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Samuel Dunham.

In memoriam. Sylvester Clark Dunham, 1846-1915 online

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HE BOARD OF DIRECTORS of

The Travelers Insurance Company
has the sorrowful duty of record-
ing the death of its beloved
President,



m

who died on the twenty-sixth day of October,
Nineteen hundred and Fifteen at the age of
sixty-nine years.

He entered the employ of the Company as
a special attorney November second. Eighteen
hundred and Eighty -five. He later became its
Counsel, and was elected a Director January
twenty-seventh. Eighteen hundred and Ninety-
seven. Vice-President January eleventh, Eighteen
hundred and Ninety-nine, and upon the death of
President James G. Batterson succeeded to his
office October fourteenth. Nineteen hundred
and One.

Mr. Dunham's success as shown in the
execution of the commissions with which he was
first entrusted brought to him the position of
Counsel. He was endowed by nature with
unusual perception in the analysis of facts, a



strong sense of justice and an uncommon force
of will. His promotion in the Company fol-
lowed through the competence, foresight and
skill which he displayed in each successive
office to which he was elected.

He brought to the office of President in
addition to his equipment and training as a
lawyer a comprehensive knowledge of the science
of insurance and a sturdy reliance upon his
own decisions. He was moderate in statement,
but he carried to execution unfalteringly his
judgments founded as they were both on a just
estimate of past experience and a clear vision
of the Company's possible future.

To his modest consciousness of mental
power were added a charm of personality and
a sympathetic disposition which endeared him
to his associates and imbued them with his
ideals.

If, however, we were called upon to name
the quality of his nature and training which
contributed beyond all else to his success as a
leader of the Company it was his intuition and
judgment in the selection of his executive asso-
ciates, his power to inspire them with his own
loyalty to the Company's history and enthuse
them through his own constructive imagina-



HR0:>ii<7A



tion for the Company's progress and develop-
ment. He never drove the Company's organ-
ization; he guided it. He was not averse to
accepting suggestions for the Company's ad-
vancement, wherever originating.

He never arrogated to himself undue credit.
He combined kindness of heart with strict
justice. He received loyal adherence from his
associates and subordinates in return for his
appreciation of their thoughts and efforts in
the Company's behalf.

As few men can ever hope to be Mr. Dun-
ham was loved, respected and admired. His
taking away means an irreparable loss to this
Company and must be a grief beyond words
to his family. But his life was full and rich
in achievement. He lived and died a good and
faithful servant, a noble leader and master, a
man without fear and without reproach.

In entering this expression of our sorrow
and sympathy upon the records of this Com-
pany we feel assured that the ideals of conduct,
personal and corporate, which Mr. Dunham
impressed on others will remain fundamental
principles in the guidance of the work to which
his life was devoted.




0iMpaii!g




E who would attempt an apprecia-
tion of the Hfe and work, the
character and achievements, of
Sylvester C. Dunham, would enter
upon a difficult task. He would
hardly know where to begin, or,
beginning, where to end. Ordinary words are
powerless to adequately express the grace and
charm of his forceful yet modest personality.

It was the writer's privilege to know him
from the time he first allied himself with The
Travelers, thirty years ago. In the varied
relations he held with that notable Company,
as Counsel, Director, Vice-President and Pres-
ident, he was always the same tireless, inde-
fatigable, intelligent, effective co-worker.

When his great associate and chief. Presi-
dent Patterson, passed away, after forty years
of distinguished service, no man was considered
as the one upon whom his mantle could fittingly
fall but Sylvester Dunham. And the career of
the Company under his leadership has well
attested the wisdom of its choice. During the
fourteen years of his presidency its accumula-
tions have risen from thirty -four to one hundred



millions of dollars, and its outstanding life in-
surance from one hundred fifteen to three hun-
dred eighty millions. Mr. Dunham would have
been the last man to claim these achievements
as his own. The Travelers has always had
strong men without and strong men within;
but the men closest to him in the stress and
strain of its upbuilding are most emphatic as
to the one mind that dominated, without
domineering, all. He sounded the key-note.
He was the pacemaker. He led the charge.
He was the Henry of Navarre on whose white
plume in the thick of the conflict all eyes cen-
tered and, following whom, all shared in the
common Victory.

His life, from the time of his admission to
the Bar, more than forty years ago, was one
of varied and important service, and a review
of the diverse phases of its activity is but the
measure and appraisal of its value. This is
not the place in which to schedule his business
achievements more than to say that they em-
braced participation in numerous important
financial and manufacturing interests in his
City, State and elsewhere, in all of which, as
Officer, Trustee or Director, the same qualities
of untiring industry, unswerving fidelity, high



intelligence and scrupulous integrity were alike
conspicuous. No man could bring to the dis-
charge of duty a more conscientious service.
He achieved success because he deserved it.

Beyond this, in the broad realm of public
service, apart from his devotion to The Trav-
elers and other business enterprises, he found
time to maintain active, vital relations with the
civic, philanthropic and educational movements
of the community honored by his citizenship.
Whatsoever things were honest, whatsoever
things were just, whatsoever things were of
good report found in him a ready and effective
advocate. By all these interests his departure
will be sadly deplored.

He will be missed, too, in the broad domain
of Life Insurance, outside the scope of his own
Company, for he was ever ready with voice and
pen, by counsel and example, by labor and
service, to elevate the standard and stimulate
to highest development the great beneficence to
which so much of his life was devoted.

Further, he will be greatly mourned by his
associates and comrades — all who fought under
The Travelers flag— both at the Home Office and
in the Field. To them, as one of their number



feelingly remarked, "he was always kind, court-
eous, gracious and helpful." He sought to
cultivate among them the true family feeling.
In spirit and purpose they have been a unit.
They will cherish the memory of his fine example,
his sound judgment and his rare companionship
as a priceless heritage. They regarded him
with a pride as strong as their affection was deep.

To the choice spirits of his household he
was a benediction. In his presence the Altar
of that Sanctuary was never without its burning
coal and its fragrant incense. It was a paradise
to him and to those who loved and leaned upon
him.

The unusual tributes accorded him by the
press of his City and State, united with others
from all quarters of the country — the numberless
messages of condolence from notable men, far
and near — the mass of floral tributes from every
State in the Union — all bear eloquent testimony
to the exalted respect in which he was held as
a man of high ideals; of a helpful, encouraging
spirit; of unblemished honor; of a useful, benefi-
cent life, always true to its convictions.

Thus has passed from us a man of noble
stature, against whose fair honor and good name
none can point the finger of reproach. He has



gone to his long home praised, honored and
beloved.

The close of such a life as this is a very
distinct loss to the public welfare, and it may
well incite those moved by his memory to those
high ideals of life and service which so conspicu-
ously animated him. T TJ W



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1857



1863
1865




PRIL 24th, bom at Mansfield,
Tolland County, Connecti-
cut, the son of Jonathan
Lyman Dunham and Abigail
Hunt (Eldredge) Dunham;
— a descendant of Elder
William Brewster of the Plymouth
colony and Stephen Hopkins, who was
a fellow Pilgrim with Brewster on the
Mayflower; also of John Eldred of
Suffolk, England, who was one of the
founders of Virginia in 1607.

Moved to Portage County, Ohio.
Studied in Ohio academies, and then
at Mount Union College in Alliance,
Ohio.

Began teaching school in Ohio.

Returned to New Britain, Connecticut,
and became editor of the New Britain
"Record," and his spare time was occu-
pied in the study of law in the ofiice
of the Hon. Charles E. Mitchell. Clerk
of the City and Police Court of New
Britain for three years.



1871 Admitted to the Hartford County Bar.

1873 Commenced the practice of law in Hart-
ford, Connecticut, in the office of the
Hon. Henry C. Robinson.

1877 October 18th, married Miss Mary Mercy
Austin, daughter of Dr. James M. Austin
of Bristol.

1882 Appointed City Attorney of Hartford.

1883 Became Secretary of the P. & F. Corbin
Company of New Britain.

1885 November 2d, accepted the position of
Special Attorney and later General Coun-
sel of The Travelers Insurance Com-
pany.

1897 January 27th, elected a member of the
Board of Directors of The Travelers
Insurance Company.

1899 January 11th, elected Vice-President.

1901 October 14th, elected President.

1910 Appointed member of the Hartford
Board of Finance.

1915 October 26th, died at his residence, 830
Prospect Avenue, Hartford, Connecticut.



Mr. Dunham was President of The Trav-
elers Indemnity Company and the Travelers
Bank and Trust Company, and Vice-President
of the National Exchange Bank. He was also
a Director of the Metropolitan Bank and the
American Surety Company of New York, the
United Gas and Electric Corporation, the Amer-
ican Hardware Corporation of New Britain,
the Glastonbury Knitting Company of Glaston-
bury, the Phoenix (Fire) Insurance Company,
the Hartford City Gas Light Company, Colt's
Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company,
the Underwood Typewriter Company, and the
First Reinsurance Company. He was a lead-
ing member of the Association of Life Insurance
Presidents and one time President of the
American Board of Casualty and Surety Under-
writers.

In recent years Mr. Dunham had been a
lecturer at Yale University.

He was a member and former Governor
of the Society of Mayflower Descendants in
the State of Connecticut, of the Sons of the
American Revolution, and the Order of Founders
and Patriots.



I



JUN 8 193?





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Online LibrarySamuel DunhamIn memoriam. Sylvester Clark Dunham, 1846-1915 → online text (page 1 of 1)