Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Merchant, born in Groton, Massachusetts, 22 April, 1786; died in Boston, Massachusetts, 31 December, 1852. He was the son of Samuel Lawrence, a Revolutionary War officer, and the founder of Groton Academy, (now Lawrence Academy at Groton.) Amos Lawrence was educated at Groton Academy.
In 1799, Lawrence became a clerk at a country store in Dunstable, Massachusetts. In 1804 he moved to Boston and founded a dry-goods mercantile, which became extraordinarily successful. In 1830, Lawrence established a cotton factory in Lowell, Massachusetts, and soon afterward became very ill. He devoted the rest of his life to philanthropy.
From 1831 until his death he gave over $639,000 to charitable causes. To Williams College, he gave nearly $40,000; to Groton Academy, which later changed it's name to Lawrence Academy to honor both Amos and his brother, William Lawrence, he gave over $20,000; to Wabash College, Kenyon College, and the theological seminary at Bangor, Maine, he also gave sizable sums.
His private donations were innumerable--so great that several rooms in his house were used as offices to coordinate them. Among other things, Amos Lawrence donated libraries to academic institutions, established a children's hospital in Boston, and gave $10,000 for the completion of the Bunker Hill Monument. (Lawrence's father had fought at the Battle of Bunker Hill.)
At his death, his fortune was estimated at $8,100,000, making him one of the richest men in the United States.
Amos Lawrence's brother, Abbott Lawrence, founded Lawrence, Massachusetts. His son, Amos Adams Lawrence founded the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas, and Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. His grandson, William Lawrence, was the long-time Episcopalian bishop of Massachusetts.
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