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Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, Administrative Records, 1871-1883.


.25 linear feet

Catalog Number: 1.2.6

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Agency History /
Biographical Note:

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (1828-1914), a graduate of the class of 1852, professor at the College, Civil War hero and four term governor of Maine, became the sixth president of Bowdoin College in 1871, following the resignation of Samuel Harris. He was responsible for reforming the curriculum to include instruction in engineering and the modern sciences.

Most notable during Chamberlain's tenure was the "Drill Rebellion" of 1874. Chamberlain established a mandatory military drill in 1872. It was met with resistance by the students who, in November 1873, unsuccessfully petitioned the Governing Boards to abolish the drill. In May of 1874, three-quarters of the student body refused to participate in the drill. All those who would not comply were sent home and given a week to return to campus and comply or face permanent expulsion. All but three returned to campus, and in the fall of 1874 the drill was made elective. The faculty recommended in 1879 that the elective drill should be dropped, and in 1882 the Governing Boards agreed. Chamberlain resigned in 1883.

Scope and Content:
General correspondence concerning College affairs. Most notable are items concerning the "Drill Rebellion" of 1874. Most primary source material concerning the early administration of the College is found in the records of the Board of Trustees and the Records of the Faculty which includes the records of the Executive Government. For related Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain materials, see the Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain Collection.

Cite as: Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, Administrative Records. George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives. Bowdoin College Library.

Access Restrictions: None.

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