|Rare Book & Manuscript Library|
At a Glance
This collection is arranged chronologically.
The Bowerman Collection includes three scrapbooks that narrate the early portion of Bowerman's professional career in librarianism. The first scrapbook chronicles the period when Bowerman went to library school at the NY State Library School in Albany, NY (1894-1895). Of interest in the first volume is that it contains a handwritten account of Bowerman's trip to the Boston area with classmates as well as an invitation to dine at Melvil Dewey's home (with Dewey's signature attached). There is also a photograph on the final page of undisclosed individuals. This is the only original photo included in all three scrapbooks. The second scrapbook is a collection of newspaper clippings of articles written by Bowerman when he was a reference librarian at the Reynolds Library in Rochester (1895-1896). The third scrapbook contains magazine and newspaper clippings written by Bowerman during the period when he was the librarian at the Wilmington Institute Free Library in Delaware as well as member of the Delaware State Library Commission (1901-1904). Of interest in this volume is a copy of the address Bowerman made to the Delaware State Federation of Women's Clubs (May 1901) and the First Biennial Report of the State Library Commission of Delaware (1901-1902).
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. This collection has no restrictions.
This collection has no restrictions, but the third scrapbook of the Wilmington Institute Free Library and the Delaware State Library Commission is in extremely fragile condition and should be handled carefully in the presence of a Columbia University RBML staff member.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); George Franklin Bowerman scrapbooks; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Ownership and Custodial History
Gift of George F. Bowerman, l948; transferred from the Columbia University School of Libraray Service, 1973.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Cataloged Christina Hilton Fenn 04/07/89.
Papers Processed Vanessa Cano (Pratt Institute, Class of 2011) 05/--/2010.
Finding aid written Vanessa Cano (Pratt Institute, Class of 2011) 05/--/2010.
2010-09-29 xml document instance created by Carrie Hintz
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
George Franklin Bowerman (1868-1960) is best known for his career as Chief Librarian of the District of Columbia Public Library, 1904-1940.
He was born in Ontario County, NY, on Sept. 8, 1868, to Jarvis and Anna M. Bowerman. His family was Quaker on both sides. This would become the back bone of his advocacy for peace later on in his career.
Bowerman attended university at the New York State Library School in Albany, NY from 1894-1895. Upon graduation he worked as a reference librarian and journalist in Rochester, NY at the Reynolds Library from 1895-1896.
He married in Albany on June 1, 1901 to Sarah N., the daughter of Reverend Henry Graham. Later that same year, he and Sarah moved to Wilmington, Delaware where he worked at the Wilmington Institute Free Library and as a member of the Delaware State Library Commission from 1901-1904.
In 1904 Bowerman became the Chief Librarian of the District of Columbia, which he would serve for most of his career, until1940. During this time Bowerman established The District of Columbia Special Collections, known as Washingtonia (1905).
In the latter half of his career Bowerman was the ALA Treasurer and the President of the District of Columbia Library Association (1906-1907). He also championed such issues as libraries against censorship, the war, advocated the libraries important role in education and for improved salaries for librarians.
Bowerman's most popular written work is Censorship and the Public Library with Other Papers (1931).