Summary Information

George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine 04011
Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: Administrative Records, 1871-1883
0.25 linear feet.

Preferred Citation

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

Biographical/Historical 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

This collection contains 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.

Administrative Information

Publication Information

 George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine 04011

3000 College Station
Brunswick, Maine, 04011
(207) 725-3288

Access Restrictions

No restrictions.

Collection Inventory

Box Folder
1 1

1871 Aug 16, letter from Thomas Upham to President Chamberlain 

1 2

1871 Nov 9, note conveying the President's regrets that his house is not available for seeing College visitors that evening 

1 3

1872, President Chamberlain's inaugural address 

1 4

1872, Letters from J.O. Fiske 


1872/1873 - 1880/1881, Military Department Order Book 

Box Folder
1 5

1873 Dec 20, Letter - Wm. Elden to Chamberlain expressing thanks and requesting catalogue 

1 6

1873, letters to Chamberlain/Bowdoin College requesting catalogues 

1 7

1873, postcards to Chamberlain/Bowdoin College requesting catalogues 

1 8

1873 Jun 25, letter from Portland High School recommending students for admission to Bowdoin 

1 9

1873 Oct 13, letter from Chamberlain to W.G. Waitt (Bowdoin 1876) regarding mandatory drill dress 

1 10

1873 Nov, drill rebellion - student petition against the drill 

1 11

1874 (?), Scientific Department costs 

1 12

1874 (?), drill rebellion - student petition against the rebellion 

1 13

1874, drill rebellion - statements and correspondence 

1 14

1874, drill rebellion - statement 

1 15

1874 May 28, drill rebellion - sanctions against students 

1 16

1874 May - June, correspondence to uphold military action on campus 

1 17

1875 Jan 6, recitation schedule of the Scientific Division for the junior class 

1 18

1875 Jul 4, Announcement of senior class meeting 


1875-1877, President's Record 

Box Folder
1 19

1876, petition from the Arlo Bates papers re: the slanders of Rev. Ezra Byington 

1 20

1876 Jun 13, letter from N.A. Prince to Dr. Packard - with religious overtones 

1 21

1878 Jan 17, Legislative bill from state of Maine wishing to establish a Dept. of Agriculture at Bowdoin, Bates and Colby rather than the University of Maine - with note from Pres. Roger Howell, 1970 

1 22

1878 Apr 8, senior class request to have Professor Packard deliver the Baccalaureate 

1 23

1878 Jul 4, letter from J.O. Fiske on the report of the Committee of Examinations 

1 24

1879, abstract from report of H. Carmichael to the Boards 

1 25

1882 Jun 14, Chamberlain - Memorial Hall correspondence 

1 26

1882 Sep 18, letter from James D. Fessenden to Chamberlain recommending student for admission to Bowdoin 

1 27

1883 Mar, drill rebellion - letter from D. Hodgkins requesting reentry and Bowdoin's response 

1 28

1883 Mar 20, letter from Bowdoin to Lauriston Reynolds re: removal of his nephew from the College 

1 29

1883 Mar 20-27, Washington Academy request for admittance exams and Bowdoin's response 

1 30

1883 Mar - Apr, petitions and responses from C.W. Goddard to Bowdoin re: readmittance for his son 

1 31

1883 Mar - Apr, drill rebellion - Bowdoin's statement re: student removal on account of hazing