Augustus Lowell

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Bookplate of Augustus Lowell

Augustus Lowell (January 15, 1830 – 1900) was a businessman and philanthropist from Massachusetts. He was born in Boston to John Amory Lowell and his second wife Elizabeth Cabot Putnam. His great-grandfather, John Lowell, was among the first Judges for the newly created federal courts, appointed by Presidents George Washington and John Adams. Augustus' elder brother, Judge John Lowell, would be appointed to hold the same seats held by their great-grandfather, by Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Rutherford Hayes.


Lowell was amongst the fifth generation in his family to graduate from Harvard College, class of 1850. On June 1, 1854 he married Katherine Bigelow Lawrence, the daughter of Hon. Abbott Lawrence. Both Augustus and Katherine Lawrence Lowell were able to trace their ancestry back through the earliest colonial settlers and founders of New England, in the mid-17th century, and even further back to notable English families of the 12th and 13th centuries.

Mount Auburn Cemetery, Augustus Lowell

Augustus and Katherine Lowell had seven children and thus named their 10-acre (40,000 m2), Brookline, Massachusetts estate, Sevenels. The Lowells lost two of their children during infancy but their surviving children went on to great public prominence. Eldest son Percival Lowell wrote several books on the Far East and on the planet Mars, and founded the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. Their second son, Abbott Lawrence Lowell, succeeded Augustus as Trustee at the Lowell Institute in 1900, and became President of Harvard College in 1909, serving in that capacity until 1933. One of their daughters, Katharine Lowell, married (1) James Alfred Roosevelt, of the Long Island clan, and (2) T. James Bowlker, a Boston cotton mill owner. And their youngest daughter, Amy Lowell, 20 years younger than her brothers, would become the second celebrated poet in the Lowell family (Greenslet 1946).[1]


Augustus was Treasurer of the Merrimack Manufacturing Company, a textile mill in Lowell, Massachusetts, for much of his early career. In 1875, he became Treasurer of The Boott Cotton Mill, also in Lowell. And in 1883, he was Director of The Winnipiseogee Lake Cotton and Woolen Manufacturing Company. All were positions his father, John Amory, had once held within the same companies.[2] He was also, as of 1878, a director of the Pacific Mills in Lawrence, Massachusetts, the largest textile combine of its time.[3]

Lowell was also a member of the Corporation of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Vice President of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1881, Augustus was appointed as the sole Trustee of the Lowell Institute, upon his father's death (Lowell 1899, pp 118–119),[4] a position he would hold for the last 20 years of his life.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Greenslet, Ferris. (1946) The Lowells and Their Seven Worlds, Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-89760-263-3.
  2. ^ Bay State Monthly, Vol. I, No. 3, March, 1884
  3. ^ Quarter-centennial history of Lawrence, Massachusetts : with portraits and biographical sketches of ex-mayors, the board of may [database on-line]. Provo, UT: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005. Original data: Wadsworth, H. A.. Quarter-centennial history of Lawrence, Massachusetts : with portraits and biographical sketches of ex-mayors, the board of mayor and aldermen for the present year, other leading officials, and a representation of business and professional men. Lawrence, Mass.: H. Reed, Lawrence Eagle Steam Job Print. Office, 1878, page 96.
  4. ^ Lowell, Delmar. (1899) The Historic Genealogy of the Lowells of America from 1639 to 1899, Rutland VT: The Tuttle Company. ISBN 978-0-7884-1567-8.

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Preceded by
John Amory Lowell
Trustee of Lowell Institute
Succeeded by
A. Lawrence Lowell