Lowrie, Walter, House

Lowrie, Walter, House at 83 Stockton Street was given to the University in 1960 by Barbara Armour Lowrie in memory of her husband, Walter Lowrie 1890. It was used as a University guest house until 1968, when it became the residence of the president.

The house was designed by the Philadelphia architect John Notman (architect also of Prospect and of the 1855 restoration of Nassau Hall) and was built in 1845 by Commodore Robert F. Stockton U.S.N. for his son, John P. Stockton, Princeton 1843, attorney general of New Jersey and United States senator. It was later occupied by Paul Tulane, Princeton-born founder and benefactor of the university that bears his name. In 1895 the house was acquired by George Allison Armour 1877, and became the childhood home of Barbara Armour and her four brothers. Barbara and Walter Lowrie took up residence there in 1930, following their return from Rome, where he had been for many years rector of the Episcopal congregation at St. Paul's-within-the-Walls.

At the age of sixty-two, Lowrie began teaching himself Danish, and for the next twenty-seven years he devoted himself to the translation of all the works of Danish philosopher Síren Kierkegaard and to the writing of a biography one authority called ``the greatest one-volume work on Kierkegaard in any language.'' Lowrie wrote other books too, including one on Karl Barth; in the period of his so-called retirement he published twenty-seven volumes in as many years.

Lowrie was secretary of his class for the last five years of his life and, in Alumni Weekly class notes, regaled his dwindling band of octogenarian classmates with reminiscences of their college days and pungent allusions to their declining years. Once he began his column: ``I greet each of my classmates with the cheerful salutation: `Moriturus te saluto! [I who am about to die salute you!].''' Another time he misconstrued a notice of the change of address of a classmate as a notice of his death and so reported it in the Weekly. Several weeks later he announced in the class notes that the classmate ``was miraculously raised from the dead by reading my obituary of him . . . and promises to send his contribution to the Alumni Fund.'' ``I cannot now be sorry,'' Lowrie concluded, ``that I published an account of his demise, though it was grossly exaggerated, seeing that it had so salutary an effect.''

From Alexander Leitch, A Princeton Companion, copyright Princeton University Press (1978).

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