This picture was take looking south at Walker Hall (left) and Williston Hall and college row (right). Forbes was standing on what would now be the street in front of the Armes Music Center.

This picture was taken on May 10th, 1906, looking south at Walker Hall (left) and Williston Hall and college row (right). Forbes was standing on what would now be the street in front of the Arms Music Center.

One of the projects that I’m working on right now is a complete survey of all the photographic and audio/visual materials in our collections. The ultimate goal of the survey is to make sure that all of these vulnerable materials are being housed in appropriate conditions and to flag items that need conservation work or conversion off of unplayable media.

An impromptu gravestone for one, A. Pair Pants, from October 25, 1906. The text at the bottom reads, "died of skunk juice."

An impromptu grave for one A. Pair Pants, from October 25, 1906. The text at the bottom reads, “died of skunk juice.”

In the course of this project, it has been my deep pleasure to explore the many small collections of photography by students, professors and others associated with the college. One of my personal favorites is the collection of Allan W. Forbes, class of 1908. Forbes, who went on to become an engineer after Amherst, was clearly a passionate amateur photographer. His collection contains more than 100 glass plate negatives, nearly 40 nitrate negatives and prints of around half of the images.

Walker Hall by moonlight, November 24, 1906. This image was toned a reddish color.

Walker Hall by moonlight, November 24, 1906. This print was toned a reddish color. The halo around the picture is caused by the silver particles in the image degrading and migrating to the surface of the paper.

In addition to providing an interesting view of the campus and surrounding areas, Forbes’ images show an approach both analytical and artistic; he experimented with taking pictures of running water and there is a delightful series of night shot of campus. His prints show his experimentation with various development techniques, including different color toning, and different types of photographic paper.

A frozen waterfall on Mt. Toby, December 5, 1906.

A frozen waterfall on Mt. Toby, December 5, 1906.

Please enjoy this photographic glimpse back to 1906-1908 and look for highlights from other collections in the coming months.

Students celebrating Mountain Day on Mt. Toby, October 1907

Students celebrating Mountain Day on Mt. Toby, October 1907

Students celebrating Mountain Day on Mt. Toby, October 1907.

Students celebrating Mountain Day on Mt. Toby, October 1907.

The view south to the Holyoke Range from Pratt Gymnasium (now Charles Pratt Dormitory), June 20, 1908

The view south to the Holyoke Range from Pratt Gymnasium (now Charles Pratt Dormitory), June 20, 1908

View of the rear of Stearns Church, September 1907. All that remains of the church is Stearns Steeple by the Mead Art Museum.

View of the rear of Stearns Church, September 1907. All that remains of the church is Stearns Steeple by the Mead Art Museum.

In college student life, it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference between raucous traditions and random acts of stupidity. Traditions often degrade over time, ultimately ending with some egregious incident — or series of them, each progressively worse — that causes their dissolution09-2. At Amherst College, the statue of the mythical nymph Sabrina is perhaps the best known but not the only example. Fraternity hazing rituals, silly pranks, drunken stunts, rivalry-fueled acts of humiliation, stolen vehicles, property damage — these, unfortunately, are constants at colleges and universities. But the nature of such incidents, and the nature of college traditions in general, have a somewhat different flavor in earlier eras as compared to today; it may be the long winters, the lack of entertainment options, the stifling isolation of campus life, and the inherently strict moral codes of its community that have made colleges a breeding ground for antics of every sort.  Many of them are documented in the College Archives, though probably the great majority of them are not.

Last year I wrote about the “Squirt-Gun Riot of 1858,” which seems to have put me on the lookout for more “Acts of Stupidity” (yes, that’s an actual subject heading in our General Files, where we compile odds and ends related to the history of the college). Today let me share a few more of these with you. (Maybe this will be an occasional series?)

1. Chicken Stealing: William Hubbard (AC 1844), Non-Graduate

Hubbard’s problem seems simply to have been impulse control. He was dismissed from Amherst for a string of offenses culminating in the incident of March 5, 1842, involving the theft of chickens. Hubbard later graduated from Brown University (1845), practiced law in Minnesota, and later taught school in the South. Interestingly, despite his unfortunate experience at Amherst, he sent three of his sons there (William 1871, Charles 1876, and Edward 1885).

This letter from Prof. William S. Tyler (PDF) lays out the facts:

Amherst College, Mar. 9, 1842.

Mrs. Hubbard

Dear Madam,

I regret extremely, that I am obliged so soon again to be the bearer of unwelcome intelligence respecting your son. When he returned, he made many fair promises of amendment both as a scholar & a Christian. But he has disappointed our hopes, returned to his former bad habits & even committed higher misdemeanors. You will learn, what I mean, from the following note of the Faculty: “Whereas on Saturday night the 5th of March last, Sophomore Hubbard, after indulging in festivities & cardplaying till a very late hour with several of his classmates at the room of a classmate, proceeded with one of his companions to take without liberty several fowls from a neighboring barn roost for the purposes of continuing the entertainment, & whereas this is but one of a series of offences of which he has been found guilty & for which he has been subject to college censure; therefore vote that he be & hereby is dismissed & that his parent be informed, that unless there is a radical change in his character, it cannot be safe or [wise?] for him ever to return to this college.”

I feel constrained to add, not for the sake of distressing you more, but for the purpose of acquainting you fully with the facts, painful as they are, that besides cardplaying & Sabbath breaking (for by our laws, the previous night is regarded as a part of the Sabbath) the misconduct of your son was aggravated by falsehood & misrepresentation.

I think, Madam, you will agree with the Faculty that unless there is a radical change in his character, there will be as little [encouragement?] for you to send him back to College, as for us to receive him. Dismission necessarily involves separation from College for one year. At the end of that time, should you wish to send him to another College, we shall interpose no obstacle. That you may be sustained & sanctified under this event so painful to us as well as to you, is the sincere desire of myself & all my associates in whose behalf I write.

Yours Truly

Wm. S. Tyler

2. The Burning of the Peagreen Beanies (I) – 1927

Pea-green beanies from ca. 1921

As I wrote in an earlier blog post, several generations of Amherst freshmen in the first half of the 20th century were forced to wear these universally loathed, completely fashion-backward wool beanies (above) when out in public during the first months of college. Ostensibly their purpose was to identify members of the incoming class, but their true purpose, of course, was a not very subtle form of ritual humiliation: the Sophomore class asserting its newfound superiority over another peer group. Because they had to endure it, now it was time for the class below them to endure it too.

Amherst Student, Feb. 24, 1927

Amherst Student, Feb. 24, 1927

In late February 1927, when the members of the Freshmen of the Class of 1930 were no longer required to wear the hated beanies, they celebrated with a ritual ceremony of burning them in a bonfire. This had apparently become a tradition for the past few years. As this report from the Amherst Student (right) entertainingly describes, the celebration got a bit out of hand, with the freshmen taking over the streets of downtown Amherst, blocking trolleys, snowballing the police, turning around passing cars, and generally acting like prisoners released from confinement. The ugliest business occurred with the “liberation” of a trolley conductor’s cap by an unnamed assailant.

The archives has the following letter from the president of the Freshman class apologizing to the president of the trolley company, and the latter’s surprisingly good-humored reply:

(The cap-stealing part of the incident will no doubt remind P.G.Wodehouse fans of the hilarious efforts of several characters in his stories to steal policemen’s helmets on Boat Race Night at Oxford and Cambridge. Is it possible that the Amherst miscreant had Wodehouse in mind? Please enjoy this video homage.)

3. The Burning of the Peagreen Beanies (II) – 1930

The last incident I’d like to present also involves the cap-burning ritual, this time three years later. However, this had a much more serious and tragic outcome, and brought a lot of unwelcome sensational press coverage to the college.

1930_bostonpost1During the week leading up to the February 22, 1930 cap-burning, freshmen had kidnapped some of the sophomore officers, so several members of both classes were ready for a battle. Freshmen arranged a large pile of wood on the lawn in front of Converse Library; if they successfully guarded the pile until 6 p.m., then by agreement they could have their fire in peace and burn their caps. If the Sophomores burned the wood before that time, or in some way prevented the fire, the Freshmen would have to wear their caps for a few more weeks.

The Sophomores gathered on the hill near the Octagon about 5 p.m. Suddenly they rushed down the hill with buckets of what appeared to be water, which they attempted to throw on the wood. They succeeded in getting themselves and the Freshmen as well as the wood thoroughly soaked. They returned to the Octagon, and then again very suddenly rushed down with blow torches. As Richard H. Plock (AC 1930) relates in a letter,

We discovered to our horror that they had gasoline in the buckets. In no time at all there was great confusion. Some of the boys tripped with the torches, others aimed them poorly, and before we knew it, the clothing of several of the sophomores and freshmen was on fire. […] Several of the boys received rather bad burns, but fortunately none were fatally burned.*

The Dean wanted to issue a harsh punishment to the entire Sophomore class, but officers of Scarab (an honor society then active at Amherst at that time which was mainly responsible for overseeing college traditions) intervened and had penalties loosened somewhat. However, this marked the end of the cap-burning tradition forever.

* TLS to Walter B. Mahony (AC 1936), Apr 23, 1936, in General Files: Student Life and Customs: Cap Burning.

Although Lord Jeffrey Amherst married twice, he left no direct heir when he died in 1797. When his brother, Lieutenant-General William Amherst (1732–1781), died in 1781, Lord Amherst took his orphaned nephew and two nieces into his household and raised them as his own. Through a special remainder, the title of Baron Amherst of Montreal passed to his nephew, who became William Pitt Amherst, Second Baron Amherst of Montreal.

John Hoppner. William Pitt Amherst (1773-1857), 2nd Baron Amherst of Montreal and 1st Earl Amherst of Arakan (Mead Art Museum, Amherst College)

The Archives & Special Collections at Amherst College holds a small collection of papers by and about William Pitt Amherst. As with our holdings of material related to Lord Jeffrey Amherst, much of this material was donated to the college by alumni, largely by Jack W. C. Hagstrom, MD (Class of 1955) who served as executor of the estate of the final Earl Amherst who died in 1993.

After completing his education at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford, William Pitt Amherst went on to a career that carried him far from home, but in the opposite direction from the one his uncle traveled. The collection at Amherst College begins with a series of letters to and from Amherst that document his appointment as ambassador-extraordinary to the court of the Two Sicilies in 1809.

Letter from William Pitt Amherst to Sir John Stuart, 26 June 1809.

Letter from William Pitt Amherst to Sir John Stuart, 26 June 1809.

The most substantial portion of the William Pitt Amherst Collection is made up of ten portfolios full of manuscript documents just like this one. Six of these portfolios, containing several dozen items each, cover Amherst’s time in Italy between 1809 and 1812.

There is a gap in our collection until the next portfolio picks up in 1815 when he was called to lead an embassy to the court of the Chinese emperor. While preparing for his departure, Lord Amherst received this letter from the East India House to remind him of the provision preventing “any individuals who should accompany the Embassy to Pekin from attempting to be at all concerned in any Mercantile Transaction during that Service.”

Letter to Lord Amherst from East India House, 26 January 1816.

Letter to Lord Amherst from East India House, 26 January 1816.

In addition to such official documents, the collection also includes some correspondence between Lord Amherst and his wife, Lady Sarah Amherst (1762-1838). During his voyage to China in 1816, he wrote a series of letters that were dispatched to her about two weeks before he arrived in China. He helpfully includes his longitude and latitude at several points, which can easily be plugged into Google to track his progress.

Letter from Lord Amherst to Lady Amherst, 11 May 1816.

Letter from Lord Amherst to Lady Amherst, 11 May 1816.

Thanks to Google, we can pinpoint Lord Amherst’s location off the southern end of Africa when he wrote the above letter to his wife.

William Pitt Amherst's position at sea, 11 May 1816

William Pitt Amherst’s position at sea, 11 May 1816

The collection includes some interesting pieces of printed ephemera that round out this glimpse into the workings of the British Empire at the start of the nineteenth century. Apparently, someone in Lord Amherst’s party brought back an “ourang outang” — though it is unclear whether this violates the prohibition against accepting gifts noted in the letter from the East India House.

Broadside. Ca. 1817.

Broadside. Ca. 1817.

There is another gap in the collection between Amherst’s return from China and his appointment as governor-general of Bengal in succession to the marquess of Hastings. This piece of ephemera, printed by George Pritchard at the Hindoostanee Press, announces the arrival of Lord and Lady Amherst:

John Bull Extraordinary. George Pritchard, Hindoostanee Press, 1 August 1823.

John Bull Extraordinary. George Pritchard, Hindoostanee Press, 1 August 1823.

Unfortunately, Lord Amherst’s time in India was fraught with difficulties. Less than six months after his arrival, war was declared between British India and Burma on 24 February 1824. The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article about William Pitt Amherst neatly summarizes this conflict:

What had been predicted to be a short and cheap war of no more than six weeks turned into two years of arduous campaigning that cost nearly £5 million, yielded little loot, gained the unprofitable territories of Arakan, Tenasserim, and Assam, and so demoralized the army that not only was there a spectacular rise in desertions but British troops were forced to put down brutally a mutiny of Indian sepoys at Barrackpore in October 1824. Even the short and victorious campaign against Bharatpur conducted between December 1825 and January 1826 could not expunge the memory of the First Anglo-Burmese War. (Douglas M. Peers, ‘Amherst, William Pitt, first Earl Amherst of Arracan (1773–1857)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2009)

The collection includes a very small amount of material about Amherst’s time in India. This letter sent from Barrackpore on 20 March 1826 is one of the few items that provides any detail of the military campaign. (View the entire letter as a PDF: Lord Amherst letter 1826)

Letter from Lord Amherst, Bharatpur, 20 March 1826

Letter from Lord Amherst, Bharatpur, 20 March 1826

What the collection lacks in material from Lord Amherst for this period is more than made up for by the extensive diaries kept by Lady Amherst.

Thomas Lawrence. Hon. Sarah Archer (1762-1838), Countess of Plymouth & Countess Amherst of Arracan. (Mead Art Museum, Amherst College)

Amherst’s first marriage was on 24 July 1800 to Sarah, countess dowager of Plymouth (1762–1838), widow of the fifth earl of Plymouth and daughter of Andrew, second Lord Archer, whom he had first met while touring the continent in 1793. Her diary begins with their voyage from England to India and the seven bound volumes cover the entirety of their stay until they return home in July 1828.

Lady Amherst Diary vol. 1, 1823-24.

Lady Amherst Diary vol. 1, 1823-24.

The diaries are in the queue for high-quality imaging to be added to Amherst College Digital Collections, but these images give a sense of the contents. Lady Amherst took a serious interest in her new surroundings and includes several sketches in her diaries.

Lady Amherst Diary vol. 1, 1823-24.

Lady Amherst Diary vol. 1, 1823-24.

We hope to have the full finding aid for this collection online soon. It will take some time for us to digitize the entire collection, but we want the world to know that all of his material is available to researchers in the Archives & Special Collections at Amherst College.

A recent researcher’s request led me to a small collection of rare 19th Century American Spiritualist publications in our holdings.

PositiveThinker_1878Nov.compressed_Page_1Spiritualism, simply defined as talking with the dead or communicating with spirits, grew in popularity in the second half of the 19th Century.  In contrast to popular congregational American religions of the day, Spiritualism emphasized the individual’s unique relationship to the divine, decentralizing spiritual communication and challenging religious authority.  This rejection of the spiritual hierarchy so common in mainstream religions, naturally fostered and appealed to an anti-authoritarian spirit in its practitioners.  With the emphasis on the individual spirit and the divinity of every human soul, the Spiritualist movement drew progressive political and social activists advocating for the rights of all humans, including the abolition of slavery and women’s rights.

SpiritVoices_1885_January Sower_1891_Dec.compressed_Page_01


Ann Braude, author of Radical Spirits: Spiritualism and Women’s Rights in Nineteenth-Century America, writes about the impact the Spiritualist movement had on social change and 19th Century print culture:

“Spiritualists’ advocacy of unpopular causes as well as their individualism made them staunch advocates of a free press. They perpetuated the Garrisonian tradition of viewing the columns of newspapers as an open forum for discussion and free inquiry. The movement was determined to provide ‘a Free Platform…for all those who desire to give utterance to the burning thoughts that well up in their inmost souls as the highest conception of the truth’ (Banner of Light, 26 July 1862). This zeal to allow all human thoughts to be aired, no matter how unconventional, encouraged editors to accommodate a broad range of political positions. In addition to abolition and woman’s rights, various Spiritualist periodicals espoused free love, socialism, marriage reform, children’s rights, health reform, dress reform, and vegetarianism. The advocacy of so many ‘isms’ made editors feel a certain urgency about the need for their publications, and getting out a paper in itself assumed the status of a reform activity. S.S. Jones, the editor of the Religio-Philosophical Journal, viewed the press as a powerful instrument of reform. He told Spiritualists that ‘the most potent means in their power to accomplish…the elevation of human character and the alleviation of the downfallen and the oppressed everywhere…is found in the printing press’(Banner of Light, 3 March 1865, p.3).”  News from the Spirit World (PDF), 1990.

Rostrum_1869_August.compressed_Page_01 Pages from SpiritualMonthly_1871Jan










One article in The Kingdom of Heaven, published in Syracuse, NY January 1874, titled “Spiritualism and Revolution” expresses some of the radical ideals of the movement: “Revolution signifies change. And spiritualism, which is far more than the mere manifestations and raps of individualized spirits…has come to revolutionize all the unjust and unequal institutions of man—to equalize and harmonize all man’s relations with man.” This article calls for the revolution to “rid the world of religion, and human governments, and all institutions that are founded in force and monopoly.”

Kingdom_1874_JanuaryDue to the decentralized nature of 19th Century Spiritualism and Spiritualist publications, it is difficult to find full runs of these often short-lived publications.  The Amherst College Archives & Special Collections holds single or multiple issues of The Wise-Man, Banner of Light, Positive Thinker, The Progressive Age, Spiritual Rostrum, The Sower, and more.  You can locate these publications in our online library catalog with the subject heading “Spiritualism — Periodicals.”

Philomathean_1875_May These pamphlets, magazines, and newspapers document a significant period in American religious history, as well as illustrate the expansion of American political thought. The publications in our collection provide insight into the dovetailing of Spiritualism and the growing advocacy for human rights in 19th Century America.

Most of my research into our Native American literature collection has focused on the very earliest publications from the late 18th and early 19th centuries, but the majority of our  recent acquisitions have been of newer books. When we state that our goal is to document as comprehensively as possible the full range of publications by Indigenous writers of North America, that includes everything from obscure pamphlets of the nineteenth century to books for children published in the last decade. I was just about to head to the stacks to shelve a handful of freshly cataloged books when I thought I ought to share a handful of these items with the world.

Rabbit's Snow Dance

This copy of Rabbit’s Snow Dance by James & Joseph Bruchac was a gift to the collection from Professor Lisa Brooks. It was published in 2012 and the copy in our collection will remain as crisp and clean as new for generations to come. I like to imagine a student or researcher coming to examine our copy many years from now and recalling their own copy of this book that they loved so much they read it to pieces. One reason books for children are often very rare and collectible is that children tend to be very hard on their books.

Stories about “the Little People” can be found throughout the collection, such as Charles Eastman’s “The Dance of the Little People” in Red Hunters and the Animal People (1904). Here is a more recent story of the Little People — a collaboration between Joseph Bruchac and Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel: Makiawisug: The Gift of the Little People (1997).


In addition to retellings of traditional tales, some of our books for children contain lessons about traditional crafts, such as Kunu’s Basket (2012):

Kunu's Basket

Others aim to preserve and pass on Indigenous languages. Thanks to the Animals (2005) is written in English, but the publisher’s web site includes an audio file of Allen Sockabasin reading the story in the Passamaquoddy language.

Thanks to the Animals

And then there are stories that are drawn from contemporary life, such as Robert Peters’ Da Goodie Monsta (2009). He says of the story’s origin “Da Goodie Monsta was written when my son, Robert Jr. was only three. He woke up from a nap and told me of a dream he had about a monster. ‘Did he scare you?’ I asked. ‘No’ replied Robert Jr. ‘He was a good monster.'”

Da Goodie Monsta

These five titles are just a small sample of the growing number of books for children included in our collection of books by Native American writers. They will now take their place on the shelves alongside works by Charles Eastman, Zitkala-Sa, and (my personal favorite) Acee Blue Eagle’s Echogee: The Little Blue Deer (1971).

Echogee The Little Blue Deer Cover

Dramatic Amherst

We’re going to devote this post to taking a peek at the rich visual materials in the Amherst College Dramatic Activities Collection. This is but a very small taste of the large collection of photographs, playbills, costume sketches, set designs, props and recordings of Amherst College theatrical productions to be found in the Dramatic Activities Collection.

H. M. S. Pinafore, produced in June of 1879 by the Glee Club in College Hall.

While students had been putting on dramatic productions since the very early days of the college, there is little photographic evidence until the 1870s. This is one of the few photographs of a nineteenth century production taken on set; most were cast portraits taken in a photographer’s studio. The lack of adequate lighting is evident in the blurriness of many cast members. This was the first full-length dramatic production put on at the college.

This studio portrait of cast members from The Rivals by Richard Brinsley Sheridan, produced in February of 1885, features the illustrious Clyde Fitch (reclining).

Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night was produced in March of 1907. Note the classic Art Nouveau program and the studio background in the cast portrait (click to view larger).

Green Grow the Lilacs by Lynn Riggs, published in 1930, was produced in December of 1936 by the Amherst College Masquers.

A January 1940 production of Peer Gynt by Henrik Ibsen

A January 1940 production of Peer Gynt by Henrik Ibsen staged in Kirby Theater, which opened in 1938

Set design for The Devil's Disciple, November 1946

Set design for The Devil’s Disciple, November 1946

Shakespeare's The Tempest, November 1951

Shakespeare’s The Tempest, November 1951

A poster for the Masquers' production of Oedipus Rex, November 1955

A poster for the Masquers’ production of Oedipus Rex, November 1955

The Balcony by Jean Genet, September 1968

The Balcony by Jean Genet, September 1968

Costume sketch for Domina of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, which was produced in October of 1974 by the Masquers

Costume sketch for Domina of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, which was produced in October of 1974 by the Masquers

C'mon Back to Heavenly House by Ed Bullins, produced by the Masquers in April of 1977

The premiere of C’mon Back to Heavenly House by African-American playwright Ed Bullins, produced by the Masquers in April of 1977

Set design for the October 1982 production of The Misanthrope

Set design for the October 1982 production of The Misanthrope

Moliere's The Misanthrope, November 1982

Moliere’s The Misanthrope, November 1982

..And young Sam Bowles’s son–

And young Sam Bowles is old Sam Bowles

When old Sam Bowles is done.”

This jingle, which appeared in “Time Magazine” on Oct 15, 1934 but which was said by the reporter to have been sung for decades by “the beery compositors of the venerable Springfield (Mass.) Republican,” refers to the three generations of “Sam Bowleses” who ran the Springfield Republican newspaper between 1824 and 1915, when the last editor named Sam Bowles died.  The fifth Sam Bowles broke the pattern: he didn’t run the paper. Instead, his cousin Richard Hooker took over the paper as editor and publisher. Subsequently, Sam’s younger brother Sherman worked for the paper as business manager, and then in other capacities for what had become the Republican Company, comprised of several papers.*


The “Springfield Republican” building, ca. 1900

That the first Samuel Bowles (1762-1813), the father of the Republican’s founder, was determined to have a son named after him is proven by his naming four infant sons Samuel until one lived long enough to make it stick:

List of the children of Samuel Bowles I (1762-1813), from

List of the children of Samuel Bowles I (1762-1813), from “Genealogical and historical notes of the Bowles family” (1851)

The verse about the Bowles men was running through my head when I resealed a daguerreotype that I believe to be the youngest image extant of Sam Bowles III (1826-1878).  The daguerreotype has excellent provenance: it came to us through direct descendants of Sam Bowles along with many other photographs and papers of the Bowles-Hoar family.  Because the daguerreotype’s dirty original glass obscured the image, and because the sitter lacks the facial hair we’ve seen in so many other photos of the most famous Sam Bowles, it took a while to realize who the sitter was.  But in resealing the image in July I was able to see that we had a view of a Sam Bowles taken around 1848, before he took over the paper from his father (1851), met the Dickinsons of Amherst (1858), or became a trustee of Amherst College (1866-1878).   Here it is, shared with you and shown for the first time:

Samuel Bowles III (1826-1878),

Samuel Bowles III (1826-1878), “the Editor,” here ca. 1848.

Let’s look at that verse again, then, taking the opportunity to illustrate with some of the images at Amherst College of the Samuels involved with the paper.

There’s old Sam Bowles:

Samuel Bowles II (1797-1851),

Samuel Bowles II (1797-1851), “the Founder,” ca. 1850.

And young Sam Bowles:

Samuel Bowles III, a little older in ca. 1852.

Samuel Bowles III, a little older in ca. 1852. Shown earlier at: https://www.amherst.edu/library/archives/holdings/BHFP/bowles

And young Sam Bowles’s son:

Samuel Bowles IV (1851-1915), whose son Sherman was the last Bowles to run the paper.

Samuel Bowles IV (1851-1915), whose son Sherman was the last Bowles to run the paper.

But young Sam Bowles:

A third cased image of Sam Bowles III, this time ca. 1856.

A third cased image of Sam Bowles III, this time ca. 1856.

Is old Sam Bowles:

Cabinet card of Sam Bowles III, ca. 1875.

Cabinet card of Sam Bowles III, ca. 1875.

When old Sam Bowles is done. In keeping with the verse, we should have another photograph of the founder, Samuel Bowles II. So far, only one photograph of him is known — the one five photos above — so we’ll end with his grandson again, Sam Bowles IV, and then another photograph of his sons Sherman (below, at left) and Samuel V:

Cabinet card of Sam Bowles IV, ca. 1884-5, probably taken in connection with his marriage to Elizabeth Hoar of Concord, Mass.

Cabinet card of Sam Bowles IV, ca.1877.

Sherman and Samuel Bowles, ca. 1896-7.

Sherman and Samuel Bowles V, ca. 1896-7.

It’s easy to confuse the Bowles men, especially given differences in counting the Sams (whether to start with the founder or, as the Bowles family did, with his father, who died a decade before the paper was founded), or in knowing which one was at the helm of one of the papers in a given year. We hope this post helps link names with faces and dates.


*The history of Springfield newspapers — dailies, weeklies, Sunday editions — is detailed in “The story of an independent newspaper, by Richard Hooker; one hundred years of the Springfield Republican, 1824-1924” and “The Passing of the Springfield Republican,” by John J. Scanlon (1950).


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,327 other followers