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Courtlandt Palmer Dead 1888

  Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., July 23._Courtlandt Palmer died this afternoon at the Lake Dunmore House, Lake Dunmore, near Brandon, Vt., of peritonitis. The news was received here at 7:30 this evening in a dispatch from Mrs. Palmer to Mrs. A.P. Draper, her sister. The intelligence of Mr. Palmer's death caused a severe shock, for while it was generally known to his friends that he was not in the best of health, no one supposed that there was any probability that his demise was to be expected so suddenly. Mr. Palmer had been troubled with a kidney disease for several years, and two years ago he went to Europe, ostensibly for travel and recreation, but in reality to consult eminent specialists as to his malady. He returned from abroad last Fall seemingly in improved health. Three weeks ago Mr. Palmer, accompanied by his wife and children, started for Brandon, where they intended to spend the entire Summer.

Letters from both Mr. and Mrs. Palmer since then have indicated that Mr. Palmer was improving in health, and in several of his communications he spoke hopefully of the work to be accomplished by the Nineteenth Century Club during the coming Winter. Following upon these hopeful messages the announcement of his death fell very heavily upon his friends. A later telegram from Mrs. Palmer states that the body will be forwarded by the first train to New York City. It will be taken at once to Mr. Palmer's house, 117 East Twenty-first street, where it will arrive at about 7 o'clock tomorrow evening. Mr. Palmer leaves two sons and two daughters.

Mr. Palmer inherited one-fourth of his father's estate, which was valued at over $4,000,000, and which is still undivided. He had, in addition, a private fortune of about $250,000.

The funeral arrangements will not, of course, be made until after the arrival of the family in the city with the body.

Courtlandt Palmer, the bearer of a name honored in this neighborhood since the early colonial days, the possessor of a splendid fortune, a typical wealthy New Yorker with an abundance of leisure, will be remembered chiefly as the founder of that curious and interesting society known as the Nineteenth Century Club, a debating society devoted to the discussion of social, literary, artistic, theological, and scientific problems in the spirit of the broadest liberality, which has been held together for more than five years by the force of his energy and enthusiasm. Mr. Palmer has always been the President of this organization. Its first meeting was held at his residence, in Gramercy Park, in January, 1883, and for some time afterward the membership of the club was small enough to enable the President to offer to it the hospitality of his home. But the membership increased, and it became the fashion in polite society to attend the club meetings. The rooms of the American Art Association, on Madison-square, were secured and half a dozen meetings were held every Winter. Last season the club changed its meeting place to the handsome assembly rooms of the Metropolitan Opera House.

At all the gatherings the brilliantly lighted rooms were crowded with men and women in fashionable attire. On the platform the discussions involved every presentable topic. Society was readjusted, difficult theological problems were solved more or less to the satisfaction of the stray theologians present, the weightiest questions of modern science were heroically grappled with, the rules of art criticism were reformulated, and the needs of authors (and of readers as well) were set forth with candor and fairness. Over all these debates Mr. Palmer presided alertly and impartially. There is no question that the Nineteenth Century Club has done good work. Of any social movement that encourages people to think for themselves that may be said. A number of learned and able men have taken part in the discussions, and they have spoken their views freely. Mr. Palmer's enthusiastic devotion to his society never relaxed. He was as vigilant in securing speakers and selecting topics for them to speak upon as a theatrical impresario on the watch for new p lays and new actors. His own opinions on all subjects were extremely liberal. In spite of his wealth he was a radical. By profession he was a lawyer, and he was born in this city 45 years ago, the son of Courtlandt Palmer, who left to his heirs a large amount of real estate on New York Island.


Website: The History
Article Name: Courtlandt Palmer Dead 1888
Researcher/Transcriber: Miriam Medina


New York Times July 24, 1888 p.5 (1 page)
Time & Date Stamp:  


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