R. R. Bowker: Militant Liberal

Synopsis

Richard Rogers Bowker planned to write a volume of memoirs similar to his intimate friend Everett P. Wheeler's Sixty Years Of American Life--a topical recollection of public events with a minimum of personal material. From time to time after 1920 he dictated short paragraph summaries of his activities in various fields, and also the first draft of three chapters dealing with his family and early boyhood. After Bowker's death in 1933 it was hoped that these fragments might be edited into some suitable memorial. Mr. Trumbull White was engaged to undertake the task, but illness prevented him from doing more than sorting some of the papers. In 1936, Professor Allan Nevins of Columbia University was invited to complete what Mr. White had begun, but found it impossible to accept.

Meanwhile, the enormous quantity of material bearing on his many activities which Bowker had carefully collected and preserved during a long lifetime was gradually sorted and classified. Portions were given to the Library of Congress, to the Stockbridge ( Massachusetts) Library, and to the Brooklyn Public Library. The larger part was given to the New York Public Library, where it filled 158 manuscript containers of letters, unpublished manuscripts, and papers; 47 containers of diaries and journals; 17 containers of letter-books; and 8 chests of scrapbooks, clippings, pamphlets, and miscellaneous printed ephemera. This now constitutes one of the largest collections of papers belonging to one individual in the library's Manuscript Division.

It was an interest in the Mugwumps and a desire to investigate the circle of Independents which played such a conscientious but largely ineffectual role in American political life during the last quarter of the nineteenth century which led to my first knowledge of Bowker and, through Professor Nevins, of the Bowker papers. After an examina­

Additional information

Contributors:
Includes content by:
  • Allan Nevins
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Norman, OK
Publication year:
  • 1952

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