Architect Charles A. Platt (1861–1933) designed this elegant black granite ornamental fountain to commemorate social worker and reformer Josephine Shaw Lowell (1843–1905). Shaw, who is said to be the first woman to be honored by a major monument in New York City, was the first female member of the New York State Board of Charities, serving from 1876 to 1889.
The Memorial Committee that worked to build the fountain originally wanted it placed in Corlear’s Hook Park on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, near where Shaw focused her energies. Instead, the fountain, with its 32-foot-wide lower basin and 13-foot-wide upper basin, was ultimately installed at the east side of Bryant Park in 1913. In 1936 the fountain was moved to the west side of the park. The fountain was refurbished as part of an overall restoration of the park by the Bryant Park Restoration Corporation, completed in 1992.
Josephine Shaw Lowell Details
- Location: Sixth Avenue between 40th and 41st Streets
- Architect: Charles A. Platt
- Description: Ornamental fountain with tablet set into ground
- Materials: Stony Creek granite, bronze
- Dimensions: Lower basin Diameter: 32'; Upper basin Diameter: 13
- Dedicated: May 21, 1912
- Donor: Gift
- Inscription: THIS FOUNTAIN COMMEMORATES / THE STRONG AND BEAUTIFUL CHARACTER OF / JOSEPHINE SHAW LOWELL / 1843-1905 / WIFE FOR ONE YEAR OF A PATRIOT SOLDIER / WIDOW AT TWENTY ONE / SERVANT OF NEW YORK STATE AND CITY / IN THEIR PUBLIC CHARITIES / SINCERE CANDID COURAGEOUS AND TENDER / BRINGING HELP AND HOPE TO THE FAINTING / AND INSPIRING OTHERS TO CONSECRATED LABORS/