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Clarence Day


Centurion, 1909–1935

Full Name Clarence Shepard Day

Born 18 November 1874 in New York (Manhattan), New York

Died 28 December 1935 in New York (Manhattan), New York

Buried Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, New York

Proposed by Seth Low and Robert W. de Forest

Elected 6 March 1909 at age thirty-four

Archivist’s Note: Brother of George Parmly Day

Century Memorial

Although not many of his fellow-Centurions have met Clarence Day at the Club-house since acute arthritis relegated him, more than a dozen years ago, to his bed with occasional excursions in a wheeled chair, most of them have read his books. Day’s books were of original quality; the best of them are not easy to classify. The most successful of them, “Life with Father,” was made up altogether of humorous childhood recollections of the elder Day, a Wall Street broker of impulsive but not unusual mannerisms. Possibly because the household reminiscences depicted precisely such a parent as many of Day’s contemporaries recalled from their own youthful experience, the book appealed to the reading public; 114,000 copies of this simple (and not at all eulogistic) narrative were sold. The readers’ demand for it was as surprising as was the fact that this good-natured description should have been written by a cripple in his bed.

Day’s humor, his gift of portraying the odd and often the absurd in life, was perhaps exhibited even more strongly in his other and shorter books, which achieved less circulation. Most of his four published books embody skits and recollections—sometimes in prose, sometimes in verse—which had previously found favor in the magazines and weeklies. But each of the book-form compilations has a flavor of its own; for Day had a talent also for partly comic but unusually imaginative pencil-drawings that both burlesqued and illuminated his text. They expressed his own spirit of exuberant humor, which the physical affliction of many years had never suppressed.

Alexander Dana Noyes
1936 Century Association Yearbook