The telegraph announced briefly, that Rev. Otis H. Tiffany, D. D., died quietly at three o’clock in the afternoon of Oct. 24, at Minneapolis, Minn. The announcement was a surprise to most of his friends in the eastern part of the country, who had not been aware of his illness. The secular press, as well as the religious press outside of his own denomination, make prominent note of his death, for he belonged in an eminent degree to his times and to all denominations. But the event has for us a more special interest, for in a narrower sense he belonged to us; he was a Dickinsonian, we might almost say a typical Dickinsonian of the olden school. An alumnus of the class of 1844, he was made tutor of Greek in 1847, adjunct professor of mathematics in 1848, professor of mathematics in 1851. He filled the latter position until 1857. As instructor in mathematics his success did not rest so much upon a profound or exhaustive knowledge of that branch, or upon an ability or disposition to deal with its curiosities or conundrums, but rather upon a just appreciation of its place in a collegiate course, and a comprehensive and philosophical treatment of it, combined with an ability to clear up the difficulties ordinarily encountered by the college student. The extra-professional influence resulting from his refined and gentlemanly nature, and his personal contact with students as instructor, is hardly to be over-estimated. To those who knew him well it was no surprise that he resigned a position that was unsuited to the exercise and fullest development of the peculiar gifts with which he was in so high a degree endowed, and which had already given him great public prominence. Not only was a preacher and platform speaker in his own denomination had his ability been recognized, but on the political rostrum it had caused his name to be mentioned prominently in connection with the national Senate.
He was a born orator, natural, without mannerisms. His rich voice, and clear enunciation, his fine physique and graceful manner, his genial and attractive face, his elegant and refined style, combined with an exquisite taste as to diction and matter, gave him an influence over his audiences best described perhaps by the word magical. On occasion when the subject called forth all his powers he was eloquent in the highest sense of the term. He had filled many of the leading pulpits of his church in New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Chicago, and other prominent cities, and at the time of his death was pastor of Hennepin Avenue Church, Minneapolis. Some of his orations on special occasions were notable productions, and many of his addresses were published.
Whatever of influence he exerted was personal, for he filled no official position in his church, but closed his life simply as a preacher in charge.
As a Dickinsonian he always retained a large hearted and loyal interest in his alma mater, characteristic in so eminent a degree of the alumni of his period. He always had a cordial grasp of the hand for a Dickinsonian, and many alumni of more recent years will pleasantly remember him on the occasions when he was present at commencement to answer the call of his alma mater, to which he always turned a filial ear. Outside of the college, perhaps no one has left a wider circle of personal friends and admirers in the town of Carlisle. Even in late years his appearance in the pulpit or on the platform, in the town, was sure to bring out a full attendance of its representative citizens.