The Century, 1847-1946

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Centennial Celebration

FOLLOWING a preview dress rehearsal the night before, attended by 243 Centurions, the Great Centennial Show of the Century burst upon West Forty-Third Street and outlying portions of the universe, and upon an audience of 690 Centurions, on Saturday, April 26, 1947, in such a magnificence of grandeur, glory and hilarity as to merit a place (according to super-enthusiasts) by the side of triumphal entries into Imperial Rome, Roman Saturnalia, the Field of the Cloth of Gold, the Arabian Nights, and all recorded festivities in connection with Emperors, Empresses, Kings and Queens (including Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, second biggest event of 1897, the year of the Century's fiftieth anniversary). That may not be history's estimate. But, as Napoleon wisely remarked, "History is lies agreed upon." The aforesaid superenthusiasts undoubtedly expressed the feelings of a big majority of the multitude which, on the Great Night, saw the Great Show, and remained to riot joyously in the Club-House, or in the tent adjoining it, or (rumor says) in some instances in the streets surrounding it, after the tumult and the shouting had died, and the cold, gray dawn of April 27 had begun to live. Of course, there were a few dissenters. There always are. But they didn't matter. Their slavish kowtowing to that notorious wet blanket, Fact, had no effect upon the Century. They were condemned to be locked in the dungeons, or (in particularly flagrant cases) chained for the duration to the water jug in the front hall. Sic semper killjoyibus!

As the hordes of ticket-holders surged across the Century's threshold on the Great Night, they were struck rigid with amazement. What had happened to the old place? What sea change had been suffered by coat room and office, telephone desk and card room, the Jacob's Ladder leading up to halls of culture (and to the bar) on the main floor and the facilis descensus to the Billiard Room? What was the meaning of that intruding long counter to the right, of its upstart brother to the left, of that brash, interloping doorway which, opening westward, disclosed to astonished

-282-

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The Century, 1847-1946
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword vii
  • Contents ix
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • The Century, 1847-1946 1
  • The Century, 1867-1886 25
  • The Century, 1907-1926 80
  • The Century, 1927-1946 102
  • The Century and American Art 154
  • Poets and the Century 184
  • Memoirs of Centurian Architects 205
  • The Century Library 226
  • The Committee on Admissions 232
  • Finances of the Century 238
  • Drink and Food 259
  • Billiards and Cowboy 273
  • The Year 1947 279
  • Centennial Celebration 282
  • Founders, Officers, Honorary Members 299
  • An Album of Centurions 303
  • Centurions: 1847-1946 363
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