Thursday, January 6, 2022

A(bbott) Lawrence Lowell

TL;DR -- A(bbott) Lawrence Lowell served as President of Harvard after Eliot and before Conant. He changed the focus to be more scholarly and collegial with decisions like having the dormitory experience cut out the 'Gold Coasting' that had become the New England way, say as we saw with Boston Brahminship. 


We have been adding Heads of Harvard (Wikipedia) to our list (History of Harvard) while taking a brief look at each with respect to time and affiliations, such as family and connections to New England. Our research started with a recent President (James Bryant Conant) who followed Lowell, and we have done a few more. For each of those chosen so far, there was a motivation involved which we will document. 

A. Lawrence Lowell came to our attention due to his family ties. He has a large New England pedigree (Lowell- 642) according to the researchers at WikiTree. We will be checking that. However, we noticed, too, that not much has been written about Lowell. We have seen this of several Presidents.  

So, on looking further, we found that there is a page at the Harvard site titled "History of the Presidency" at which one can learn more about each person. Lowell helped move the culture such that a common spirit might develop. We learned that early classes were ranked by the social status of the family of the student. 

Lowell built dormitories and emphasized the need for students to live in these. Prior to that, how the student lived was, again, according to social status. One might say, the infamous 'Gold Coast' of the Boston Brahmins which had been encouraged by the prior President, Charles William Eliot. An example is the Adams House which became a dormitory - its website.  

Like the others, Lowell's time had its ups and downs. Example: Writing the Wrong (2005). Also, Lowell had accomplished siblings (Percival Lowell and Amy Lowell) and cousins (John Lowell Gardner). 


As we have gone through our look at the Heads of Harvard (Wikipedia), we have put together the following list of pointers to foster discussion which we are adding to the early posts after our first which was on James Bryant Conant (dated - 26 Aug 2021).  

This has been a very useful series with tons of work now pending to bring the 'real' history of the U.S. to fore as an example of what future work and analysis will involve. 


One person of note to our research is Col. T. W. Higginson who was old family and a Harvard graduate. He wrote of his lineage which he self-published in 1910. In that work, we have some sixty references to Harvard graduates, including two references to Presidents (Kirkland and Lowell). So, that is of interest. Some of the graduates were related by marriage to the family. The early Higginsons had an association with Theophilus Eaton who was the brother of Nathaniel. 
Remarks: Modified: 09/23/2022
01/07/2022 -- Doing, finally, a post on Boston Brahmins. Plus, Lowell paraphrased: every issue has a Harvard man on the wrong side. 

02/02/2022 -- Add 't' to Abbott. Put a link to the Wikipedia page. 

09/23/2022 -- Added list of links plus noted the relationship with John Thornton Kirkland. And, note about Col. T. W. H., who was a graduate as were many in his family. 

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