Blaine as candidate for the presidency, and thus broke with the Republican party, of which he had been a founder and leader. From that time he stood as the typical independent in politics. In April he delivered at Baltimore his eleventh annual address as president of the National Civil Service Reform League, and in May he appeared for the last time in public, to repeat in New York an address on James Russell Lowell , which he had first delivered in Brooklyn on the 22nd of the preceding February, the anniversary of Lowell's birth.
Curtis was one of the original members of the Board of Education for what would become New York City, and advocated educational reforms.
He was a member of and frequent speaker at the Unitarian Church on Staten Island the congregation still meets in the same building. A high school not far from his home is named for him. He is also immortalized with an annual namesake oratorical prize awarded by Columbia College of Columbia University.
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