Lowrie, Sarah Dickson, 1870-1957
Sarah Dickson Lowrie (1870-1957) was a lifelong observer and commentator of Philadelphia and activist. In addition to her position with the Philadelphia Public Ledger, Lowrie was one of the original members of the women's Committee of 1926. Organized at the mayor's invitation, the Committee took an active role in the second world's fair hosted by Philadelphia to commemorate the country's sesqui-centennial celebration of independence. Their project "High Street" was Lowrie's idea and took its title from the original name of the main thoroughfare that divides the city north and south. The project involved a re-creation of a late 18th century cityscape that included the building of 20 replica houses. After the sesqui-centennial, the Committee of 1926 took on the restoration, furnishing and administering of Strawberry Mansion, one of the 18th-century homes in Fairmount Park. The Committee continues to administer the home today. Lowrie served as its corresponding secretary and during the 1930s she and Museum director Fiske Kimball exchanged letters regarding certain furnishings for the house. Lowrie also wrote or was co-editor of three titles published for the Committee of 1926. Her subjects were "Notable Women of Pennsylvania," High Street and Strawberry Mansion. Lowrie was also active in social reform. Using a dinner party of the retail magnate and fellow reformer John Wanamaker as her stage, Lowrie proposed the establishment of public baths to improve the sanitation conditions of the working poor. The suggestion came to fruition when in 1895 the Public Bath Association of Philadelphia was granted incorporation. One of Lowrie's more formal speaking engagements included an address given to the Athenaeum of Philadelphia in 1953 about Charles Thomson, who served as secretary to the Continental Congress.