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American Literature

The authors in the American literature collections are primarily those of nineteenth-century New England. Both Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow were members of Bowdoin's class of 1825. Research collections of their works, works about them, and volumes from their family libraries are augmented by the volumes in the Abbott Memorial Collection. Six volumes written or edited by Charles Brockden Brown, considered to be America's first professional novelist, are in the American Imprints collection; his personal papers are also at Bowdoin.

Works by Maine and Bowdoin authors in the Bowdoin College Authors Collection supplement the material described above. Among these authors are Vance Bourjaily (Bowd.1944), Robert P.T. Coffin (Bowd. 1915), John Gould (Bowd. 1931), Lawrence Sargent Hall (Bowd. 1936), John Neal (Bowd. hon. 1836), Kenneth Roberts (Bowd. hon. 1938), and Edwin Arlington Robinson (Bowd. hon. 1925)

See also:

Major holdings:


Description of bookplate

Abbott Memorial Collection:
Material by and about Jacob Abbott (1803-1879); his brothers, John S. C. (1805-1877) and Gorham (1807-1874); Jacob's sons, Edward (1841-1908) and Lyman (1835-1922); and other members of this Maine family long associated with the College. Edward Abbott, editor of the Literary World, 1877-1888 and 1895-1903, presented the original collection in 1907 as a tribute to his father and uncle. A large addition of material by and about Jacob and Lyman was given in 1972 by the family of Alexander L. Abbott.
First and subsequent editions of almost all of the family's published writings (1,645 titles in all) are part of the collection, including Jacob's well-known Rollo series of books for boys and John S. C.'s biographical series for children. The Rollo books, in particular, implemented Jacob's ideas of new ways of educating children. Included also are these other series by Jacob: the Lucy Books; the Juno, Florence, Jonas, and Franconia Stories; and the John and Mary Gay series. An additional 218 volumes are from the family library.
Not all titles are in the online catalog, but a card catalog is available in the department.
A large collection of the Abbotts' papers is also available.
Beston Collection:
More than one hundred printed works written or edited by Henry Beston (Bowdoin hon. 1953), as well as nearly ninety books by his wife, the noted children's author, Elizabeth Coatsworth. Henry Beston is best known for The Outermost House.
The Beston collection contains, among other things, literary manuscripts of both Henry Beston and Elizabeth Coatsworth.
Robert Peter Tristram Coffin Collection:
Over seventy titles written or edited by or about, Coffin (Bowdoin 1915). Many are presentation copies, and several of the inscriptionss are accompanied by his original and amusing pen-and-ink sketches. A large collection of Coffin's personal papers, including many literary manuscripts, is also available.
John Gould Collection
Nathaniel Hawthorne Collection:
A research collection of the works of this member of Bowdoin's Class of 1825, containing about 920 volumes. Most of the author's writings are represented by first appearances; by first editions, with most of the variant printings; and by subsequent editions, including foreign-language editions. There are books, pamphlets, periodicals, and newspapers, and among these is one of the fourteen extant copies of the first edition of Hawthorne's first book, Fanshawe.
Ninety books from the Hawthorne family library are included, as are books about Hawthorne. The online catalog does not contain all titles, but a card catalog is available in the department. Letters and other manuscript material are also part of the collection.
Sarah Orne Jewett Collection:
Approximately thirty first and special editions of Jewett's works. Several are author's autograph presentation copies.
Jewett (1849-1909) was the first woman to receive an honorary degree from Bowdoin (1901). A small collection of her papers (M238) is also available.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Collection:
More than 1,850 volumes form this research collection of the works of Hawthorne's fellow member of Bowdoin's Class of 1825. The author's writings are represented in first editions, including most variant printings, and subsequent editions and translations. Also among the number are texts that he prepared for his modern language classes: Elements of French Grammar, by M. Lhomond, translated and annotated in 1830; French Exercises, 1830; Manuel de proverbes dramatiques, 1830, edited by him; Novelas Españolas ..., 1830; Le Ministre de Wakefield ... par M. Hennequin, 1831, also edited by him; Syllabus de la grammaire italienne, 1832, written in French so that his students would keep their skills in that language sharp; Saggi de' novelleri Italiani d'ogni secolo, 1832, translated by him, and Coplas de Don Jorge Manrique, 1833, translated and with an introductory essay by him. Forty-two volumes from the Longfellow family library are included, as are books about Longfellow.
The Longfellow Collection is fully cataloged online, and researchers can browse catalog records for the book collection by performing an author search = Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Collection.
The Archives holds a copy of his first publication in book form, the Catalogue of the Library of the Peucinian Society, Bowdoin College, printed at Hallowell in 1823, which he wrote as librarian of the society.
Letters and other manuscript material are part of this collection, as are Longfellow's poems set to music.
Harriet Beecher Stowe Collection
Many editions and variations of Uncle Tom's Cabin are included, as well as first editions of her other works, a total of nearly one hundred. Stowe lived in Brunswick, Maine, while writing Uncle Tom's Cabin. Her husband was Calvin Ellis Stowe (Bowd. 1824), then a member of the Bowdoin faculty. Manuscript material relating to both Harriet and her husband, Calvin Stowe will be found in the Stowe Collection (M172).
George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives · Staff · Hours
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