Charles Ezra Sprague (USA)

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Charles Ezra Sprague

Birthplace: Nassau, NY, USA
Death: Died in New York, New York, New York, United States
Cause of death: Pneumonia
Immediate Family:

Son of Ezra, Rev. Sprague and Elisabeth Brown Averill Sprague
Husband of Rachel Maria Sprague
Father of Emma Beatrice de Camp; Flora Chapin Sprague; Ethel Locke Sprague and Edna Ray Sprague
Brother of Cordelia Sprague and Solon Howard Sprague
Half brother of Frances Sprague and Phebe Sprague

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About Charles Ezra Sprague (USA)

Charles Ezra Sprague (October 9, 1842 – March 21, 1912) was an American accountant, born in Nassau, Rensselaer County, New York. He was known as a Civil War hero, and as a proponent of the constructed language Volapük, for which he authored the first major textbook in English, Handbook of Volapük (1888), as well as an early organizer of the accounting profession.

During the Civil War, Sprague served in the 44th New York Infantry, seeing action at the Battle of Gettysburg, where his unit was instrumental in helping repulse attacks on Little Round Top. The New York State Archives stores a lengthy article Sprague wrote on his military service.

He was president of both the New York Institute of Accounts and the Union Dime Savings Bank (which later became the Dime Savings Bank). Later in life, he was involved in the movement for reform of English spelling as part of the Simplified Spelling Board, of which he was the first treasurer.

He was heavily involved in the development of the first state certification of accountants in the United States.

In 1953 he was inducted into Ohio State University's Accounting Hall of Fame.

Sprague was the maternal grandfather of science fiction author L. Sprague de Camp.


The Accounting Hall of Fame Charles Ezra Sprague Charles Sprague

The son of Ezra and Elisabeth Brown Edgerton Sprague was born on October 9, 1842, in Nassau, New York. His primary education was obtained in the Amsterdam, New York district schools and his secondary education in Amsterdam Academy. He received a bachelor's degree with Phi Beta Kappa honors from Union College in 1860. He also received a master's degree in 1862 and an honorary Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1893 from Union College. In 1910 he received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Olivet College.

After college he taught at Greenwich Union Academy for a year and a half before enlisting in the New York National Guard in 1862. He saw active service in the Civil War until he was wounded and disabled during the Battle of Gettysburg (1863). For his gallant and meritorious service in that battle he was made a brevet colonel in the New York Volunteers (1868). During the period 1864-70 he taught at Yonkers, Peekskill, and Poughkeepsie military academies. He again served in the New York National Guard during the periods 1870-72 and 1897-1901. During the latter period he served as assistant paymaster general for the National Guard of the State of New York, with the rank of Colonel.

In 1870 he joined the Union Dime Savings Bank in New York City as a clerk. In 1877 he became secretary, then treasurer and in 1892, president, the position he held at his death (1912). He was a pioneer in designing and implementing various devices and systems to the operations of savings banks, designer of the first machine for making ledger entries, originator of amortization methods, and the introducer of small checkbooks, passbooks, and looseleaf ledgers. He served as president (1904-05) of the Savings Bank Section of the American Bankers Association.

He played a prominent role in drafting the first CPA law in the state of New York in 1896. In that state he served as one of the three members of the first State Board of Examiners for CPAs. He was certified as a CPA in 1896 (New York). He served as a member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Society of CPAs. He was also affiliated with the AICPA and the American Bankers Association.

He was instrumental in organizing and developing the School of Commerce, Accounts, and Finance (the first of its kind in the world) at the New York University in 1900. He was a member of the original accounting faculty during the evenings from 1900 until his death. Due to his devotion to the profession of accounting, he lectured without compensation. He was alumni trustee (1894-98) and life trustee (1906 - resigned shortly before his death) of Union College. He wrote many articles for professional journals and among his authored books are The Algebra of Accounts (1880), The Accountancy of Investment (1904), Extended Bond Tables (1905), Problems and Studies in the Accountancy of Investments (1904), Tables of Compound Interest (1907), The Philosophy of Accounts (1907), Amortization (1908), Logarithms to Twelve Places and Their Use in Interest Calculations (1910). He was associate editor of the periodical The Bookkeeper (1881-84). The publication's name was changed in 1883 to the American Counting Room and the last recorded issue was April-June 1884.

He married Ray Ellison on April 2, 1866; they had four children. He enjoyed studying obscure languages and unusual dialects; he was considered the first American advocate of the artificial language of Volapuk on which he wrote the Handbook of Volapuk in 1888. He spoke 16 languages. He also enjoyed brass band music, croquet, and simplified spelling. He died on March 21, 1912 at the age of 69.



By Alpha Delta Phi

Charles Ezra Sprague. 54 W. 32d Street, New York, N. Y.

Prest, union Dime Savings Inst, since 1892. A.M.,l«f>0: Ph.D., 1893. ФВК. Private 25th N. Y.Inf., U. 8. A., 1862; Corp. 44th N. Y. Inf., 1862; Sergt., 1863; wounded at Gettysburg; hon. discharged, 1864; brev. Col. N. Y. Vols., 1867. Commandant Yonkers, N. Y., Milit. Inst., 1804-66; Pecksklll, N. Y.. Miiit. Acad., 1867-08; Poughkeepsie, N. Y-, Milit. Inst., 1800-70. Clerk Union Dime Savings Inst., 1870-78; Secy., 1878-91; Treas., 1891-92, Prest. Tnst. of Accounts, 1880-99. Trustee Union Coll. since 1894. Col. and Asst. Paymaster Gen., N. Y. State. since 1897. Memb. N. Y. State Bd. Examiners for Public Accountants since 1896. Assoc, ed. The. Bookkeeper, 1880-82. Contributor to The Office and Bttttine** and to various periodicals. Author of Algebra of Accounts, 1880; HnndBook of Volaptik, 1887. Memb. Acad, of Volapuk, 1S87. Secy. ЛЛФ since 1896. Prest. ЛДФ nd interim, 1897-98. Married, Apr. 2, I860, at N. Y. City, to Ray Ellison.

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Charles Ezra Sprague (USA)'s Timeline

October 9, 1842
Nassau, NY, USA
December 2, 1872
Age 30
New York, New York, NY, USA
January 7, 1874
Age 31
New York, New York, NY, USA
July 14, 1883
Age 40
Asbury Park, Monmouth, New Jersey, United States
January 5, 1884
Age 41
New York, New York, NY, USA
March 21, 1912
Age 69
New York, New York, New York, United States