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Roving Rube

August 14, 2003

Lowell fountain, Bryant Park

What's New

We like how the water runs all the way down the underside of the bowl on this one.

At the western gateway to the park is the pink granite Josephine Shaw Lowell Memorial Fountain, dedicated in 1912. This was the citys first public memorial dedicated to a woman. Lowell (1843-1905) was a social worker and founder of the Charity Organization Society. Charles Adams Platt designed the fountain. (from

The highlights of her achievements during her lifetime are as follows: Improved care for the insane; work for dependent children and widows; improved reformatories; police matrons for women prisoners; work for the emancipation of labor; settlement house advocate; civil service reformer; consumers league organizer, and anti-imperialist leader...

She always dressed in black and believed first in her duties toward home...Josephine was opposed to both the Spanish-American and Philippine-American wars. "We paid a bitter price to free ourselves from the sin of slavery, and the nation will again pay a bitter price to free itself from the sin of empire, if, driven by fear of financial distress or lured by hope of wealth, it now deserts its ancient ideals." In this fight she did not prevail, but her ideas certainly made an impact. She died from an incurable disease in 1905.

The memorial service to Josephine Shaw Lowell had hundreds of attendees and at least 50 eulogies, as well as write-ups in the daily newspapers. She was remembered in the Outlook as "devoted herself to public affairs without sacrificing her womanliness." There is a permanent memorial to Josephine Shaw Lowell in Bryant Park in NYC. It is a classical style granite fountain dedicated shortly after her death. (by Susan McAnanama, "Staten Island True Women - Social Reformer and Church Lay Leader")

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