century association biographical archive

Earliest Members of the Century Association

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John Durand

Author/Editor, The Crayon

Centurion, 1847–1908

Born 6 May 1822 in New York (Manhattan), New York

Died 17 October 1908 in Paris, France

Proposed by J. G. Chapman

Elected 7 July 1847 at age twenty-five

Archivist’s Note: Son of Asher B. Durand. In April 1882 he delivered an address in the clubhouse entitled “Prehistoric Notes of the Century Club” tracing its origins to the American Academy of Fine Arts, National Academy of Design, and Sketch Club. The remarks were published as a pamphlet and are available elsewhere on this website.

Century Memorial

John Durand, one of the earliest elected members of The Century, died at eighty-seven [sic: eighty-six] after sixty-two years [sic: sixty-one] of unbroken association with it, a record of membership not equalled even by that of President Huntington, one of the founders. The son of a distinguished pioneer in the field of American art, he had a mercantile training; but breathing at home the air of artistic striving, he became a proprietor and editor of the first important art journal published in New York, an enterprise too bold for the time but thoroughly meritorious in its conduct. A friend and companion of Mr. Bryant, he travelled extensively with him in Europe and the East, forming a wide acquaintance which later influenced the course of his literary life. He was the biographer of his father, Asher Durand, and in the magazines published valuable contributions to the history of American art. But he will be remembered best for his painstaking labors in the translation of Taine’s great historical writings. During the many years devoted to that work, he lived in Paris, engaged in historical studies and associating with the foremost men of the time; he was almost an inmate of the historian’s family and revised his pages in constant consultation with the author of the original. The many editions of what became a standard work in English testify to his conscientiousness and ability. He was often here, and in his later years his reminiscences of the older New York and the older Century were highly appreciated by those who heard them.

William Milligan Sloane
1909 Century Association Yearbook