1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Low, Seth
LOW, SETH (1850- ), American administrator and educationist, was born in Brooklyn, New York, on the 18th of January 1850. He studied in the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn and in Columbia University, where he graduated in 1870. He became a clerk (1870) and then a partner (1875) in his father's tea and silk-importing house, A. A. Low & Brothers, which went out of business in 1888. In 1878 he organized, and became president of, the Brooklyn Bureau of Charities. In 1882-1886 he was mayor of the city of Brooklyn, being twice elected on an independent ticket; and by his administration of his office he demonstrated that a rigid “merit” civil-service system was practicable in September 1884 the first municipal civil-service rules in the United Service were adopted in Brooklyn. He was president of Columbia University from 1890 to 1901, and did much for it by his business administration, his liberality (he gave $1,000,000 for the erection of a library) and his especial interest in the department of Political Science. In his term Columbia became a well-organized and closely-knit university. Its official name was changed from Columbia College to Columbia University. It was removed to a new site on Morningside Heights, New York City. The New York College for the Training of Teachers became its Teachers' College of Columbia; a Faculty of Pure Science was added; the Medical School gave up its separate charter to become an integral part of the university; Barnard College became more closely allied with the university; relations were entered into between the university and the General, Union and Jewish theological seminaries of New York City and with Cooper Union, the Metropolitan Museum of Fine Arts and the American Museum of Natural History; and its faculty and student body became less local in character. Dr Low was a delegate to the Hague Peace Conference in 1899. He was prominent among those who brought about the chartering of Greater New York in 1897, and in this year was an unsuccessful candidate, on an independent ticket, for mayor of New York City; in 1900, on a fusion ticket, he was elected mayor and served in 1901-1903.