Low, Seth

Low, Seth,

1850–1916, American political reformer and college president, b. Brooklyn, N.Y., grad. Columbia, 1870. He entered his father's tea and silk importing firm, but became interested in politics and was reform mayor of the city of Brooklyn for two terms (1882–86). His support of Grover Cleveland in 1884 angered his fellow Republicans and cost Low a third term. As president of Columbia (1889–1901) he reorganized the existing schools, added to their number, increased affiliations with other institutions, supervised the removal of the university to Morningside Heights (1897), and gave it a library building in memory of his father. In 1901 he was elected mayor of Greater New York City (including the present five boroughs) as Fusion candidate against Tammany, then under Richard CrokerCroker, Richard,
1841–1922, American politician, head of Tammany Hall from 1886 to 1902, b. Co. Cork, Ireland. He became prominent as Democratic leader of New York City's East Side and as an aide of John Kelly.
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. He reformed the police and education departments, reorganized the city finances, compelled the electrification of the New York Central RR within the city, and attacked the continued existence of unsanitary tenements. He was not reelected. Low was a delegate to the First Hague Conference.


See biographies by his nephew Benjamin R. C. Low (1925, repr. 1971) and G. Kurland (1971).

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Low, Seth

(1850–1916) college president, merchant; born in Brooklyn, N.Y. A successful merchant, he developed public schools and transportation and a permanent civil service as mayor of Brooklyn (1881–86) and New York City (1901–03). As president of Columbia College (later University) (1890–1901) he bought the Morningside Heights site. Columbia's Low Library is named after him.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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Stating that it was a challenging quarter as demand was low, Seth said that the company had to increase efforts to woo customers.
Abiel Abbot Low, Seth's brother and a descendant of the founder of A.