Guide to the Alexander Lowy Collection, 1911-1959 UA.90.F91

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ULS Archives & Special Collections

Summary Information

Repository
ULS Archives & Special Collections
Title
Alexander Lowy Collection
Creator
Lowy, Alexander, 1889-1941
Collection Number
UA.90.F91
Date
1911-1959
Extent
2.0 linear feet (3 boxes)
Abstract
Dr. Alexander Lowy was a Professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh from 1918 to 1941. He held 16 patents as well as being a prodigious writer, authoring over 90 articles and other technical documents. Digital reproductions of the collection are available online.

Preferred Citation

Alexander Lowy Collection, 1911-1959, UA.90.F91, University Archives, Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System

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Biography

Dr. Alexander Lowy was a pioneering organic chemist and scientific visionary who mentored many worthy students and inspired them to embark on their own personal journeys in chemistry and research. Born in Hungary in 1889, he immigrated to America with his family in 1901, arriving at Ellis Island. He received his early education in the New York City public schools, then matriculated to Columbia University, earning his Bachelor of Science in 1911, his Master of Arts in 1912, and his Ph.D. in 1915. That same year, be married Dora Landberg.

Dr. Lowy's association with the University of Pittsburgh began in 1918 as an assistant professor of organic chemistry. In 1921, he was promoted to a full professor, and served the University in that capacity for the remainder of his career.

In 1919, he helped to found the Psi Chapter of Sigma Alpha Mu at the University, and served as its faculty advisor for over 20 years. The mission of Sigma Alpha Mu is to foster the development of collegiate men and alumni by instilling strong fraternal values, offering social service opportunities, and teaching leadership skills. In 1931, the new pledges presented Dr. Lowy with a Scholarship Cup. Dr. Lowy stated in his acceptance speech, "I accept this cup but on the condition that it be presented to the entire alumni body. There is no one man that is the fraternity, and for that reason, I accept this cup on behalf of the entire fraternity." The cup then became known as the Inter-Fraternity Scholarship Cup. Dr. Lowy soon became involved with the national organization of Sigma Alpha Mu, serving on its governing body, the Octagon, in 1935, and as National Scholarship Chairman in 1937. Following his death, Sigma Alpha Mu's Inter-Fraternity Scholarship Cup was renamed the Dr. Alexander Lowy Scholarship Cup, which was then awarded annually to one of the chapters until the mid-1960s. In honor of Dr. Lowy, the fraternity reinstituted this recognition of academic excellence in his name in 2011.

Dr. Lowy was internationally recognized for his expertise in electro-organic chemistry, coal combustion, protective chemistry, explosives and disabling chemicals. His wide-ranging research included everything from explosives and tear gas for the World War II effort, to chocolates and flavors for toothpaste. Throughout his career, he authored nearly 100 publications and received 16 patents. He co-authored An Introduction to Organic Chemistry, a college textbook which was widely used for decades.

During his tenure at the University, Dr. Lowy was a beloved mentor who gave freely of his time and advice and showed a genuine and sincere interest in his students. Over 50 of his students later made significant contributions to the field of chemistry during their careers.

Dr. Lowy died on Christmas Day in 1941 at the age of 52. As noted by one of his students, his untimely death "left in the hearts of all who knew him, a gap that cannot be filled." In loving memory of Dr. Lowy, his wife, Dora, and their son, Dr. Alexander Lowy, Jr., made a gift to the University in 1958 to establish the Alexander Lowy Memorial Seminar Room (the "Lowy Room") located in George Hubbard Clapp Hall, which was formally dedicated on May 25, 1959, in a ceremony presided by Chancellor Edward H. Litchfield. That room was later moved and now resides in Eberly Hall; it was officially dedicated on May 4, 2012.

Much more information of the life and times of Dr. Lowy is available on the Alexander Lowy, Ph.D. website created and maintained by Dr. Lowy's grandson, David Fleishman.

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Scope and Content Notes

This collection consists of 14 of 16 patents that Dr. Lowy secured for his research, some memorabilia from his college years, and materials related to the dedication of the Alexander Lowy Memorial Seminar Room in Langley Hall on May 25, 1959. In addition there is a collection of the various editions of the books that he authored.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

ULS Archives & Special Collections, May 2012

University of Pittsburgh Library System
Archives & Special Collections
Website: library.pitt.edu/archives-special-collections
412-648-3232 (ASC) | 412-648-8190 (Hillman)
Contact Us: www.library.pitt.edu/ask-archivist

Access Restrictions

No restrictions.

Copyright

The University of Pittsburgh holds the property rights to the material in this collection, but the copyright may still be held by the original creator/author. Researchers are therefore advised to follow the regulations set forth in the U.S. Copyright Code when publishing, quoting, or reproducing material from this collection without the consent of the creator/author or that go beyond what is allowed by fair use.

Acquisition Information

Gift from M. Alexander Lowy, Alexander Hersh, Howard William Lowy, and A. Martin Fleishman on July 1, 2011.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Marianne Kasica in April 2012.

Existence and Location of Copies

Digital reproductions of the collection are available online.

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Related Materials

Related Material

"Coal: A Factor in Industry and Health" by Alexander Lowy in  A brief course of six talks and bibliography on the Role of chemistry in every-day life, Pittsburgh, Pa: University of Pittsburgh, c1924.

"Dyes as a Civilizing Factor" by Alexander Lowy in  A series of seven radio talks on Chemistry and human progress (with select bibliographies), Pittsburgh, Pa: University of Pittsburgh, c1926.

"Making Medicines" by Alexander Lowy in  A series of eight radio talks entitled Leaves from the notebook of the chemist (with select bibliographies), Pittsburgh, Pa: University of Pittsburgh, 1928.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Sigma Alpha Mu. Psi Chapter (University of Pittsburgh).
  • Sigma Alpha Mu.
  • University of Pittsburgh. -- Faculty

Genre(s)

  • Patents

Personal Name(s)

  • Lowy, Alexander, 1889-1941

Subject(s)

  • Chemistry -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Chemistry, Organic -- Patents
  • Chemistry, Organic -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Chemists -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Faculty papers
  • University of Pittsburgh

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Previous Citation

Alexander Lowy Collection, 1911-1959, UA.90.F91, University Archives, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh

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Collection Inventory

Series  I. Columbia College, 1911-1912, 1915 

Scope and Content Notes

Alexander Lowy attended Columbia College, part of Columbia University in the City of New York, receiving all three of his degrees from this institution. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in 1911, a Master of Arts degree in 1912, and a Ph.D. in 1915.

  BoxFolder
Columbia College Graduating Class 11
Photograph
  BoxItem
"A History of the Columbia College Class of 1911, Volume 1, The Senior Year Book" 21
Portrait of Alexander Lowy [excerpt from book]

Diplomas 

  BoxFolder
B.S. from Columbia College, June 7, 1911 12
B.S. diploma
  Folder
Masters from Columbia College [Latin], 1912 3
Masters diploma
  Folder
Ph.D. from Columbia University, June 2, 1915 4
Ph.D. diploma

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Series  II. Patents, 1926-1939 

Scope and Content Notes

Alexander Lowy applied for and secured 15 U.S. patents and one Canadian patent between 1926-1939. This collection only contains 14 of the 16 patents. Please note that only the front covers of the individual patents were digitized.

  BoxFolder
Processes of preserving, June 1, 1926 14
US Patent 1587485
  Folder
Processes of preserving and the product resulting therefrom, May 3, 1927 5
Canadian Patent 270278
  Folder
Processes of and apparatus for locating obstructions in pipe lines carrying fluids, March 13, 1928 6
US Patent 1662429
  Folder
Processes for disinfecting and apparatus therefor, July 2, 1929 7
US Patent 1719185
  Folder
Garbage cans and processes of preventing development of maggots therein, July 2, 1929 8
US Patent 1719186
  Folder
Bottle closures, August 20, 1929 9
US Patent 1725092
  Folder
Gas-protected vaults and safes, April 7, 1931  10
US Patent 1799207
  Folder
Gas liberating charges, January 19, 1932 11
US Patent 1842369
  Folder
Fog gas cartridges, May 16, 1933 12
US Patent 1909776
  Folder
Safe and vault protective devices, August 27, 1935 13
US Patent 2012453
  Folder
Hand grenade, September 28, 1937 14
US Patent 2094561
  Folder
Hand grenade, September 28, 1937 15
US Patent 2094562
  Folder
Gas dispersing projectiles, October 19, 1937 16
US Patent 2096698
  Folder
Methods of restoring inked documents, December 5, 1939 17
US Patent 2182672
  Folder
Assignment of Patents 18
Assignment

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Series  III. Lowy Room Dedication, May 25, 1959 

Scope and Content Notes

On May 25, 1959, the Alexander Lowy Memorial Seminar Room in Clapp Hall was officially dedicated as a lasting tribute to Dr. Lowy. The room continued to memorialize the late professor until May 4, 2012 when a new room was dedicated in Eberly Hall on this date. The scrapbook is included here since it was placed in the room in Clapp Hall at its dedication. Please note that only selected portions of the dedication ceremonies and scrapbook were digitized. The photograph was enlarged and hung in the new room.

  BoxFolder
Phonorecord of the Dedication Ceremonies of the Alexander Lowy Memorial Seminar Room [available on DVD], May 25, 1959 11
("Phonorecord of the Dedication Ceremonies of the Alexander Lowy Memorial Seminar Room," online pending)
  BoxItem
Dedication Ceremonies, Alexander Lowy Memorial Seminar Room, Clapp Hall, University of Pittsburgh, May 25, 1959 22
Selected pages
  Item
Scrapbook containing letters of condolences, obituaries, etc. for Alexander Lowy, December 26, 1941-April 30, 1942 3
Selected pages
  Item
Photograph of a young Alexander Lowy in laboratory, undated 4
  Item
Dedication Program, Alexander Lowy Memorial Seminar Room [Eberly Hall], May 4, 2012 5
  BoxFolder
Obituary and Room Article 22

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Series  IV. Books and Articles 

Scope and Content Notes

Dr. Lowy authored or co-authored eight books or chapters, including Study Questions in Elementary Organic Chemistry, 1922;  An Introduction to Organic Chemistry, 1924, 1928, 1932, 1936, 1940, 1945, 1951;  Organic Type Formulas;  Organic Type Reactions Known by Their Originator’s Names;  Coal Products Chart, 1922-24;  A Laboratory Book of Elementary Organic Chemistry, 1926, 1934, 1949;  Industrial Organic Chemicals and Dye Intermediates, 1935; and  Roger’s Manual of Industrial Chemistry, 1940.

This collection contains the following 13 titles:

  Box
Lowy, Alexander and Harrow, Benjamin. An Introduction to Organic Chemistry. New York : Wiley, 1924. Online 3
Lowy, Alexander and Harrow, Benjamin. An Introduction to Organic Chemistry, 2nd ed. New York : Wiley, 1924, 1928. 
Lowy, Alexander and Harrow, Benjamin. An Introduction to Organic Chemistry, 3rd ed. New York : Wiley, 1924, 1932. 
Lowy, Alexander and Harrow, Benjamin. An Introduction to Organic Chemistry, 4th ed. New York : Wiley, 1924, 1936. 
Lowy, Alexander and Harrow, Benjamin. An Introduction to Organic Chemistry, 5th ed. New York : Wiley, 1924, 1940. 
Lowy, Alexander and Harrow, Benjamin. An Introduction to Organic Chemistry, 6th ed. (revised by Benjamin Harrow and Percy M. Apfelbaum) New York : Wiley, 1924, 1945. 
Lowy, Alexander and Harrow, Benjamin. An Introduction to Organic Chemistry, 7th ed. New York : Wiley, 1924, 1951. 
Lowy, Alexander and Harrow, Benjamin. An Introduction to Organic Chemistry, 7th ed. New York : Wiley (Taipei, Taiwan : Mei Ya), 1924, 1966. 
Lowy, Alexander and Baldwin, Wilmer E. A Laboratory Book of Elementary Organic Chemistry. New York : Wiley, 1926. (inscr to Silverman and signed by Lowy and Baldwin) 
Lowy, Alexander and Baldwin, Wilmer E. A Laboratory Book of Elementary Organic Chemistry, 2nd ed. New York : Wiley, 1936. 
Lowy, Alexander and Baldwin, Wilmer E. A Laboratory Book of Elementary Organic Chemistry, 3rd ed. New York : Wiley, 1949. 
Lowy, Alexander and Downey, Thomas B. Study Questions in Elementary Organic Chemistry. New York : Van Nostrand, 1921 
Furnas, C. C. Roger’s Industrial Chemistry, 6th ed, 2 v. Princeton, NJ : Van Nostrand, 1942. (Lowy Signature) 
  BoxFolder
Dinitro Ortho Phthallic Acids (Dissertation notes), 1912 31-2
Notes on Dinitro Ortho Phthallic Acids Dinitro-Ortho-Phthallic Acids and Their Derivatives
  Folder
Reprints 3

Purification of Abietic Acid... Comparison of American and European Final Exams Catalytic Ammonolysis of Beta-Naphthol... Some Derivatives of 2,4 Dinitro-Benzaldehyde Derivatives of Para-Nitro-Benzaldehyde Electrolytic Preparation of Salicylic Aldehyde...with discussion Catalytic Reduction of Alpha-NitroNaphthalene... Electrolytic Oxidation of Isoeugenol Electrolytic Reduction of Beta-Anthroquinone Sulfonic Acid

  Folder
Publishing 4

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