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Encyclopedia > Abbott Lawrence Lowell
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Abbott Lawrence Lowell

portrait by John Singer Sargent

Abbott Lawrence Lowell (January 1, 1856January 6, 1943) was a U.S. educator, historian, and President of Harvard University (1909–33). Today his presidency is much criticized as exhibiting a variety of racial, religious, and sexual prejudice. Image File history File links Unbalanced_scales. ... Image File history File links Abbott_Lawrence_Lowell,_by_Sargent. ... Image File history File links Abbott_Lawrence_Lowell,_by_Sargent. ... Self Portrait, oil painting, 1907 John Singer Sargent (January 12, 1856 – April 14, 1925) was the most successful portrait painter of his era, as well as a gifted landscape painter and watercolorist. ... January 1 is the first day of the calendar year in both the Julian and Gregorian calendars. ... 1856 was a leap year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ... January 6 is the 6th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar, with 359 days (360 in leap years) remaining. ... 1943 (MCMXLIII) was a common year starting on Friday (the link is to a full 1943 calendar). ... The President is the chief administrator of Harvard University. ... For with(out) prejudice in law, see Prejudice (law). ...

Abbott's siblings included poet Amy Lowell, astronomer Percival Lowell (Harvard 1876), and early activist for prenatal care Elizabeth Lowell Putnam. They were the great-grandchildren of John Lowell (Harvard 1760) and, on their mother's side, the grandchildren of Abbott Lawrence.[1] Amy Lowell Amy Lawrence Lowell (February 9, 1874 – May 12, 1925) was an American poet of the imagist school who posthumously won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1926. ... Percival Lowell (March 13, 1855 – November 12, 1916) was an author, mathematician, and esteemed astronomer who fueled speculation that there were canals on Mars, founded the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, and formed the beginning of the work and theories that led to the discovery of Pluto 14 years after... Born Elizabeth Lowell Putnam in Brookline, MA in the late 19th century to parents Augustus Lowell of the privileged Lowell family of Boston. ... John Lowell ( June 17, 1743– May 6, 1802) was an American lawyer and jurist from Boston, Massachusetts. ... Abbott Lawrence (December 16, 1792–August 18, 1855) was a prominent American businessman, politician, and philanthropist. ...



A. Lawrence was second son of Augustus Lowell and Katherine Bigelow Lowell, and born in Brookline, MA. The Lowells, a prominent Boston family, named their 10 acre Brookline estate Sevenels for the fact that there were 7 children in their family. Augustus Lowell was President of Boott Cotton Mills in Lowell, Massachusetts in 1897 and the father of Abbott Lawrence Lowell. ... Brookline is a town in Norfolk County, Massachusetts. ... Nickname: City on the Hill, Beantown, The Hub (of the Universe)1, Athens of America, The Cradle of Revolution, Puritan City, Americas Walking City Location in Massachusetts, USA Counties Suffolk County Mayor Thomas M. Menino(D) Area    - City 232. ...

Lowell graduated from Noble and Greenough School in 1873 and went on to attend Harvard College. He graduated in 1877 with highest honors in mathematics, and from Harvard Law School in 1880. He practiced law from 1880 to 1897 in partnership with his cousin, Francis Cabot Lowell, with whom he wrote Transfer of Stock in Corporations (1884). The Noble and Greenough School, popularly referred to as Nobles, is a coeducational, nonsectarian day and boarding school for students in grades seven through twelve. ... Harvard Yard Harvard College is the undergraduate section and oldest school of Harvard University, having been founded in 1636. ... Harvard Law School, often referred to in shorthand as Harvard Law or HLS, is one of the professional graduate schools of Harvard University. ... Francis Cabot Lowell (January 7, 1855 - March 6, 1911) was a longtime federal judge in the United States. ...

Lowell also wrote Essays on Government (1889), Governments and Parties in Continental Europe (2 vols., 1896), Colonial Civil Service (1900; with an account by H. Morse Stephens of the East India College at Haileybury), and The Government of England (2 vols., 1908). The East India Company College was from 1805 to 1858 the college of the British East India Company (EIC). ... Coat of arms of Haileybury College This article refers to the school in England. ...

In 1897, he became lecturer, and in 1898, professor of government at Harvard.

Lowell succeeded his father as Trustee of the Lowell Institute in 1900. And in 1909, he succeeded Charles William Eliot as president of the university. In the same year, he became president of the American Political Science Association.[2] Lowell Institute, an educational foundation in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A., providing for free public lectures, and endowed by the bequest of $237,000 left by John Lowell, Jr. ... Prof. ... The American Political Science Association, founded in 1903, serves more than 15,000 members in more than 80 countries, bringing a variety of services to political scientists both inside and outside academic institutions. ...

Harvard Presidency

Lowell served as president of Harvard Universtiy for 24 years, a span only surpassed by his predecessors Charles William Eliot (40 years) and Edward Holyoke (32). Prof. ... Edward Holyoke (June 26, 1689 – June 1, 1769) was an early American clergyman and educator. ...

As president, Lowell continued pressing for the evolution of "concentrations" (Harvard's name for academic majors), which he had begun to develop while still a professor. His predecessor, Charles W. Eliot, had replaced the single standardized undergraduate course with a plethora of electives; Lowell encouraged, and eventually required, students to concentrate the bulk of their studies in one academic field. Although headed in very different directions, both Eliot's reforms and Lowell's had wide impact on higher education throughout the US. An academic major, major concentration, concentration, or simply major is a mainly U.S. and Canadian term for a college or university students main field of specialization during his or her undergraduate studies. ... Prof. ...

Lowell is remembered for establishing the Harvard Extension School and creating Harvard College's residential house system (see Harvard College#House system), which today remains a central part of the undergraduate experience. He also co-founded the Harvard Society of Fellows. The Harvard Extension School, founded by Harvard University President A. Lawrence Lowell in 1909, is an academic program designed to serve the educational interests and needs of the greater Boston community. ... A residential college is an organisational pattern for a division of a university that places academic activity in a community setting of students and faculty, usually at a residence and with shared meals, the college having a degree of autonomy and a federated relationship with the overall university. ... Harvard Yard Harvard College is the undergraduate section and oldest school of Harvard University, having been founded in 1636. ... The Harvard Society of Fellows is a collection of luminaries selected by Harvard University to be held close to its bosom, given special honors, thrown elegant dinners, and upon whom various privileges are bestowed. ...

Among the new campus buildings of Lowell's tenure is the President's House (today Loeb House) at 17 Quincy Street, which Lowell commissioned from his cousin Guy Lowell (Harvard 1892); it remained the residence of succeeding Harvard Presidents until 1971. Presidents House, found at 17 Quincy Street, served as a residence for Harvard Presidents until 1971, when Derek Bok (1971-1991) moved his family to Elmwood. ... Guy Lowell (August 6, 1870-February 4, 1927) was an American architect and landscape architect. ...

Time magazine – June 21, 1926

Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ...


In recent years, many have denounced Lowell for a wide variety of actions and statements which reflected his apparent bigotry towards homosexuals, Jews, African-Americans, and other ethnic minorities. In 2005, a small group of students, calling themselves the Lowell Liberation Front, lobbied unsuccessfully to have two likenesses removed from Lowell House, a Harvard house named for Lowell's family. [1] The sky-blue bell tower of Lowell House Lowell House is one of the twelve undergraduate residential houses at Harvard University for sophomores, juniors, and seniors. ...

Sacco and Vanzetti

In Lowell's own day, probably the biggest controversy surrounding him concerned his involvement in the execution of Sacco and Vanzetti. The guilt or innocence of these two men, convicted of murder, had become a cause celebre and in 1927 the Governor of Massachusetts in considering clemency appointed an advisory committee with Lowell as chairman. Nicola Sacco (right) and Bartolomeo Vanzetti in handcuffs Nicola Sacco (April 22, 1891 – August 23, 1927) and Bartolomeo Vanzetti (June 11, 1888 – August 23, 1927) were two Italian-born American anarchists, who were arrested, tried, and executed via electrocution in Massachusetts. ...

One author describes the result thus: "The committee...concluded that the trial and judicial process had been just, 'on the whole', and that clemency was not warranted. It only fueled controversy over the fate of the two men, and Harvard, because of Lowell's role, became stigmatized, in the words of one of its alumni, as 'Hangman's House.'" [2] Civil procedure is the body of law that sets out the process that courts will follow when hearing cases of a civil nature (a civil action). These rules govern how a lawsuit or case may be commenced, what kind of service of process is required, the types of pleadings or...

Support for a quota on Jewish enrollment

During his presidency, Lowell became disturbed by the rising number of Jewish students at Harvard, feeling that their presence harmed the university's character. As documented in Jerome Karabel's 2005 book The Chosen, Lowell thus urged Harvard to adopt a 15-percent admissions quota on Jewish students, warning "the summer hotel that is ruined by admitting Jews meets its fate because they drive away the Gentiles, and then after the Gentiles have left, they leave also."

Racial segregation

In a 1922 letter to a black undergraduate, Lowell confirmed that he would not be permitted to live in the freshman dormitories: "I am sure you will understand why, from the beginning, we have not thought it possible to compel men of different races to reside together." [3]

Homosexual students and the "secret court" of 1920

Main article: Secret Court of 1920 (Harvard) Shield of Harvard University with the motto Veritas (truth) The Secret Court of 1920 was a secret tribunal convened in 1920 at Harvard University to rid the university of homosexuals. ...

A 2002 article by Amit R. Paley in The Harvard Crimson focused on Lowell's role in a secret Harvard "court" that expelled eight students and one philosophy Ph.D. candidate for being homosexual or associating with homosexuals. Two of the expelled students, Cyril Wilcox and Ernest Cummings, committed suicide that year. Another, Keith Smerage, killed himself 10 years later.

This compelled Harvard President Lawrence Summers to reflect, more than 80 years after the fact: "These reports of events long ago are extremely disturbing. They are part of a past that we have rightly left behind." Summers apologized, saying "I want to express our deep regret for the way this situation was handled, as well as the anguish the students and their families must have experienced eight decades ago." He continued, "Whatever attitudes may have been prevalent then, persecuting individuals on the basis of sexual orientation is abhorrent and an affront to the values of our university. We are a better and more just community today because those attitudes have changed as much as they have." Lawrence Henry (Larry) Summers (born November 30, 1954) is an American economist and academic. ...

See also

The Lowell family was founded in America by Percival Lowle (1571–1664); his grown sons John (1595–1647) and Richard (1602–82); and his daughter, Joanna Oliver (1609–77), when their families sailed from England to the newly established settlement of Newburyport on the north shore of the Merrimack... Boston Brahmins, also called the First Families of Boston, are the blue-blooded class of New Englanders who claim hereditary and cultural descent from the Anglo-Saxon Protestants who founded the city of Boston, Massachusetts and settled New England. ... Lowell Institute, an educational foundation in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A., providing for free public lectures, and endowed by the bequest of $237,000 left by John Lowell, Jr. ...


  1. ^ Lowell, Delmar R., The Historic Genealogy of the Lowells of America from 1639 to 1899 (p 283); Rutland VT, The Tuttle Company, 1899; ISBN 9780788415678.
  2. ^ Greenslet, Ferris, The Lowells and Their Seven Worlds; Boston, Houghton Mifflin, 1946; ISBN 0897602633.
  • This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.

Delmar R. Lowell 1844–1912 Rev. ... Ferris Greenslet (1875, Glens Falls, New York -- 1959, Boston) was an American editor and writer. ... Encyclopædia Britannica, the 11th edition The Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition (1910–1911) is perhaps the most famous edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica. ... The public domain comprises the body of all creative works and other knowledge—writing, artwork, music, science, inventions, and others—in which no person or organization has any proprietary interest. ...

External links

  • The Historic Genealogy of the Lowells of America from 1639 to 1899 is available for free download at Google Books.
Academic Offices
Preceded by
Charles W. Eliot
President of Harvard University
Succeeded by
James B. Conant
Preceded by
Augustus Lowell
Trustee of Lowell Institute
Succeeded by
Ralph Lowell

  Results from FactBites:
Abbott Lawrence Lowell - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (906 words)
U.S. educator, historian, and President of Harvard University (1909–33), Abbott Lawrence Lowell (January 1, 1856–January 6, 1943) was born to Augustus Lowell and his wife Katherine Bigelow Lowell at the families 10 acre estate in Brookline, MA.
The Lowell's, a prominent Boston family, affectionately named this estate Sevenels for the fact that there were 7 members in their family.
They were the great-grandchildren of John Lowell and, on their mother's side, the grandchildren of Abbott Lawrence.
Lowell, Abbott Lawrence. The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001-05 (280 words)
Harvard (B.A., 1877; LL.B., 1880); brother of Percival Lowell and Amy Lowell.
To combat specialization, he introduced (1914) a modification of the elective system, established (1917) the requirement of a general examination in their major subject for candidates for the bachelor’s degree, and instituted (1917) the tutorial system for upper classmen.
Lowell is remembered for his spirited defense of academic freedom and for his advocacy of American participation in the League of Nations.
  More results at FactBites »



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