Lowell, John Amory

Boston businessman & philanthropist, 1st Lowell Institute trustee 1839-81, Harvard Fellow 1837-77

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Description:
(1798-1881) Boston businessman and philanthropist, became sole trustee of the Lowell Institute 1839-81 when his cousin, John Lowell Jr. (1799–1836), the Institute's endower, died. John Amory was among the first generation of Lowells born in Boston, and 5th generation born in America. Paternal grandfather John Lowell (1743-1802), was a Federal Judge appointed by President Washington and is considered the founding father of the Boston Lowells. Like his father and grandfathers before him, Lowell would be the4th member in his family to graduate from Harvard College in 1815. After spending an extended time traveling through Europe then establishing himself as a successful merchant in Boston, Lowell married his 1st wife, Susan Cabot Lowell (1801–1827), daughter of his uncle. Their son John would be appointed to the US District Court in 1865 by President Lincoln, and, in 1878, appointed to the US Circuit Court by President Hayes. Grandson, James Arnold Lowell, would also become a Federal judge. Susan Cabot Lowell would connect their children and their descendants to those of the Holmeses of Boston (poet Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. and jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.). John Amory's 2nd wife, Elizabeth Cabot Putnam (1807–1881), gave him a son and 3 daughters. Augustus Lowell became a very successful business man and would succeeded his father as the 2nd trustee of the Lowell Institute. John Amory's grandchildren, through Elizabeth Cabot, included author and astronomer Percival Lowell, Harvard President Abbott Lawrence Lowell, and poet Amy Lowell. In 1835 and 1838, John Amory became Treasurer of both the Merrimack Manufacturing Co. and Boott Cotton Mill, textile mills in Lowell, Mass. In 1857, he became Director of The Winnipiseogee Lake Cotton and Woolen Manufacturing Co. He was a Fellow of Harvard College 1837-77, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a member of the Linnean Society of London. In 1851, Harvard honored John Amory with an LLD. The Trust, or Lowell Institute, as it came to be known, had an unusual mode of governance: a single trustee empowered to appoint his successor and who was, in the language of John Lowell Jr.'s will, to "always choose in preference to all others some male descendant of my grandfather, John Lowell, provided there be one who is competent to hold the office of trustee, and of the name of Lowell." Despite this restriction (or perhaps because of it), the Institute became an extraordinarily innovative philanthropic force. Lowell was both a man of extraordinary financial acumen and a man of high intellect and under him, its 1st trustee, the Institute flourished. The list of Lowell Lecturers during his tenure included the most internationally celebrated figures in science, literature, politics, economics, philosophy, and theology, including Britain’s most celebrated geologist, Sir Charles Lyell, Swiss naturalist Louis Agassiz, and novelists Charles Dickens and Wm. Makepeace Thackeray. The inagural lecture was given by Edward Everett on Dec. 31, 1839. The lectures were so immensely popular that crowds crushed the windows of the Old Corner Bookstore where tickets were distributed and certain series had to be repeated by popular demand. John Amory led the Lowell Institute for 40+ years before naming son Augustus as his replacement. During the mid-20th century, the Lowell Institute entered the broadcasting business, forming WGBH-FM radio station in 1952 and the WGBH-TV station in 1955. The WGBH Educational Foundation is now one of the largest public television and radio producers in the US. Uncommon SP, 4 1/4 x 2 1/2 seated sepia carte-de-visite photograph in older age signed at lower white border; no studio mark.

Condition: Very good, mount remnants verso
Type:Photograph






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