Josephine Shaw LowellJosephine Shaw Lowell
American Philanthropist and Social Worker
1843 – 1905 A.D.

Josephine Shaw Lowell, an American philanthropist and social worker, born at West Roxbury, Mass. In 1863 she married Col. Charles Russell Lowell, who was killed in the battle of Cedar Creek, Va., 1864

Grief at her husband’s loss was not permitted to paralize [sic] her energies, and she soon began her work for the alleviation of human misery, which was to last for more than forty years. Governor Tilden’s appointment of Mrs. Lowell in 1876, when she was only thirty-two years old, as the first woman commissioner of the New York State Board of Charities, came as a well merited recognition of the public services she had already performed. She was reappointed by several succeeding governors, her period of service extending from 1877 until 1889. The remainder of her life was passed in active philanthropic work, particularly prison reform.

Joseph H. Choate said of her: “If you should ask me to sum up in one word the life and character of Mrs. Lowell, I should call it Consecration.” Theodore Roosevelt said: “She had a sweet, unworldly character; and never man nor woman ever strode for loftier ideals.”


Reference: Famous Women; An Outline of Feminine Achievement Through the Ages With Life Stories of Five Hundred Noted Women By Joseph Adelman. Copyright, 1926 by Ellis M. Lonow Company.

Quote by Josephine Shaw Lowell