The Century Association was a gentleman’s club formed to promote the fine arts and literature in New York City. It was formed in 1847 at a meeting of The Sketch Club, founded by William Cullen Bryan in 1829, which was itself an outgrowth of the Bread and Cheese Club, an informal group of writers, editors, artists and scholars organized by James Fenimore Cooper in 1824.
According to the Century Association’s archive:
The Century Association’s first Constitution was adopted on January 13, 1847. One hundred gentlemen engaged or interested in letters and the fine arts had been invited to join in forming the Association. Forty-two accepted the invitation and became founders; forty-six others joined during the first year. In 1857 the Association was incorporated by an act of the Legislature of the State of New York, which was amended in 1883. Membership has always been made up of writers, artists, and amateurs of the fine arts. The Century Association has been prominent in the community of creative artists in New York since its inception. (1)
1. "History of the Century Association." Finding Aid to the Century Association records. http://www.centuryarchives.org/ead/century_association_records.html (accessed June 13, 2011).