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Earliest Members of the Century Association

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Cephas Brainerd


Centurion, 1891–1910

Born 9 September 1831 in Haddam, Connecticut

Died 16 December 1910 in New York (Manhattan), New York

Buried Thirty Mile Island Plantation Burial Yard, Haddam, Connecticut

Proposed by Joseph H. Choate, Charles E. Whitehead, and Richard Watson Gilder

Elected 7 February 1891 at age fifty-nine

Proposer of:

Century Memorial

Cephas Brainerd came to New York in 1849 and was admitted to the bar in 1855 in his twenty-fourth year. For fifty-five years he gave himself to law with unusual industry, perseverance, and success. For twenty-five years he was Chairman of the Committee of the Association of the Bar on the amendment of the law, having an extraordinary experience and breadth of training. His moral sense was his predominant characteristic, and he brought to the public questions of the day a strength of conviction that was well-nigh irresistible. He belonged to the type called “old fashioned,” uncommercial, sincere, firm in convictions, of unhesitating faith. Like many of his type he had also his share in the lighter side of life, enjoying comradeship and doing his part in social intercourse.

Beyond the limits of his profession he was especially interested in the work of the Young Men’s Christian Association. From the beginning of his career in New York he gave it his aid, for fifty years being a director. Early in his connection with the Association he saw new opportunities for wider usefulness and in 1867 he became the head of the International Committee,—thenceforth for twenty-five years giving it his careful daily attention and this notwithstanding the demands of his exacting life as a lawyer. In all this he was unobtrusive, preferring methods of work which did not bring him into the public eye. Notwithstanding his many other engagements, he still found time for active work as a member and in later years as Vice-President of the International Law Association.

George William Knox
1911 Century Association Yearbook