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Guide to the Breckinridge Public Affairs Center (River House) Records, 1885-2003

Request for Use
Breckinridge Public Affairs Center (River House): records
Bowdoin College
Date [inclusive]:
Date [bulk]:
2 Linear Feet
George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine 04011
Access Restrictions:

The first series, Administrative Records, is restricted until 2024.

Preferred Citation:

Breckinridge Public Affairs Center (River House): Records, George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine

Mary Marvin Breckinridge Patterson (1905-2002), granddaughter of B.F. and Mary Marvin Goodrich, daughter of John C. and Isabella Breckinridge, and wife of diplomat Jefferson Patterson, donated the Breckinridge estate in York, Maine, to Bowdoin College in 1973. On July 27, 1974, the 23 acre, 25 room estate, also known as River House, was dedicated as Bowdoin College's Breckinridge Public Affairs Center. For thirty years the College used the facility for classes, seminars, and meetings of educational, cultural, and civic groups. In October 2003 the College, following careful analysis, decided that continued ownership was impractical, and Breckinridge was sold in 2004.

This collection contains agreements, inventories, reports, correspondence, and other material concerning the administration of Breckinridge. Also included are images of River House, historical information about the house, biographical information about Mary Marvin Breckinridge Patterson, and printed ephemera.

See Barry Mills: Subject Files for information about the College's sale of Breckinridge. Additional administrative records regarding Breckinridge can be found in Roger Howell: Subject Files, A. LeRoy Greason: Subject Files, Robert H. Edwards: Subject Files, and Dean for Academic Affairs: Special Programs and Subject Files.

Series Description:

This series contains records regarding the transfer of River House to the College and the dedication of Breckinridge Public Affairs Center. There are inventories of River House as well as activity and financial reports. The bulk of the material is correspondence between Mrs. Patterson and College administrators. Principal correspondents include C. Warren "Johnny" Ring, Vice President of Development, Anne Underwood, Director of Breckinridge Public Affairs Center, 1982-1992, Gail Berneike, resident manager of Breckinridge, 1988-2003, Charles Beitz, Dean for Academic Affairs, and Craig McEwen, Dean for Academic Affairs. The office of Dean for Academic Affairs held administrative oversight of Breckinridge during much of the Public Affairs Center's operation.


Arranged alphabetically.

Access Restrictions:

Restricted until 2024.

Agreements, 1973-1978

box 1 folder 1

Alcohol policy, 1985

box 1 folder 2

Bachulus project, 1985

box 1 folder 3

Barn apartment, 1983-1990

box 1 folder 4

Breckinridge Advisory Committee, 1973-1986

box 1 folder 5

Breckinridge Director, 1974, 1982, 1988

box 1 folder 6

Breckinridge website, 2000, 2001

box 1 folder 7

Budgets, 1982-1991

box 1 folder 8

Budgets (related to swimming pool request), 1982-1984

box 1 folder 9

Certificate - National Register of Historic Places (photocopy), 1983

box 1 folder 10

Correspondence - Bowdoin College to/from Mrs. Patterson, 1972-1974

box 1 folder 11-12

Correspondence - Bowdoin College to/from Mrs. Patterson, 1974-1978

box 1 folder 13-14

Correspondence - Bowdoin College to/from Mrs. Patterson, 1978-1981

box 1 folder 15

Correspondence - Bowdoin College to/from Mrs. Patterson, 1982-1984

box 1 folder 16

Correspondence - Bowdoin College to/from Mrs. Patterson, 1985-1992

box 1 folder 17

Correspondence - Gail Berneike to/from Bowdoin College administrators, 1988-2003

box 1 folder 18

Correspondence - Gail Berneike to/from Mrs. Patterson, 1974-2000

box 1 folder 19

Dedication, 1973-1974

box 1 folder 20-21

Dedication - invitation list, 1974

box 1 folder 22

Exhibit at Bowdoin re: Mrs. Patterson's Frontier Nursing Service, 1985

box 1 folder 23

Framing of Mrs. Patterson's Frontier Nursing Service photographs, 1995-1996

box 1 folder 24

Inventories and garden lists, 1902, 1906, 1939-1940

volume 1

Inventories, 1968-1981

box 1 folder 25

Inventory, 1991 Mar

box 1 folder 26-29

Inventory, 2003 Nov

box 1 folder 30

MARPAT Foundation, 1988-1999

box 1 folder 31

Notes re: River House photo album, n.d.

box 1 folder 32

Portrait - Benjamin Franklin Goodrich, 1975

box 2 folder 1

Reports re: activities at Breckinridge, 1973-1991

box 2 folder 2

Reports - financial, 1985-1986

box 2 folder 3

Series Description:

This series contains biographical information about the Goodrich, Breckinridge, and Patterson families and historical material concerning River House. Photographs, blueprints and plans of River of River House are included as well as brochures, guest registers, and other printed ephemera.


Arranged alphabetically by material type, and alphabetically within each material type.

Access Restrictions:

No restrictions.

Breckinridge Public Affairs Center and Mrs. Patterson, 1974-2003

box 2 folder 4

Mary Marvin Breckinridge Patterson, 1923, 1977-1988, n.d.

box 2 folder 5

"Mary Marvin Breckinridge Patterson: From Career Broadcaster to Career Diplomatic Wife," by Ann Denton Behlen, 1982

box 2 folder 6

Mrs. Patterson and River House history, 1956, 1967-1998, n.d.

box 2 folder 7

"River House," interview with Mary Marvin Breckinridge Patterson, 1991 Sep, produced and narrated by Gail Berneike, edited by Abby Freedman

av ArchDVD

"River House and Mary Marvin Breckinridge Patterson," by David Lee Simmons, 1997

box 2 folder 8

Blueprints of house for Mrs. B.F. Goodrich by Guy Lowell, architect, [1905]

ovsz-box 7

Blueprint of alterations to house for J.C. Breckinridge by Guy Lowell, architect, [ca. 1913-1914]

ovsz-box 7

Drawing of pool plumbing, 1959

ovsz-box 7

Floor plans of River House drawn by John Blake Murphy, architect, in 1968 from 1926 plans

ovsz-box 7

Floor plan, second floor, A.R. Warren, 1974

ovsz-box 7

Map of property belonging to Mary M. Goodrich, 1925

ovsz-box 7

Map of property belonging to Mrs. John C. Breckinridge, 1937

ovsz-box 7

Photograph album presented at the dedication of River House, 1974 Jul 27 (images available in Archives Image Gallery)

volume 1

Photograph album of River House, interior and exterior, 1988

volume-folio 2

Brochures, 1983-2003, n.d.

box 2 folder 9

Guest register, 1975-1984

volume-folio 3

Guest register, 1985-1989

volume-folio 4

Guest register, 1990-1994

volume-folio 5

Guest register, 1995-2003

volume-folio 6

Miscellaneous, 1885, 1889, 1969, 1975, 1976, 1979, 1983, 1987, 1992-1996, n.d.

box 2 folder 10

Poems and songs by River House guests, 1953, 1970-1993

box 2 folder 11