Location: Bowdoin / Library / Special Collections & Archives / archives / 1.1 Series Descriptions

Board of Trustees: Votes and Records, 1788- , n.d.

Charters, Laws, Regulations and By-laws, 1788-
1 linear foot.
Catalog Number: 1.1.1

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Series Description:
Charter, by-laws, rules and regulations and subsequent revisions. These are copies of documents in the minutes of the Board of Trustees and the Board of Overseers prior to 1996 and the Board of Trustees thereafter. The bulk of this series is pamphlets printed by the college. Also included are statements of rules of student conduct produced by the college from 1817 and early documents related to the establishment of the college in 1794. The earliest bound volume is an 1808 manuscript by John Abbott, Overseer and Trustee and College Librarian from 1802 to 1824.
Arrangement: Arranged chronologically.
General Note:
Restrictions: None.

General Historical Records and Correspondence, 1788-1858, n.d.
0.50 linear feet.
Catalog Number: 1.1.2

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Series Description:
This series contains historical College records and correspondence dating from 1788. Box one includes a letter from Joseph McKeen stating his conditions for accepting the presidency of the College, a letter concerning the removal of William Allen from the presidency, and other general historical College records. The material in box two is specific to the founding of the College and includes a list, compiled in 1944, of founding documents held by the Massachusetts Commonwealth Archives.
Arrangement: Arranged chronologically.
General Note:
Restrictions: None.


Records of the Board of Overseers, 1794-1996
4 linear feet.
Catalog Number: 1.1.3

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Series Description:
This series contains the official records of the Board of Overseers. It includes bound and indexed volumes of the minutes of Board meetings from 1794 to 1996 when the Overseers were abolished. There is a late nineteenth-century copy, covering the years 1794-1854, (the contents of the first two original books and part of book number 3). In addition there is a one volume list of members of the Boards that begins in 1794 and concludes with the last entries in 1996. These volumes may also contain attached reports of Boards' committees. Between 1912 and 1917 the report of the Visiting Committee is attached to the minutes of the meetings. There are also loose copies of many minutes and votes in Series 1.1.5 (Votes of the Board of Overseers and the Board of Trustees).
Arrangement: Arranged chronologically.
General Note:
Restrictions: Restricted for 20 years from date of creation.

Records of the Board of Trustees, 1794-
4 linear feet.
Catalog Number: 1.1.4

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Series Description:
Minutes of the meetings of the Board of Trustees, including a summary of votes taken, attached reports, and other additions. The records are bound into volumes and have been indexed through the 1994-1995 academic year. There is a nineteenth-century copy of the first volume (1794-1853) with a separate index. There are loose copies of many minutes and votes available in Series 1.1.5 (Votes of the Board of Overseers and The Board of Trustees). Recent meeting schedules of events, agendas, minutes and committee membership lists are foldered and temporarily contained in an archival box. Arrangement: Arranged chronologically.
General Note: Also included are microfilm copies of the records of the Board of Trustees, 1794-1906.
Restrictions: Restricted for 20 years from date of creation.

Votes of the Board of Overseers, 1794-1996, and the Board of Trustees, 1794-
11.25 linear feet.
Catalog Number: 1.1.5

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Series Description:
These records are manuscript copies of the Board of Overseers and the Board of Trustees votes. They are the record copy of votes until the votes are recorded in the official minutes. There may be some general correspondence and committee reports in folders after 1917. There is a chronological, item level, container list (called "Index") for votes through 1896. The collection of votes may not be complete prior to 1917. However, all votes are recorded in the minutes of the Trustees (1.1.4) and the Overseers (1.1.3).
Arrangement: Arranged chronologically.
General Note:
Restrictions: Restricted for 20 years from date of creation.

Committee Reports, General, 1816-
3.25 linear feet.
Catalog Number: 1.1.6

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Series Description:
Unbound reports of the Board of Overseers and the Board of Trustees committees. These may be standing committees or, more often, ad hoc committees. Reports of other committees are contained within separate series within the Board of Trustees records (i.e., Visiting Committee, 1.1.7; Committee on Investments [Finance Committee], 1.1.8; Executive Committee, 1.1.9; Committee on Policy, 1.1.10; Study Committee on the Underclass Campus Environment [Pierce Committee], 1.1.11; and Committee on the Future, 1.1.19).
Arrangement: Arranged alphabetically by committee.
General Note:
Restriction: Restricted for 20 years from date of creation.

Reports of the Visiting Committee, 1826-1966
5.5 linear feet.
Catalog Number: 1.1.7

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Series Description:
The Visiting Committee, created in 1825, was a joint committee of the Board of Overseers and the Board of Trustees. Committee members visited the college and reported back to each Board their recommendations concerning "policies or improvements." The Visiting Committee was also authorized to "give a hearing to any member of the Faculty who specially requests to be heard." Although this seldom happened, it was a means by which a faculty member might bring a grievance to the attention of the Boards without the President's consent. In effect, the Committee set the agenda for the meetings of the Boards and suggested changes that the Boards generally carried out. Originally, the Visiting Committee oversaw all aspects of the college. The Visiting Committee, together with the Examining Committee, was the primary means of communicating information about the College to the Boards. Reports from other college departments are often attached. The Visiting Committee was discontinued in 1966. It was replaced, in part, by the Committee on Policy (1.1.10).
Arrangement: Arranged chronologically.
General Note:
Restrictions: None.

Committee on Investments [Finance Committee] Minutes,
1898-1990

2.25 linear feet.
Catalog Number: 1.1.8

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Series Description:
This committee has direct control over all financial aspects of the College. It is empowered to invest and re-invest the College's financial assets. Records include minutes and some attached correspondence.
Arrangement: Arranged chronologically.
General Note:
Restrictions: None.

Executive Committee Minutes, 1921-
1.25 linear feet.
Catalog Number: 1.1.9

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Series Description:
The Executive Committee was created in 1921 to act for the Trustees and Overseers when those groups are not in session. The committee has wide ranging powers, but not the power to elect or remove the President or to alter the by-laws. Originally, the committee members were drawn only from Overseers and Trustees. By 1972, one faculty member and one student were non-voting members. By 1981, one member of the Alumni Council became a non-voting member. Records include minutes of meetings and occasional attached correspondence. No committee meetings were held in 1976.
Arrangement: Arranged chronologically.
General Note:
Restrictions: Restricted for 20 years from date of creation.

Committee on Policy, 1966-1981
2 linear feet.
Catalog Number: 1.1.10

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Series Description:
The Committee on Policy was created to replace some of the functions of the defunct Visiting and Examining Committees. Its charge was to consider all matters of policy with respect to all activities of the college, and to report to the full Boards its recommendations. The Committee on Policy was discontinued in 1980. Its previous functions were distributed among a number of new committees.
Arrangement: Arranged chronologically.
General Note:
Restrictions: None.

Study Committee on the Underclass Campus Environment [Pierce Committee], 1967-1970
0.75 linear feet.
Catalog Number: 1.1.11

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Series Description:
More commonly known as the Pierce Committee, after its chair, William Pierce, this committee's 1969 report examined, among other things, the issue of co-education at Bowdoin, and set into motion events that led to the admission of the first women as regularly enrolled students in the fall of 1971. The records contain the final report (view online) as well as early drafts and some background research.
Arrangement: Arranged chronologically.
General Note:
Restrictions: None.

Court cases, 1833-1911
2.5 linear feet.
Catalog Number: 1.1.12

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Series Description:
This series contains briefs, testimony, opinions and judgments rendered in cases involving Bowdoin College and/or its agents. Cases include: Garcelon-Merritt Fund Litigation (The President and Trustees of Bowdoin College, et al. vs. James P. Merritt, et al. and In the Matter of the Estate of Catharine M. Garcelon, 1892-1897); William Allen vs. Joseph McKeen, Treasurer of Bowdoin College, 1833; Mary F. S. Searles Will Case, 1891; Daviel B. Fayerweather Will and Litigation, 1897; and Batt et al., Executors of Coombs Will vs. Stevens et al., Treasurer of Massachusetts, 1911.
Arrangement: Arranged by case.
General Note:
Restrictions: None.

Committee on the Arctic Museum, 1966-1967
0.5 linear feet.
Catalog Number: 1.1.13

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Series Description:
This series contains materials relating to the establishment of the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum. Included in the records are correspondence, reports and memos among the chair of the committee, John L. Baxter, other committee members, Donald and Miriam MacMillan and others involved in the project.
Arrangement: Arranged chronologically.
General Note:
Restrictions: None.

Biographical Files, 1794-
6.0 linear feet.
Catalog Number: 1.1.14

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Series Description:
Biographical files of former members of the Governing Boards.
Arrangement: Arranged alphabetically.
General Note:
Restrictions: Restricted for 75 years from date of creation.

Directories, 1957 -
.50 linear feet.
Catalog Number: 1.1.15

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Series Description:
Printed pamphlets listing members of the Board of Trustees, Governing Boards (prior to 1996) and the Board Committees. The pamphlets also list brief biographical information and contact information. The directories are distributed annually to the college community.
Arrangement: Arranged chronologically.
General Note:
Restrictions: Restricted for 20 years from date of creation.

Committee on Governance, 1980-1996.
1linear foot.
Catalog Number: 1.1.16

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Series Description:
The Committee on Governance was created to determine if Bowdoin College would continue to operate as a bicameral institution. The committee ultimately decided to recharter Bowdoin as a unicameral institution. The Board of Overseers was abolished, leaving the Board of Trustees as the sole governing body. The records contain copies of the final reports of the two convened committees, as well as extensive background correspondence, minutes and notes.
Arrangement: Arranged chronologically.
General Note:
Restrictions: Restricted for 20 years from date of creation.

Presidential Search Committees, 1952, 1968, 1977, 1981, 1989
.50 linear feet.
Catalog Number: 1.1.17

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Series Description:
A Presidential Search Committee is convened by the Board of Trustees when the need for identifying and hiring a new college president arises. The committee is responsible for vetting nominees and interviewing candidates, and makes its recommendation to the Board of Trustees. Also included are the records of a special faculty committee formed at the request of the Board of Trustees to advise the Board's committee on the selection of a president in 1968.
Arrangement: Arranged chronologically.
General Note:
Restrictions: Restricted. Please consult Archives for details.

Commission on Residential Life, 1987-1997, n.d.
4 linear feet.
Catalog Number: 1.1.18

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Series Description:
The Commission on Residential Life was appointed by the Board of Trustees in July 1996 in order to develop a philosophy for residential life, assess all existing facilities and practices regarding residential life in light of this philosophy, develop a long-range strategy for the design of new housing and dining facilities and redesign the old facilities, and evaluate the effectiveness of residential life staffing and policies. It began such changes as introducing the College House system to campus, as well as the phasing out of fraternities.
Arrangement: Arranged alphabetically.
General Note:
Restrictions: Boxes 3-5 restricted until 2032

Committee on the Future, 1994-2001, n.d.

Catalog Number: 1.1.19

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Series Description:
The Committee on the Future was created to identify and examine educational trends for the following decade, and determine how the trends would impact Bowdoin, inorder to form a basis for planning. Meeting for the first time in the Fall of 1999, the Committee was chaired by trustee, Richard Stowe, and consisted of trustees, faculty members, students, and administrators. In addition to the Committee's December 2000 report and separate appendix, the series contains meeting materials, articles, notes from visits to other institutions, and post-report retreat and planning material.
Arrangement: Arranged alphabetically by material type.
Restrictions: Restricted for 20 years from date of creation.


Realia, 1943, 1969, n.d.
.25 linear feet.
Catalog Number: 1.1.20

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Series Description:
Contains the ceremonial "Keys to the College," consisting of five brass keys on a key ring, a cast pewter medallion on a silver chain with the "Seal of the College" on the front and the inscription "First presented to Roger Howell, Jr., on the occasion of his inauguration as the tenth president of Bowdoin College by the fellow members of his Class of 1958, October 3, 1969" on the reverse; and a gavel used at meetings of the Board of Overseers (also used after 1996 at Board of Trustees meetings), which is inscribed "Bowdoin College/Board of Overseers/Clement F. Robinson/1943 President."
Arrangement:
General Note:
Restrictions: Restricted. Please consult Archives for details.

George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives · Staff · Hours
Bowdoin College Library, 3000 College Station, Brunswick, Maine 04011-8421 · scaref@bowdoin.edu · (207) 725-3288