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Esther Lowenthal Papers, 1911-1997
3 boxes (1.225 linear ft.)
Collection number: RG 42

Abstract:
Professor, Economics. Contains biographical materials, correspondence, speeches, publications, photographs, and notebooks.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

The records are open for research according to the regulations of the Smith College Archives without any additional restrictions.

Restrictions on use:

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the Esther Lowenthal Papers must be requested from the Smith College Archives. Official Smith correspondence and documents are copyrighted by the Smith College Archives. Provenance and copyright ownership of materials is unknown and researchers are responsible for determining any question of copyright.

Smith College Archives
Northampton, MA

Biographical Note

Esther Lowenthal was born on September 15, 1883 in Rochester, New York on to Louise and Max Lowenthal. Her father was one of the founders of the Mechanics Institute, now known as the Rochester Institute of Technology. Lowenthal graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 1905, then went on to study economics at Oxford University. She received her Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1911. While at Columbia, the university published her dissertation The Ricardian Socialists, which studied the work of socialist economists such as William Thompson, John Grey, Thomas Hodgskin, and John Francis Bay, between 1820 and 1840, and the significant place they occupy in the history of socialist theory.

Lowenthal joined Smith College in 1911 as an assistant in the Department of Economics and Sociology, and was made a full professor of economics in 1921. In 1925, she became the Robert A. Woods Professor of Economics. She served as chairman of the department until her retirement in 1952. From 1946 to 1948, while she filled the role of dean of the college, she focused primarily on educational policy and curriculum. Lowenthal also served as chair of the Council on Industrial Studies, as well as president of the Smith Chapter of the American Association of University Professors. She was recognized by Bryn Mawr in 1960 for distinguished service. At the time of her retirement, a fund from former students and friends was presented to the college to provide an Esther Lowenthal Scholarship for a student in economics.

Lowenthal was a specialist in public finance, especially government expenditures and revenues, and modern forms of taxation. She was also an active speakers in the community on subjects such as taxes, New Deal programs, and the relation of government to industry. She was also a strong supporter of the local services provided by United Way. In her will, she bequeathed $5,000 to the local United Way agency, thus establishing the Esther Lowenthal Memorial Fund.

Lowenthal died in a Rochester nursing home after a long illness on May 18, 1980 at the age of 96.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Esther Lowenthal Papers cover a period from 1911 to 1997. The majority of the materials are from 1909 to 1950, when Lowenthal was enrolled at Columbia University and served on the faculty of Smith College. Most of the material is composed of correspondence, speeches, publications, and student notebooks. Other types of materials represented in this collection include news articles and photographs.

The biographical materials contain mostly newspaper articles and news releases on Lowenthal. As she was an active member of the Smith community, several newspapers from nearby towns, such as Holyoke and Springfield, have articles on her speeches and activities. There is also a personal contribution to the Smith College Archives by Esther Lowenthal herself, on her first impression of Smith when she arrived from Rochester, New York in 1911. There is also a certificate from Bryn Mawr College honoring Lowenthal for her distinguished service.

The correspondence ranges in date from 1937 to 1952, and includes handwritten letters and typewritten memorandums. Most of the memorandums are reports on academic changes. There is one handwritten letter to Lowenthal regarding a book the writer was critiquing. This series does not contain very much material.

Lowenthal's speeches and publications, dating from 1911 to 1949, comprise the largest part of the collection. The speeches are directed at a variety of audiences, ranging from faculty and students to the Commencement speech of 1948 Lowenthal delivered in place of President Herbert Davis. Almost all the speeches are typewritten. Publications include, most notably, Esther Lowenthal's dissertation while at Columbia The Ricardian Socialists and her pamphlet Labor Policy of Oneida Community Ltd."

All of the photographs of Lowenthal depict her in her more mature years. She is alone in the pictures, all of which are posed, and often has a pensive expression on her face.


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

The records are open for research according to the regulations of the Smith College Archives without any additional restrictions.

Restrictions on use:

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the Esther Lowenthal Papers must be requested from the Smith College Archives. Official Smith correspondence and documents are copyrighted by the Smith College Archives. Provenance and copyright ownership of materials is unknown and researchers are responsible for determining any question of copyright.

Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

Esther Lowenthal Papers, Box #, Smith College Archives.

Additional Formats

12. TR 42.Lowenthal - a tape recording where Lowenthal recounts her experiences as a Professor of Economics at Smith College in 1911-52.

History of the Collection

Processing Information

The Esther Lowenthal Papers were processed by Katrina Cokeng, '02, CDO Archival Intern in 1999-2000.


Additional Information
Contact Information
Smith College Archives
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: (413) 585-2970
Fax: (413) 585-2886

Email: nyoung@smith.edu
URL: http://www.smith.edu/libraries/libs/archives

Language
English.