century association biographical archive

Earliest Members of the Century Association

View all members

William E. Dodge

Mining/Philanthropist/U.S. Congressman

Centurion, 1857–1903

Full Name William Earl Dodge Jr.

Born 15 February 1832 in Hartford, Connecticut

Died 9 August 1903 in New York (Manhattan), New York

Buried Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, New York

Proposed by Theodore B. Bronson

Elected 29 April 1857 at age twenty-five

Archivist’s Note: Father of Cleveland H. Dodge

Century Memorial

There was in the character and career of Wm. E. Dodge a striking combination of qualities. As a man of affairs his abilities and the scope of their exercise were remarkable. Inheriting a considerable fortune and a prosperous business, he added very largely to the variety and range of the latter and to the amount of the former. In copper, brass, steel, in railways, in realty, and in related industries his interests were large and his influence extensive and commanding, so that his purely business activities might be supposed sufficient to absorb his time and strength. In comparison with his public activities they appeared rather as incidental. The promotion of public welfare through intelligent organization might well be held to be his real occupation. On the side of the Church his labors for the Evangelical Alliance, of which he was the President, and the Sunday-School Union, of which he was Vice-President, were constant, while his devotion to the practical social as well as religious work of that marvellous organization, the Young Men’s Christian Association, was such as to make it, in a sense, distinctively his own work. Outside of these beneficent enterprises he gave much time and valuable personal service to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Academy of Sciences, the Botanical Garden, and kindred institutions. In early manhood he was very active in the Union League Club and contributed so efficiently to the various organizations directed to the care and relief of the soldiers of the Union in the field and to the comfort of their families at home that at the close of the war the Legislature of New York voted a resolution of special recognition of his extraordinary services. A characteristic trait of his modest and sterling nature was shown at the time of the draft riots in this city, when he drove an unguarded truck-load of ammunition from the Navy Yard—whence no escort could be spared—and distributed it to the militia regiments which were destitute of it, thus making possible the suppression of the riots[.] Mr. Dodge had a broad knowledge of the essential principles of business and finance. It was largely through his inspiration and under his guidance that the fertile work of the Monetary Conference of 1896 was carried on and the whole country owes him a substantial debt of gratitude for his wise and faithful aid in what was one of the severest trials to which our national life and our national character have been subjected. In this his gift for reaching the minds of men and his firm grasp of the fundamental facts of a most difficult problem were invaluable. In personal intercourse Mr. Dodge’s unusual force of intellect and will was veiled by the uniform gentleness and considerateness of his manner, a manner finely expressing the candor and justness of his temperament rather than his extraordinary intelligence and the strength of his deliberate convictions.

Edward Cary
1904 Century Association Yearbook