century association biographical archive

Earliest Members of the Century Association

View all members

Jesse Benedict Carter

Director, American Academy

Centurion, 1917–1917

Born 16 June 1872 in New York (Manhattan), New York

Died 22 July 1917 in Bologna, Italy

Buried Campo Cestio, Rome, Lazio, Italy

Proposed by William Rutherford Mead and William Milligan Sloane

Elected 3 February 1917 at age forty-four

Century Memorial

Jesse Benedict Carter was an able Latin scholar and archeologist, and a powerful lecturer. Graduating at Princeton in 1893, he pursued his classical studies in the universities of Berlin, Göttingen, and Halle. He returned to Princeton to become instructor, then assistant professor, and finally professor, of Latin, holding his professorship until 1907. He then went to Rome as director of the American School of Classical studies, and in 1913 was made director of the combined American Academy in Rome. Carter was a man of immense energy. Ceaselessly he crossed the seas in pursuit of funds for the Academy, and whether in Rome or America exerted himself to strengthen its organization. The large acquisitions of an indefatigable scholarship, unfailingly ready in his mind, united with a torrential flow of diction to make his public lectures upon Latin antiquities a notable feature of winters in Rome. His lecture room was filled with distinguished audiences, and the fame of the Academy was spread. Since the war he had been one of the organizers of the American Red Cross in Italy.

Carter was the author of a number of scholarly books: The Religion of Numa; The Religious Life of Ancient Rome, and others, and was a contributor to learned as well as popular periodicals. It is even rumored that he worked off his surplus energies anonymously in the composition of sensational novels. It will be long before the American Academy at Rome will see his like again.

Henry Osborn Taylor
1918 Century Association Yearbook