GEORGE DUDLEY9 SEYMOUR (1859–1945),1) born and bred in Bristol, Hartford County, Connecticut, was educated at the local graded schools and the Hartford Public High School (1878), and in 1880 received the degree of LL.B., from Columbian Law School, Washington, D.C. On October 6, 1883 his twenty-fourth birthday, Mr. Seymour opened an office in New Haven for the practice of patent law and for soliciting patents. Apart from his long and successful professional career he is best known for his interest in community welfare an interest that he traces to the fact that his father took him, as a small boy, to town meetings and impressed upon his mind the obligation of every man to take some part in public affairs beyond merely voting. These early lessons in civics were never forgotten by the son. Mr. Seymour, feeling no aptitude for city politics, did not take part in the usual political life of his adopted city, and did not hold any public office of a political nature. However, his interest in his city made him the author and leader of a sustained effort to induce New Haven to adopt a systematic plan for its future growth, using the historic Green (laid out in 1638) as a civic center, and to provide New Haven harbor with up-to-date terminal facilities that would make the harbor one of the city's chief commercial assets. He is also well known for his interest in early Connecticut architecture and architects and in the furnishings of the early houses; and particularly for reviving the memory of Captain Nathan Hale, originating and leading a movement to place a statue in memory of Hale upon the Old Campus of Yale College, and himself buying and reconditioning the birthplace of Nathan Hale in South Covent as a shrine of the patriot, who was hanged by the British as a spy in 1776.
Mr. Seymour's interest in the art and practice of city planning sprang from contacts in Washington with some of the principal men working there for a return to Major L'Enfant's plan for the development and ornamentation of the national capital. The idea of city planning was then beginning to attract attention in some of the progressive American cities and Mr. Seymour conceived the idea of bringing the message of city planning to New Haven which has he is fully persuaded, the oldest existing organized town plan on the American continent. Its great central open square, although primarily designed to serve as a market place, was wonderfully adapted, as he envisioned it to form the civic center of the New Haven of the future, if surrounded by public and semi-public buildings, and offered an opportunity not surpassed in the entire country.
Mr. Seymour's first opportunity for real public service in this direction to the city of his adoption came in 1906, when he appeared before a committee of the Board of Aldermen in opposition to a petition presented by the directors of the New Haven Public Library, asking for a site on the Green itself for a new public library building. The petition was defeated, and it is significant of the change of feeling that has since taken place regarding the Green, that it now seems hardly possible that the directors of the Library Board could ever have recommended the building of a public library upon the Green, the invasion of which Mr. Seymour felt would be nothing less than a public calamity.
And yet the very next year the city was threatened with the erection of a huge hotel facing the Green on the site of Mayor Sargent's house. Mr. Seymour saw at once that the erection of a hotel on the key-site in question would be a serious blow to New Haven. To checkmate the project, he immediately prepared a comprehensive paper urging the adoption of city planning by New Haven and the utilization of the Green as its civic center. This paper was simultaneously published in full as an open letter to the Mayor, Board of Aldermen, and citizens of the city and county of New Haven, on June 2, 1907, in the issues of the New Haven Sunday Register, Leader and Union. It attracted wide attention, and led not only to the formation of a committee of citizens to secure a city plan, but also to the raising of a fund of about $8,000 for the purpose, and to inviting Mr. Cass Gilbert, one of the foremost architects of the country, and Mr. Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., the country's foremost landscape architect, to visit New Haven. After studying the plan of the city, they drafted a report with recommendations.
This was no mean task, and due to one thing and another, the report was not published until 1910, and even then it attracted far less attention in conservative old New Haven than in the country at large. However, an Act of the Connecticut Legislature, approved May 28, 1913, creating a City Plan Commission, was secured, and the commission was soon organized, with Mayor Rice its chairman, and Mr. Seymour its secretary. The project had from the beginning the enthusiastic support of the Chamber of Commerce, then led by Colonel Isaac M. Ullman, but it was destined largely to fail because it never secured the real support of the municipal government, without which, as Mr. Olmsted declared, city planning could not be “put over.”
As an improvement closely related to his city-planning project, Mr. Seymour, in 1913, led a campaign for the provision of the harbor with terminal facilities, with the view that the harbor might again be utilized as one of the chief commercial assets of New Haven. That project, too, though care fully organized and endorsed by armer President Taft, and supported by the Chamber of Commerce, was destined to fail, although the Chamber's Harbor Committee employed Major Cassius E. Gillette, an army engineer of ability and experience recommended by Mr. Taft who, as Secretary of War, had become familiar with the subject of such engineering projects. Both Mr. Taft and Colonel Ullman were very alive and helpful in this ill-fated enterprise, in which nothing was seemingly accomplished. The day of the harbor has not yet come, but it is approaching, beyond doubt.
With these two major projects – city planning and harbor improvements – Mr. Seymour was almost continuously engaged from 1907 to 1924, as the local newspapers covering this period afford Ample evidence. To rehearse the details would be impracticable, but some idea of these and other activities may be gained by consulting the articles listed in Appendix XI, which articles, for the most part, were prepared in support of the proposed plans and were published in the current local papers, if peradventure they do not fall into dust before they are consulted. In 1924 Mr. Seymour presented his resignation from the City Plan Commission in a long letter addressed to Mayor FitzGerald, in which he reviewed his aims in the premises. (This letter was subsequently printed as “A Citizen's Valedictory,” by Mr. Lewis S. Welch, one of Mr. Seymour's most active sup- porters in his various city improvement enterprises.)
Although both of these major projects, originated and untiringly pushed year after year by Mr. Seymour, failed in their main objectives, their by-products have been in some measure compensatory. Thus Mr. Olmsted, with his wonderful vision, saw during his studies of the New Haven terrain in 1907 a great opportunity for an all-the-year-round park and playground in the extensive well- nigh-useless low swampy West River meadows. He enthused Mr. Seymour with the idea, who passed it on to Colonel Ullman and so to the City Plan Commission, where it long languished. Colonel Ullman and Mr. Seymour, however, both later became members of the New Haven World War Memorial Committee and continued so to cherish the idea that with some finesse they succeeded through Mr. Olmsted (a story as yet untold) in “selling” the idea to Mayor FitzGerald, in whose administration it was “put over,” and a park (West River Memorial Park) of some two hundred acres in extent is now under way, though nothing has yet been done regarding the obelisk which was the keynote of Mr. Olmsted's design and was deemed necessary by him to mark the park as New Haven's World War Memorial. Mr. Frederick L. Ford, then the city engineer, was an active participant in this project. But the park will f ail as a War Memorial until the obelisk is erected, to complete Mr. Olmsted's design.
Two other parks have also come to New Haven Seymour's interest and activity. The Congress having authorized the Secretary of War to dispose of Federal reservations no longer useful for defensive purposes, it was reported to Mr. Seymour that certain business interests were in correspondence with the War Department regarding the purchase of the Fort Hale reservation of some thirty acres on the east shore of New Haven harbor, with the idea of buying it and converting it into an amusement park. Fearful that while the “City Fathers” were resting in fancied security, such a sale might take place, Mr. Seymour acted on his own personal responsibility. In June, 1921, he induced Colonel John Q. Tilson, M. C. for this District, to introduce a bill into Congress authorizing the Secretary of War to transfer the title of the reservation to the city of New Haven as a permanent memorial to Captain Nathan Hale. Mr. Seymour agreed at the same time to provide speakers when the bill came to a hearing before the Committee on Military Affairs of the House of Representatives.
A little later, also at Mr. Seymour's request, Colonel Tilson introduced into Congress a bill f or the cession to the city of the small Federal reservation known as “Lighthouse Point,” including the old stone lighthouse, and both bills came on for hearing on January 17, 1922. As previously agreed, Mr. Seymour made careful preparations for this hearing. He even succeeded in enlisting the services of Chief Justice Taft, who broke all precedents by participating in a Congressional hearing, The hearing had begun when, quite unannounced, the Chief Justice entered the room. Everyone present rose, and none was more surprised than were the members of the Congressional Committee to find the Chief Justice before them. Mr. Taft spoke briefly for New Haven and f or Hale. He then withdrew, and the hearing was resumed at a high pitch of enthusiasm. Both bills were reported out favorably, and ultimately the Fort Hale reservation was ceded, for strategic reasons, to the State of Connecticut, rather than to the City of New Haven, in recognition of the services of Hale to his country; while the Lighthouse Point reservation, having no historic association to warrant its cession without payment, was ultimately bought by the city. Nathan Hale Park (for so the former tract was renamed), though the title is in the State, is cared for and managed as a part of the New Haven Park System.
Though the success of these park projects was due to Mr. Seymour's efforts, he was still greatly disappointed at the failure of his project to have New Haven adopt city planning in a larger way, and he determined not to retire without one further effort. He, therefore, again on his own responsibility, on March 3, 1924, petitioned the Board of Aldermen to bond the city f or the purchase of a tract of eighty acres which adjoined the Lighthouse Point Reservation and which included a relatively short but fine beach washed by unpolluted salt water. After an intensive campaign of some months, in which he was ably assisted by Bernard Greenberg, Esq., and the late much-lamented Frederick W. Campbell, both then members of the Aldermanic Board, this project was put through. The property is now known as Lighthouse Point Park.
The very first intimation that the city-improvement plan, proposed by Messrs. Gilbert and Olmsted, was to include the cutting of an imposing street or approach, leading from the railway station to the center of the city, to intersect with Temple Street or College Street, caused an immediate rise in all real estate valuations in the long neglected region through which such an approach was planned to pass. These valuations had risen so far before the city was prepared to take any action in this matter that the cost became prohibitive, and that outstanding feature of the plan had to be abandoned. However, the necessity of a more direct route between the railway station and the city was so evident that Mr. Frederick L. Ford designed the “Orange Street Extension,” so called, which involved the removal of the old armory and necessitated other expensive purchases of realty. This route, as designed by Mr. Ford, has now been executed and has already demonstrated its value, but is still seriously handicapped by the projection into it of the building containing the showroom and store of the New Haven Gas Light Company. The removal of this obstruction must take place before the full advantage of this new route is manifest. This improvement must be credited to the city-planning movement inaugurated by Mr. Seymour.
Thus ended Mr. Seymour's career of almost twenty years devoted to city planning for New Haven, but not his public activities. In 1907-08, Mr. Seymour was the “prime-mover” in having the Yale School of the Fine Arts and the Peabody Museum opened without charge to the public on Sunday afternoons, and the great Newberry organ played for a restricted season on Sunday afternoons. These privileges, which were ultimately granted, have been taken advantage of, year after year, by throngs of people, and are still continued, with mounting interest and attendance. Being tax-exempt, Mr. Seymour argued that the use of these great instruments of pleasure and education would help to bridge the gap between “Town and Gown” and it is believed that they have measurably answered that purpose. Later appeals to the President and Fellows of the University to open the Carnegie Swimming Pool to men during the summer months, when the students were away, and to extend to the public the use of the University Library, under restrictions, failed.
In the forepart of 1909, Mr. Seymour was the leading spirit in a campaign to have the New Haven elms sprayed to get rid of the elm-leaf beetle pest and to bring bef ore the community the advisability of placing the whole subject of the care and replanting of trees under the direction of a superintendent of trees or city forester. To this end, Mr. Seymour published in the issues of the New Haven Sunday Register and New Haven Sunday Union of March 21st and 28th and of April 4th, 1909, a comprehensive historic review of the elms, which for a century had made the city world-famous as the “City of Elms.” City Hall was opposed to the appointment of a superintendent of trees, but resistance was overcome, and on March 15, 1911, Mr. George Alexander Cromie, a graduate of the Yale School of Forestry, class of 1910, received the appointment. With what energy and judgment he filled the once, until he left it January 1, 1929, to become Superintendent of University Planting, is well known. In the New Haven Sunday Union of April 4th, 1909, appeared a highly-diverting cartoon by Howard Freeman, in which Mr. Seymour, beset with gigantic beetles, was shown on the top of a towering stepladder, belaboring an elm with a $10,000 feather duster!
In 1904 Mr. Seymour subscribed $200 to a fund to repaint the North Church, stipulating that the woodwork should be painted white, rather than again in several contrasting shades of brown. Just before the actual painting was begun, Mr. Seymour was besought by the committee to “cut the string” attached to his subscription. This he firmly refused to do, on the ground, as he declared, that he would not participate in the further disfigurement of David Hoadley's superb design of a red brick fabric, with a belfry, frontispiece, and cornice of white woodwork, but when a compromise was tendered him, under which the belfry was to be painted white, he readily accepted it, knowing that if the community could once see the incomparable belfry painted white, with dark louvres, the painting of the frontispiece and cornice white would automatically follow, and it did. Mr. Seymour also strenuously urged the removal of the paint from the beautiful Flemish bond brickwork of the church, but that point the “First Citizen” would not yield. However, much had been gained. At this time, Mr. Seymour was permitted to direct the entire redecoration of the interior of the church, in the vestibule of which he erected a handsome tablet to the memory of David Hoadley, the architect and builder of the fabric.
With this success behind him, Mr. Seymour in 1909 opened a campaign for the restoration of Center Church to its original exterior appearance. Though this project was endorsed by Mr. Cass Gilbert, the architect; by Dr. Maurer, the minister of the church; and by other high officials of the society, a determined faction opposed the plan with a bitterness scarcely believable. Mr. Seymour's substantial contribution in the form of a check was returned. The very idea that an interloper should place hands upon Center Church was intolerable! Mr. Seymour's unanswerable reply to these criticisms was that a church or school or whatever, accepting exemption from taxation, became by that act alone an object of public concern and the proper subject of criticism on the part of each and every taxpayer. All of the churches on the Green stand there by the sufferance of the town.
Happily, the opposition, unable to finance a reactionary plan to repaint the woodwork and brickwork of the church in contrasting tones of gray, failed, and in 1912, when the repainting of the church became imperative, Mr. Seymour's plan of removing the paint from the brickwork and painting the woodwork white was carried out. The result was a revelation to the community. No one had properly seen Center Church as designed by Ithiel Town since 1845, when its superb Flemish bond brickwork was first lost to view under a coat of paint. This new gospel rapidly spread to Hartford where the paint was soon removed from the brickwork of Bullfinch's Old State House, from the First Church, and so on. In 1912 Mr. Seymour placed a slate tablet in the vestibule of the church in memory of Ithiel Town, and has very recently secured for the church his portrait by Spencer, now hanging beside the tablet. In Mr. Seymour's career he has met with much opposition, but none so bitter as that attending the removal of the paint from the brickwork of Center Church. He hopes that it will not be long before the paint is removed from the beautiful Flemish bond brickwork of the North Church. In 1924-25 Mr. Seymour directed the redecoration of the meeting house in Woodbridge.
Mr. Seymour's great interest in the ornamental wood and iron work of old houses of the better class led him to secure for the New Haven Colony Historical Society the Palladian window of the once-famous Dyer White house on the northwest corner of Orange and Center streets; the fine staircase, front doors, and some paneling, from the James Abraham Hillhouse mansion ( 1765), familiarly known in greatly-disguised form as “Grove Hall”; and the superb wrought-iron posts and railing which ornamented the entrance of the Nathan Smith house, designed and built about 1816 by David Hoadley, on Elm street facing the Green, later known as the “Edwards House.” The staircase in question has been installed in the new Historical Society Building, while the wrought-iron posts and railing from the Nathan Smith house have been used in front of the building, designed by J. Frederick Kelly. Mr. Seymour's great regret is that he was too late to secure the exquisite portico, now one of the treasures of the Metropolitan Museum, of the house designed and built about 1800 by David Hoadley for Judge Simeon Bristol, which occupied the site of the Ives Memorial Public Library. It was also Mr. Seymoor who began the agitation which led to the removal of the pyramidal cap that so long disfigured Trinity Church, designed and built about 1812 by lthiel Town, on the New Haven Green; and it was through Mr. Seymour's protracted efforts that the two so-called “'Branford Rooms,” now installed in the Yale School of the Fine Arts, were secured from the New Haven Water Company when it demolished the famous Curtis-Rose house of about 1710 in North Branford.
Interested from boyhood in portraits and portrait painting, Mr. Seymour was the “prime-mover” in having John W. Alexander, N.A., paint a portrait of Professor John F. Weir for the Yale School of the Fine Arts on his retirement; in having Mayor Chauncey Jerome's portrait painted by Herman Sodersten for the City Hall; and the late Samuel Hemingway's portrait painted by Ernest L. Ipsen, N. A., for the Second National Bank. He has presented a copy of Duche's portrait of Bishop Samuel Seabury (Primus Episcopus Americanus), and a portrait of John C. Calhoun, to the University, both now hanging in the great Dining Hall in the Bicentennial Buildings.
In 1897 the late Mrs. Mary Russell Mann, of Branford, presented to Mr. Seymour the original doors of Parson Russell's house in Branford – the doors that gave passage to the founders of Yale when they met and, according to tradition, placed books upon the parson's study table, each saying, “I give these books for the foundation of a college in this colony.” Mr. Seymour presented the doors to the University in 1901 and, now hung as the entrance of the “1742 Room” in the new University Library, they are believed to be the earliest existing relics of any Yale building.
Mr. Seymour's interest in history and in memorial tablets as works of art has led him to erect several tablets on his own account. They include a tablet to Captain Charles Churchill (by Frank Crawford Boardman), and one to Captain Robert Wells IV (by Lee Lawrie) in the Congregational Meetinghouse in Newington – both of bronze; tablets to Captain Nathan Hale in Battell Chapel, to Ithiel Town in Center Church, to David Hoadley in the United Church-all three of slate designed by the late Henry Charles Dean; an engraved wrought-brass tablet to Deacon Richard Hale, the father of Nathan Hale, in the Church at Coventry, Connecticut; and with Lee Lawrie Mr. Seymour designed the tablet, executed in slate, erected by the Church Society to Governor Simeon Baldwin in the United Church, New Haven. Mr. Seymour was also the prime-mover in the erection of a tablet to his friend, Professor Edward T. McLaughlin, in Battell Chapel, and secured Russell Sturgis, Jr., to design the tablet.
A lifelong interest in Captain Nathan Hale induced Mr. Seymour to buy, in 1914, the neglected and abandoned birthplace of the patriot in South Coventry in Tolland County – a stately farmhouse built in 1776 by Nathan's father, Deacon Richard Hale, who incorporated in it a fragment of the actual birth house built by him on substantially the same site in 1746. The farm contained three hundred and two acres of which fifty were added to the acreage after Deacon Hale's death in 1802. Mr. Seymour reconditioned the mansion with knowledge and taste, gathered furnishings of Connecticut origin for it, including some pieces of immediate Hale interest, such as Hale's army trunk. In order to protect the property, Mr. Seymour bought in 1925 another farm on the opposite side of the highway, with a house of about 1720 in which Hale's “good grandmother Strong” lived and died. This house is now called “Northampton House,” thus memorializing that early group of settlers of Coventry, including the Strongs, who removed there from Northampton, Massachusetts, to escape the menace of the Indians. This old fabric has also been reconditioned and furnished. The present property of nearly a thousand acres is now being managed on principles of practical forestry under the direction of Mr. George A. Cromie. Apart from their historic interest in connection with Hale, both of these homes are of marked interest to the students of early Connecticut domestic architecture.
Mr. Seymour's interest in Nathan Hale also made him the “prime-mover” in the erection in 1913 of a statue of Hale, who was of the Yale Class of 1773, on the 01d Campus of Yale College – a sustained effort of sixteen years and “crowned” only after many vicissitudes. The statue was designed by Bela Lyon Pratt, and near the Hale mansion in Coventry Mr. Seymour has erected a bronze replica of it.
In 1925 the Federal Government, through Mr. Seymour's persistent efforts of something over two years, issued a half-cent Federal stamp bearing the head of Pratt's “Hale.” Nearly three billion of these stamps have now been printed and issued. In a very real sense, these stamps, freely circulating everywhere from coast to coast, have made the nation “Hale-conscious.” Mr. Seymour has presented many framed life-sized photographs of the head and bust of Pratt's “Hale” to schools, libraries, etc., throughout the State.
A collector nearly all his life, particularly of early New England furniture, Mr. Seymour has not only furnished his house in New Haven and his two houses in Coventry with antique furniture and household goods, but has on deposit in the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford an extensive collection of early pieces, including many specimens of seventeenth century oak, as well as some painted pine chests. It has been his aim to collect only pieces of Connecticut origin. In the main he has specialized in pre-Revolutionary household things, and he is regarded as no mean authority in that field. He has also on deposit in the Atheneum a small collection of old silver, and in the Hale Mansion he has brought together a consider- able collection of early Connecticut folk-pottery (made in New London and Norwich), and a collection of the painted basketry of the Mohegan Indians.
In 1931 Mr. Seymour presented to the town of Newington as a memorial to his mother and her family, a tract of about twenty acres of farm land, to be used primarily as a playground, the land being a fragment of the farm occupied by her Churchill forbears since the early days of the Colony and including the site of the mansion, which was built in 1761 by his great-great-grandfather and was noted for the beauty of its highly-ornamented front doorway. This gift of land in Newington was the outgrowth of Mr. Seymour's long-continued interest in New Haven's recreational facilities in inside and waterfront parks, which he had helped so much to increase.
Mr. Seymour traveled in England and Scotland in 1889, on the Continent in 1905, and again on the Continent (by motor) in 1909 and in 1911. In 1900 he went with a party headed by the late Prof. Charles E. Beecher, then Director of the Peabody Museum, to witness the snake dance of the Moki Indians, and visited the Grand Canyon of the Colorado, the Painted Desert, and the Petrified Forest. In 1901 he went around the world with the Hon. Gifford Pinchot, whose errand was to secure material for a report to President Roosevelt on the forest resources of the Philippine Islands. Arrived at Manila after crossing Asia on the newly- opened Trans-Siberian Railway, they were the guests at the old palace of Malacanan of the Governor General and Mrs. Taft. Mr. Taft placed his official boat, the Alava, at their disposal, and they made an extensive tour of the Islands, taking in Sandakan in Borneo as a side trip. They returned home via Japan and the Hawaiian Islands. At that time, few persons had seen as much of the Islands as Mr. Pinchot and Mr. Seymour saw on this trip. In Manila Mr. Seymour renewed an acquaintance with Mr. Taft which was to grow into a close lifelong friendship.
Mr. Seymour has found, as he often says, that “the way of the reformer is hard,” calling, as it does, for continuous study, for constant sacrifice of time and patience, and above all for a philosophical spirit to bear frustrations, derision, and disappointments. Looking backward, he regrets most of all the failure to realize what was an important feature of the improvement plan advocated in 1907 by Messrs. Gilbert and Olmsted, the creation of a park- bordered marginal highway extending along the harbor front of New Haven, providing near access to the water from the center of the city, and a route for east and west traffic that would have avoided the center of the city and relieved congestion. One has but to look at a map of New Haven and note the vacant acres back of the railway station, to realize what New Haven daily misses in convenience of transportation, and how our citizens, although they live so close to the sea, are deprived of the advantages and pleasure of it.
As little fruitful as Mr. Seymour's city and harbor improvement efforts were, considering the time, energy and labor invested in them, and as compared with his hope of benefits to proceed from them, if in reasonable measure realized, he has at least the sustaining consciousness that he is on “the side of the future.”
As a member of the State Commission of Sculpture, Mr. Seymour some years ago advocated memorials in the Capitol at Hartford to John Brown of Osawatomie and to Harriet Beecher Stowe, both natives of Connecticut and both outstanding contributors to the cause of human freedom. This proposition never got to the public, and what the public reaction would have been is a matter of speculation ; but he mentioned the matter to Colonel Osborn, who said, “Until the pen drops from my palsied fingers I will oppose in the columns of the Journal-Courier a proposition to erect any memorial to John Brown in the Capitol at Hartford'' At the same time the late Professor Henry Augustine Beers said, “I will use my pen as long as I can write to forward your proposition to erect a memorial to John Brown in the Capitol. You remember that Emerson said, 'John Brown has made the gallows as sacred as the cross.'”
The foregoing account of the author's public activities was prepared some years ago for a different purpose, and it is included here at this time perforce because, as the result of a shock suffered by the author two years ago, he has been unable to go through his papers and files for the preparation of an account of his abilities, which if written to-day would be far less detailed. Nevertheless, he is now constrained to add some later items. One of them is the purchase in Coventry of the Joseph Huntington Parsonage, built about 1764, in which Nathan Hale was prepared for Yale College. Another is the erection, with suitable inscriptions, of four granite markers of historical sites connected with Nathan Hale and one marking the site of the first house built in Coventry. Another is erecting a suitable monument in the town of Bolton to mark the forgotten grave of Ralph Earl, the Revolutionary portrait painter. Still others are the employment of an expert to recondition a number of early portraits in the possession of the Connecticut Historical Society and the commission of a well-known American artist to paint a portrait of his friend, Chief-Justice Taft, for the Robing Room of the United States Supreme Court Building in Washington.
Mr. Seymour was a member of the Mayor's committee to celebrate the Tercentenary of New Haven and a member of the committee for the erection of a Cenotaph to Theophilus Eaton, the first Governor of the New Haven Colony. During the Tercentenary year he compiled and published a brochure entitled “Memorials of Governor Eaton.” He has also prepared for publication a “Documentary Life of Nathan Hale,” this at the suggestion many years ago of the late Professor Thomas R. Lounsbury of Yale. At present he is preparing to erect at the Birthplace a monument to his veteran riding horse, who died nearly a year ago, a horse so highly educated, so great a gentleman, that he seemed deserving of a Latin inscription, which has been prepared by a learned Latanist of Yale.
|THOMAS HOOKER BONES|
|EQUI BENE MERITI|
|GENERE NOBILIS DOCTRINA INSTITUTI VIRTUTIBUS ORNATI|
|INGENUI LIBERALIS HUMANI|
|S T T L|
|HOC MONUMENTUM PONENDUM CURAVIT|
|GEORGIUS DUDLEY SEYMOUR|
A list of the major portion of articles which Mr. Seymour from time to time has published on early Connecticut architects and their work has been included in the appendix to this history.
Mr. Seymour is a Congregationalist and in politics a Republican. He received the honorary degree of M.A. from Yale College in 1913. and the degree of L.H.D. from George Washington University in 1921.
Clubs – Dissenters, Graduates, Elizabethan, New Haven; Acorn, Connecticut ; Cosmos, Washington; Century, Coffee House, Yale, and Ends of the Earth, New York.
Vice-president Connecticut Historical Society; member New Haven Colony Historical Society; honorary member Chicago, Mattatuck (Waterbury), and Wallingford Historical societies; member Board of Trustees, Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford; chairman State Commission of Sculpture; corresponding member American Institute of Architects; sometime (twenty-five years) member Board of Trustees of The Henry Whitfield State Historical Museum, Guilford; member Board of Trustees, Thomas Lee House, East Lyme; member Board of Trustees, Donald G. Mitchell Memorial Library, Westville; member Board of Managers of New Haven Dispensary; member of New Haven Commission on Zoning; member Committee on Restoration of the Glebe House, Woodbury (and first to urge it); member General Committee of the Yale Pageant (1916); chairman of Sub-Committee on Medals, Stamps and Coin, State of Connecticut Tercentenary Commission; member Committee for Building New Haven Public Library; member Committee on Cornelius Bushnell Memorial; chairman of Tablet Committee of the United Church; member General Committee on the Commemoration of the Two Hundredth Anniversary of the Removal of Yale College to New Haven; sometime member New Haven Municipal Art Commission; member Jury for Selecting Design for Veterans' Home at Rocky Hill; member New Haven World War Memorial Committee; secretary, 1913-24, New Haven City Improvement Commission; member New Haven Harbor Development (State) Commission, and writer of its report dated October 1, 1922; for many years active member New Haven Chamber of Commerce; honorary member Connecticut Society of the Cincinnati; member Connecticut Society Colonial Wars (sometime secretary); member Connecticut Society Sons of the Revolution; honorary member Beaumont Medical Society; vice-president Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities; vice-president American Federation of Arts; honorary associate fellow of Berkeley College, Yale University; honorary member Phi Chi Chapter of Beta Theta Pi Fraternity; member Hiram Lodge, No.1, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; member Walpole Society; member City Hall Building Commission; member The American Friends of Lafayette; member New Haven County Bar Association; member The Yale Alumni Association of New Haven; chairman New Haven Municipal Art Commission, 1933; member Connecticut Fish and Game Association; member Mory's Association; member American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Mass.