century association biographical archive

Earliest Members of the Century Association

View all members

Orville Dewey


Centurion, 1847–unknown

Born 28 March 1794 in Sheffield, Massachusetts

Died 21 March 1882 in Sheffield, Massachusetts

Buried Center Cemetery, Sheffield, Massachusetts

Proposed by N/A: Founder

Elected 1 May 1847 at age fifty-three

Archivist’s Note: There is a possibility that he did not join the club despite documentation of his election, as his name does not appear in any subsequent printed rosters of membership. He may have chosen not to “qualify” for membership (i.e., pay initiation fees). The Century Association has traditionally recognized such cases as former members, however, as rosters were not published annually and it is possible he joined between printings.

Century Memorial

Dewey was born in 1794 and died in 1882. A graduate of Williams and of the Andover Theological Seminary, he received an honorary doctorate from Columbia. A forceful preacher, Dewey played a major role in the growth of the Unitarian Church in New York and was close to Bellows. He served as president of the American Unitarian Association and was a founder of the New York Employment Society. He was a member of the Sketch Club and wrote for local magazines; among his articles was “Powers’ Statues,” published in The American Magazine of Literature and Art in 1847. He also wrote many books, including: Discourses on Various Subjects (1835) and The Old World and the New (1836). The Works of Orville Dewey (1844) was published in three volumes. His daughter edited a volume of his Autobiography and Letters in 1883.

William A. Frosch
“Our Original Amateurs, 2009”