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John Denison Baldwin, 1902-1946



“Dan” Baldwin, who died in Sydney, Australia, on 26 September 1946, was the first president of the Harvard Mountaineering Club, in the winter of 1924-1925. Until recently he had been a member of the American Alpine Club, which he joined in 1925.

Born in Worcester, he attended Worcester Academy and Milton Academy, and graduated from Harvard with the Class of 1925. He subsequently entered the investment business. He was an early aviation enthusiast, one of the first residents of Worcester to own his own plane. He was also an enthusiastic fisherman, and in 1936, off Sydney Heads, Australia, caught with rod and reel a shark weighing 996½ pounds, then a world’s record. He was a strong swimmer and was made an honorary member of the Life Guards at Sydney—a high honor for a foreigner.

His mountaineering was limited to two fair seasons in the Alps and to scattered climbs elsewhere. His pleasing personality and infectious enthusiasm were important in bringing together the first group of climbers at Harvard, and in launching there the club which is still going strong today.

When I visited Australia in 1937, he characteristically came down to the dock at Sydney to meet me, and took me to his house, and then up into the Blue Mountains, where we had a very pleasant three days. The day I left, he and his wife were entertaining for the American Consul General, the late J. P. Moffat. His first wife died a short time later. He married again and leaves his second wife and a son, John D. Baldwin, Jr., in Sydney. His sister, Charlotte, widow of Sydney Webber, lives in Worcester and is a member of the Club.

Dan was a likable, genial and friendly person. He was invariably good natured and not easily ruffled by anything. He often came back to the early meetings of the H. M. C. after leaving college, and continued his interest in it and its members for years. Though he had not been in this part of the world for some time, except for an occasional brief visit, the impression he had made in earlier years was fine and lasting. The news of his untimely passing will be received with sorrow by his considerable group of friends of the earlier years hereabouts.

H. S. H. Jr.