Abbott Lawrence Lowell (1856 - 1943)

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Birthplace: Boston, Suffolk, MA, USA
Death: Died in Boston, Suffolk, MA, USA
Managed by: Sarah Hamilton Burns
Last Updated:

About Abbott Lawrence Lowell

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).

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).

In 1897, Lowell 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.

Lowell's election as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters reflects the regard in which he was held in his own lifetime.

Lowell served as president of Harvard University from 1909 to 1933 (24 years), a span only surpassed by his predecessors Charles William Eliot (40 years) and Edward Holyoke (32).

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.

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.

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.

Lowell's contributions to Harvard and to American society have been revisited in the years since his death. Many have denounced Lowell for a wide variety of actions and statements which reflected his apparent bigotry towards homosexuals, women, 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. -------------------- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abbott_Lawrence_Lowell -------------------- He graduated from Harvard Law School and later was President of Harvard from 1909-1933.

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Abbott Lawrence Lowell's Timeline

1856
December 13, 1856
Boston, Suffolk, MA, USA
1879
June 19, 1879
Age 22
Needham, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States
1943
January 6, 1943
Age 86
Boston, Suffolk, MA, USA
????
Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States