History

Grace A. Ball and Herbert H. Dow were married in Midland, Michigan, in 1892.

Grace A. Dow established The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation in 1936 in memory of her husband. Throughout her life, she contributed to projects in the Midland community personally as well as through the activities of The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation. She was an active member of several civic organizations including a women’s study club, the Monday Club, for which she served two presidencies; co-founder of the John Alden Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and she served for 42 years on the Midland Library board.

 

Portraits of Grace A. and Herbert H. Dow
Young Herbert Dow was fortunate in having a father who was a creative inventor, and his formal education was complemented by the hands-on mechanical and inventive education he received from his father. During his studies at Case, Herbert Dow became interested in the composition of brine, a topic on which he wrote several papers. His first commercial chemical venture in Ohio was unsuccessful, but by the time he moved to Midland in 1890, he’d proven that his new chemical process for removing bromine from brine by electrolysis was feasible. The rich source of brine beneath the ground in Midland and the availability of fuel were major factors in his choosing Midland as the site of his Midland Chemical Company. During the years 1894–97 Herbert Dow further expanded his electrolytic process to extract chlorine from brine. In 1897 he established The Dow Chemical Company to produce chlorine bleach based upon this new technology. In 1900 he merged the Midland Chemical Company into The Dow Chemical Company. Herbert’s startup has grown into a huge company with 2013 sales of $57 billion and operations worldwide. Herbert Dow was honored with doctorate degrees from Case Western Reserve University and the University of Michigan. He is credited with 107 inventions and in 1930 received the prestigious Perkin Medal for Chemical Achievement from the Society of Chemical Industry.
Framed Dow family portrait

Grace and Herbert Dow were the parents of seven children and spent their married life in Midland. They were both devoted to the family, the community, and to the enhancement of the quality of life for everyone in the Midland area and in Michigan. Their compassionate and visionary philosophy continues to be the guiding inspiration for the trustees of The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation.

Established in 1936 by Grace A. Dow in memory of her husband, The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation exists for the public benefaction of the inhabitants of the City of Midland and the people of the State of Michigan.

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