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Robert S. Brewster

Public Work

Centurion, 1919–1939

Full Name Robert Stanton Brewster

Born 27 September 1875 in Cazenovia, New York

Died 24 December 1939 in New York (Manhattan), New York

Buried Kensico Cemetery, Valhalla, New York

Proposed by Edward S. Martin and Grosvenor Atterbury

Elected 3 May 1919 at age forty-three

Century Memorial

A man of inherited means, driven by no money-making occupation, Robert Stanton Brewster made much of his leisure. He was an exceedingly useful member of his community. The one glimpse the public had of him was through his interest in the Metropolitan Opera House. For the past five years he served as president of the company which owns the site and building and was active in all the recent efforts to maintain and broaden opera at the Metropolitan. Mayor La Guardia’s plan for a municipal music center appealed to him, and he gave much time and effort to this endeavor. Not less important was his long service to the New York Orthopedic Dispensary and Hospital in East Fifty-Ninth Street. For twenty years he was its president. He served also on the Board of Brearley School. To every undertaking he brought fidelity, understanding and common sense. Aside from these solid public services it might be said that his chief talent was for friendship. He was more of a family man than a club man and the Century knew him only at lunch-time. Moreover, despite an innate modesty, he possessed a reserve that restrained familiarity. Nevertheless, he had friends as devoted as anyone who ever lived. Whether in his box at the opera—it was Number 4, the second on the right from the stage—or in the North Woods, he was a companion that the wise and the witty were glad to be with and a friend beyond compare. These words of a fellow Centurion may explain why: “He never did a mean or cheap thing. He was tolerant and restrained under provocation. His favorite remark was, ‘The advantages of obscurity are not half appreciated.’ He was not a great man; but he did what was right as he saw it more nearly than most. He was unafraid in a terrifying time, uncomplaining in the face of great changes, and wholly loyal to his country and his kind.”

Geoffrey Parsons
1939 Century Memorials