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Low, Seth (18 January 1850–17 September 1916), reform mayor and university president, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Abiel Abbot Low, a merchant, and Ellen Almira Dow. Low’s mother died a week after his birth, and two years later his father married Ann Davison Bedell Low, the widow of Low’s uncle. Low had all the advantages of wealth and social status: he enjoyed a home in fashionable Brooklyn Heights, summers spent in New England, and travel in Europe. After graduating first in his class from Columbia College in 1870, he joined his father’s tea and silk importing firm, A. A. Low and Brothers, eventually becoming a full partner. On 9 December 1880 he married Annie Wroe Scollay Curtis; they had no children....

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Quincy, Josiah (04 February 1772–01 July 1864), Federalist congressman, Boston mayor, and president of Harvard, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Josiah Quincy, Jr., a lawyer and revolutionary pamphleteer, and Abigail Phillips. Quincy’s father died in 1775, leaving him to be raised by his mother and grandfather, Colonel Josiah Quincy. At age six he was sent off to Phillips Academy, where he submitted to a regimen of Calvinist doctrine and corporal punishment. In 1786 he enrolled at Harvard, where eleven Phillipses and ten Quincys had preceded him. There he became a Unitarian and class orator....