Edwin Seton Jarrett

Black-and-white, somewhat blurred headshot photograph of Edwin Seton Jarrett
Edwin Seton Jarrett (b.1862 d.1938)
RPI President
1934 – 1935 (acting)

For fourteen years, Mr. Jarrett served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Institute. Following the death of Palmer C. Ricketts, Mr. Jarrett was named vice president, a position which carried with it the duties of acting president until the appointment of Dr. Hotchkiss.

The appointment as vice president was made Dec.15, 1934, and continued until February, 1938, when Mr. Jarrett resigned because of ill health. He consented, however, to remain as a trustee, an office which he held until his death.
While acting president, he gave much attention to building maintenance, an interest which resulted in the renovation of every building on the campus. He also was a strong influence upon the faculty following an announced policy to continue the work and plans of Dr. Ricketts in constant up building of the Institute.
He was born in Brooklyn March 7, 1862, son of the late James M. and Sarah 0. Heather Jarrett. A lapse of several years followed his graduation from Central High School in Buffalo, and then he entered R. P. I. where he was graduated in 1889 with a civil engineer's degree.
His business career brought him connection with construction of many notable structures in the United States, including bridges, docks, retaining walls, dams, etc.
That career began in 1889 when Mr. Jarret started as an Engineer with Sooysmith & Co., foundation specialists. He remained for two years and then undertook private practice as a consulting engineer.
In 1902 he assisted in organizing the Foundation Company of New York City, as a Vice-President of the firm. It was this firm's efforts to develop and perfect the pneumatic caisson, a work in which Mr. Jarrett played a prominent role, which led lo construction of the Hudson River tubes and other tunneling work previously impossible of achievement.
In 1914 he became President, of the Jarrett-Chamber Co.
One of the most notable achievements of Mr. Jarret's long career as an engineer was to design and build the foundations at 66 Broadway, New York City, the first building in the United States for which pneumatic foundations were installed.
He also helped design and build the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the Woolworth Building, the Standard Oil Building, the Municipal Building and many tall structures in the financial district of New York City.
In 1925 Jarrett headed a committee which submitted plans for remodeling High Bridge over the Harlem River to conform with the requirements for navigation of the river. The plan made possible the conservation of the bridge, which it had been thought would have to be removed to make navigation possible.
Mr. Jarrett's wife was Cora Hardy Jarrett, well known author and lecturer on literature at Bryn Mawr College. Mrs. Jarrett wrote the words of "Old Rensselaer," a fact little known since the famous Institute song bears only her initials, "C.H.J.”
Mr. and Mrs. Jarrett maintained an apartment at the Hendrick Hudson for several years.
Jarrett was a member of the American Society of Engineers; Louisiana Engineering Society; Rensselaer Society of Engineers; and the St. George Society.
Club memberships included the University and Century Clubs in New York; Nassau Club at Princeton, N.J.; Cosmos Club of Washington, D.C., and Engineers Club, London, England.
Edwin S. Jarrett died December 26, 1938 at the Harkness Pavilion, Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, New York City. He was seventy-six years old.
He suffered from a heart attack, following pneumonia.
Excerpted from Rensselaer Alumni News Obituary Notice March 1939

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