century association biographical archive

Earliest Members of the Century Association

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Henry W. Bellows


Centurion, 1847–1882

Full Name Henry Whitney Bellows

Born 11 June 1814 in Boston, Massachusetts

Died 30 January 1882 in New York (Manhattan), New York

Buried Walpole Village Cemetery, Walpole, New Hampshire

Proposed by N/A: Founder

Elected 13 January 1847 at age thirty-two

Archivist’s Note: Second vice president of the Century Association, 1879–1882. He ostensibly resigned sometime before 1851 and was reinstated in March 1858 with a new proposer, Abraham M. Cozzens. Father of Russell N. Bellows.

Century Memorials

Of these [deceased members], two, the Rev. Dr. Bellows and Edgar S. Van Winkle, were among the founders of the Club, leaving only four surviving that enjoy that distinction.

Augustus R. Macdonough
1883 Century Association Reports

Bellows was born in 1814 and died in 1882. A graduate of Harvard and the Harvard Divinity School, he was a founder not only of the Century but the Union League (he wrote a Historical Sketch of the Union League Club, 1879) and the Harvard Club. In 1839 he became the pastor of what is now All Souls Church. He was a well-respected pulpit orator and lyceum lecturer. His gave a lecture series on The Treatment of Social Diseases and another in defense of the drama, The Relation of Public Amusements to Public Morality, especially of the Theatre to the Highest Interests of Humanity, both published. Bellows, along with fellow Centurions George Templeton Strong and Frederick Law Olmsted, transformed the Women’s Central Association of Relief into the U.S. Sanitary Commission, which played a major role in coordinating relief efforts and supplying hospitals, nurses and ambulances during the Civil War. He also helped his friend Peter Cooper plan Cooper Union. Late in life he was a crusader for civil service reform.

Bellows also published a seven-part article, Seven Sittings with Powers, the Sculptor. It was published in 1869 in Appleton’s Journal of Popular Literature, Science, and Art.

The seven issues of the Journal also contain a short story by Victor Hugo, an article on the Educational Uses of the Central Park, a piece by Herbert Spencer on Spontaneous Generation, and an announcement of the 18th meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The Powers bust of Bellows is in the Century collection, on the third floor inside the door to the guest dining room.

William A. Frosch
“Our Original Amateurs, 2009”