankee Doodle magazine and in the Knickerbocker Magazine.

Under the pseudonym Richard Haywarde, he published a book of essays, Prismatics (1853), illustrated with wood engravings from designs by his friends Elliott, Darley, Kensett, Hicks, and Rossiter (all members of the Century). At least some of the essays had previously appeared in periodicals. Among the titles are: The Last Picture, The First Oyster-Eater, On the Habits of Scotchmen and Of Societies for Alleviating the Condition of the Rich.

The Sketch Club had hoped to, and probably did, produce a number of volumes written, illustrated and sponsored by the club. Prismatics may have been a derivative of that.

His other works include Acadia, or, a Month with the Blue Noses (1859) and The Sayings of Dr. Bushwacker and Other Learned Men (1867). He met Thackeray on his trip to the States and may have been responsible for the gift of the Thackeray table to the Century. In 1858, he was sent to the Copyright Congress in Brussels as a representative of the New York Publishers Association.

William A. Frosch
“Our Original Amateurs, 2009”