Location: Bowdoin / Library / Special Collections & Archives / Manuscript Collections / Mary Sophia and Harriet Sarah Walker Papers

LibraryGeorge J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives


Mary Sophia and Harriet Sarah Walker Papers, 1850-1904, n.d.


0.25 linear feet.

Catalog Number: M184

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Agency History / Biographical Note:
Sisters Mary Sophia (d.1904) and Harriet Sarah (d.1898) Walker were the nieces of Theophilus Wheeler Walker, cousin to Leonard Woods, Bowdoin's fourth president. Little is known about them, apart from their Boston roots. In 1890, they inherited a substantial fortune from their uncle, a successful merchant and entrepreneur. Determined to build him a memorial, they worked with William Northend, Bowdoin Overseer and member of the Class of 1848, and Henry Johnson, curator of the art collections and member of the Class of 1874, to give Bowdoin the Walker Art Building to house the Museum of Art. From 1891 to 1894, the sisters remained involved in the choice of architects and design, keeping abreast of the progress until the completion of the Walker Art Building.

Scope and Content:
The collection contains correspondence (1850-1904, n.d.), lists of Mary Sophia and Harriet Sarah Walkers' art collection, and a printed and annotated copy of the will of Mary Sophia Walker. Notable correspondents include Willam Northend, Henry Johnson, Bowdoin President William De Witt Hyde, and the architectural firm of McKim, Mead & White that documents the Walkers' interest in the design and construction of the Walker Art Building at Bowdoin College.

Finding Aid/Index:
Itemized list of correspondence available.

Cite as: Mary Sophia and Harriet Sarah Walker Papers, George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine.

Access Restrictions: None.

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