Come Join The Brooklyn Young Republican Club On Saturday Jan 19,2013 As We Celebrate The 163rd Birthday Of Our Club’s First President Seth Low.
Posted by Brooklyn Young Republican Club
Today Friday Jan 18, 2013 marks the 163rd Birthday of the Brooklyn Young Republican Club’s first President Seth Low.
We Will also be discussing historical facts about the Brooklyn Young Republican Club that you never knew before. We will meet by the visitor center by the main Archway at Fifth Avenue and 25th street. For more directions: http://www.green-wood.com/
|92nd Mayor of New York City|
January 1, 1902 – December 31, 1903
|Preceded by||Robert Anderson Van Wyck|
|Succeeded by||George Brinton McClellan, Jr.|
|Born||(1850-01-18)January 18, 1850
Brooklyn, New York
|Died||17 September 1916(1916-09-17) (aged 66)
Bedford Hills, New York
Seth Low (January 18, 1850 – September 17, 1916), born in Brooklyn, New York, was an American educator and political figure who served as mayor of Brooklyn, as President of Columbia University, as President of the Brooklyn Young Republican Club, as diplomatic representative of the United States, and as Mayor of New York City. He was a leading municipal reformer during the Progressive Era.
He was the son of Abiel Abbot Low and Ellen (Dow) Low. Low’s father was a leading China trader, and his father’s sister, Harriet Low, was one of the first young American women to live in China. Low attended the Polytechnic Preparatory (now Poly Prep Country Day School) high school in Brooklyn and Columbia College. After graduating from Columbia in 1870, Low made a short trip abroad, and then entered the tea and silk house of A. A. Low & Brothers, which had been founded by his father in New York. In 1875, he was admitted a member of the firm, from which, upon its liquidation in 1888, he withdrew with a large fortune. On December 9, 1880 he married Anne Wroe Scollay Curtis of Boston, daughter of Justice Benjamin R. Curtis of the United States Supreme Court. They had no biological children, but adopted two nieces and a nephew.
Mayor of Brooklyn
Low became mayor of Brooklyn, in 1881, following in the footsteps of his paternal grandfather, who was Brooklyn’s mayor earlier in the century. He served two terms until 1885, and seemed to have been a popular leader, but his support of Grover Cleveland in 1884 caused a rift with his fellow Republicans and cost him a third term. During his tenure as mayor, he served as a member of board of the New York Bridge Company, the company that built the Brooklyn Bridge, and led an unsuccessful effort to remove Washington Roebling as the chief engineer of the project.
President of Columbia University
Following his tenure as mayor of Brooklyn, Low assumed the presidency of Columbia College, serving between 1890 and 1901. Not an educator in the specific meaning of the word, he succeeded by his administrative skill in transforming the institution. He led the move of the institution from Midtown Manhattan to Morningside Heights, and secured trustee approval to change its name to “Columbia University”. The new campus matched Low’s vision of a civic university fully integrated into the city; the original design, subsequently reconceived, left it open to the street and surrounding neighborhoods.
To forge a university, Low vitally united the various schools into one organization whose direction was moved from the separate faculties to a university council. Further reforms effected by him include the reorganization of the Law School, the addition of a faculty of pure science, the association with the university of the Teachers College, and the extension of the department of political and social study. In 1895, he gave one million dollars of his inheritance from his father for Low Memorial Library to be built at the new Columbia University campus. It was dedicated to his father, and opened in 1897.
International Peace Conference
On July 4, 1899 he was one of the American delegates to attend the International Peace Conference at The Hague. Others in the delegation were Andrew D. White, then the United States Ambassador to the German Empire; Stanford Newel of Minnesota, then the United States Minister to the Netherlands; Captain Alfred Mahan, of the United States Navy; Captain William Crozier, of the United States Army; and Frederick Holls of New York.
At the conference, Low made the concluding speech. His remarks were printed two months later in The New York Times. He said:
- “On this day, so full for Americans of thoughts connected with their National Independence, we may not forget that Americans have yet other grounds for gratitude to the people of the Netherlands. We cannot forget that our flag received its first foreign salute from a Dutch officer, nor that the Province of Friesland gave to our independence its first formal recognition. By way of Leyden and Delft-Haven and Plymouth Rock, and again by way of New Amsterdam, the free public school reached American shores.
- “The United States of America have taken their name from the United States of the Netherlands. We have learned from you only that ‘in union there is strength’; that is an old lesson, but also, in large measure, how to make ‘One out of many’. From you we have learned what we, at least, value, to separate Church and State; and from you we gather inspiration at all times in our devotion to learning, to religious liberty, and to individual and National freedom. These are some of the things for which we believe the American people owe no little gratitude to the Dutch; and these are the things for which today, speaking in the name of the American people, we venture to express their heartfelt thanks.”
Mayor of New York City
Low’s first campaign for mayor of consolidated New York in 1897 was unsuccessful, partially because of a division among anti-Tammany Hall candidates and parties. However, four years later, he managed to attain office.
During his 1901 campaign, he had the support of humorist Mark Twain. He and Twain made a joint appearance that The New York Times, on October 30, 1901, said drew a crowd of more than 2,000. “Ten minutes before the opening of the meeting the rush of those trying to crowd into the already packed hall became so threatening that a half dozen policemen at the entrance were almost carried off their feet, and were forced, by way of precaution, to close the doors,” said the Times. “Within the hall every available inch of space was called into requisition. Men and boys climbed up the latticework surrounding the elevator at one side of the hall, and climbed up on window sills and wherever there was an inch to give a foothold above the heads of the rest of the men.”
In 1902, Low resigned as president of the university to become the second mayor of the newly consolidated City of New York. He stands out as the first mayor of Greater New York to be elected on a fusion ticket, with the support of both the Citizens Union and Republican parties. Some of his notable achievements include the introduction of a civil service system — based upon merit — for hiring municipal employees, reducing widespread graft within the police department, improving the system of education within the city, and lowering taxes. Despite these seemingly impressive achievements he only served for two years, and was defeated in 1903 by Democrat George B. McClellan, Jr..
He was chairman of the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama from 1907 until his death in 1916. From 1907, he was also president of the business-labor alliance the National Civic Federation. Even though he believed in collective bargaining rights, which had customarily been denied to labor unions by those in authority, he did not favor strikes, but rather embraced arbitration as a suitable labor-management negotiation tactic. He was a founder and the first president of the Bureau of Charities of Brooklyn, and was elected vice-president of the New York Academy of Sciences and president of the Archaeological Institute of America.
Low became interested in the food supply problem, that is its contribution to the constantly increasing cost of living. He became convinced that this difficulty could best be solved by democratic cooperation among farmers and consumers. He was president of the Bedford Farmers’ Cooperative Association. He was also one of the founders of the Cooperative Wholesale Corporation of New York City, an organization which sought to bring about a business federation of all the consumers’ cooperative store societies in the eastern United States, but not being in sympathy with the radical tendency of this phase of the cooperative movement, he finally resigned and devoted himself entirely to the agricultural phase of cooperation. Low was also a trustee of the Carnegie Institute of Washington, D.C.
On September 17, 1916, Low died in his home in Bedford Hills, New York. Even his funeral demonstrated the ability of Low to reach political consensus, with honorary pallbearers that included both financier and philanthropist John Pierpont Morgan, Jr. and labor activist and AFL founder Samuel Gompers