Location: Bowdoin / Library / Special Collections & Archives / Manuscript Collections / John Calvin Dodge Papers, 1781-1932, n.d. (bulk 1842-1890)

LibraryGeorge J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives


John Calvin Dodge Papers, 1781-1932, n.d. (bulk 1842-1890)

 2 linear feet.

Catalog Number: M46

Series List:

Agency History / Biographical Note:
John Calvin Dodge, son of Isaac and Rachel (Ring) Dodge, was born on November 6, 1810, in Newcastle, Maine. The youngest of eight children, he was graduated from Bowdoin in 1834, taking high rank in his class. He was not permitted to participate in active exercise with his classmates, however, due to an illness falsely diagnosed as an "organic disease of the heart."

After graduation Dodge taught school in Eastport, Maine (1834-1836), after which he relocated to Andover, Massachusetts, to work as a civil engineer for the Boston and Maine Railroad. In 1837, he entered the office of the Honorable Peleg Sprague, judge of U.S. District Court, and studied law.

Dodge opened his first law office in Nobleboro, Maine (1839-1842), later returning to Massachusetts to practice in Boston (1842-1885). His specialty was representing shipmasters, and he came to rank among the foremost admiralty lawyers in the country. Dodge was also active in the municipal affairs of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and was prominent in the formation of the Freedom Soil Party. He returned to the Whig Party, however, when the Freedom Soil Party coalesced with the Democratic Party.

Dodge served in the Massachusetts Legislature in 1857 and in the State Senate in 1862, and he joined the Cambridge Reserve Guards during the Civil War. Dodge received an LL.D. from Bowdoin in 1875, and was a member of the Board of Overseers from 1872-1888.

He married Lucy Sherman of Edgecomb, Maine, on May 15, 1843. They had three sons: Frederic, William Walter, and Edward Sherman; all became members of the law firm of John C. Dodge & Sons of Boston. John Calvin Dodge died on July 17, 1890, at Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Scope and Content:
Legal papers and documents concerning the maritime cases handled by John Calvin Dodge and his sons, as well as biographical and family material. The legal materials include correspondence, dockets, case files, and ships papers. Biographical materials include John C. Dodge's journal (1850-1866) with entries (starting July 4, 1863) that mention the Civil War; his autobiography; and letters, family pictures, and ephemera.

Cite as: John Calvin Dodge Papers, George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine

Access Restrictions: None.

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