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.