century association biographical archive

Earliest Members of the Century Association

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Henry P. Tappan

Philosopher/University President

Centurion, 1847–unknown

Full Name Henry Philip Tappan

Born 18 April 1805 in Rhinebeck, New York

Died 15 November 1881 in Vevey, Switzerland

Buried Vevey, Switzerland

Proposed by N/A: Founder

Elected 13 January 1847 at age forty-one

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. The monument to him at Green-Wood Cemetery is a cenotaph.

Century Memorial

Tappan was born in 1805 and died in 1881. A graduate of Union College in Schenectady and the Auburn Theological Seminary, he also received an honorary degree from Columbia (1854). He was professor of moral and intellectual philosophy at what is now New York University (from which he was dismissed for criticizing an inefficient administration), and was the first president of the University of Michigan. He also founded an astronomical observatory in Detroit. He published numerous books, including A Review of Edward’s Inquiry into the Freedom of the Will (1839), Elements of Logic (1844) and A Treatise on University Education (1851).

William A. Frosch
“Our Original Amateurs, 2009”