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Photographs: Image Collections and Images Within Collections

The photograph collections are composed exclusively of photographic images - or virtually so. Unlike those groups of images contained within manuscript collections, they contain views by a single photographer, covering many years of work.

Special Collections and Archives also houses several thousand images that are not part of any photographic collection and are not yet represented within the Image Gallery. Many manuscript collections from the late-19th and the 20th centuries contain photographs whose historical importance is defined by the context of the papers themselves. There are cabinet photographs, cartes-de-visite, albums, cased photographs and other images representing many photographic formats including ambrotypes, tintypes, cyanotypes, daguerreotypes, and albumen prints.

Several manuscript collections have significant visual components. They include images relevant to the study of ornithology and oology, arctic exploration and natural history, and the Civil War era, including an album of cartes-de-visite.

Photograph Collections

Harry G. Shulman Collection

Harry G. Shulman (1908-1988, Bowdoin hon.1971) was a reporter and photographer for the Lewiston Sun Journal (1926-29), the Portland Evening News (1929-30), and the Guy Gannett Publishing Company (1930-73).

As they chronicle both Brunswick, Maine, and Bowdoin College events, Shulman's photographic images were divided at his death: the Pejepscot Historical Society received those depicting Brunswick and town events, while Bowdoin received those relating to the College. The College's collection consists of approximately 800 film negatives, many of which are represented in the Image Gallery.

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Leon B. Strout Collection

Leon B. Strout (1869-1937), a Brunswick, Maine, photographer, extensively chronicled local events. He began as an associate of A.O. Reed, a 19th century colleague well-known locally, and later opened his own studio, which he maintained until his death. Strout also contracted to photograph the Poland Spring House and other Maine resorts for the Ricker family, and completed several assignments for the U.S. government in post-World War I France.

The collection consists of more than 5,000 film and glass plate negatives and 1,100 black & white prints, dating from 1918 to 1936. Interpositives and duplicate negatives of representative images are available to researchers thanks to funds provided by a Maine State Library Incentive Matching Grant For Conservation and Preservation of Unique State Historical and Library Research Material.

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Photographs Within Collections

Robert Abrams Bartlett Papers

"Captain Bob" Bartlett (1875-1946, Bowdoin hon.1920) was an Arctic explorer who, from 1926 to 1946, travelled north each summer on his schooner, the "Effie M. Morrissey" to explore and collect, as well as educate the college students who travelled with him.

The collection contains 14 linear feet of largely undated photographs documenting the voyages of the "Morrissey." Taken by a number of photographers, they include advertising images; Arctic land and seascapes, flora and fauna; and individuals, including crew members, Inuit people, and immediate family. Many are unidentified or only partially identified.

Motion-picture film footage from some of Captain Bartlett's voyages is part of the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum collection.

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Fessenden Collection

Francis Fessenden (1839-1906, Bowdoin 1858), the third son of Secretary of the Treasury William Pitt Fessenden, rose to the rank of Major General during the Civil War, served in the Freedmen's Bureau, and returned to his private law practice. During his career he met many prominent officers on both sides of the War.

Fessenden's photograph album contains cartes-de-visite of Union and Confederate Army and Navy officers. Most of the approximately 300 images are identified; a detailed list of all the images in the collection is available.

Alfred Otto Gross Collection

Bowdoin Professor A.O. Gross (1883-1970) was an internationally-known ornithologist. He published more than 250 scientific articles and books, and travelled extensively, including trips to the Arctic with Donald B. MacMillan, to study birds in their natural habitats. As part of his research Gross photographed and filmed birds, their nests, and eggs for future reference. His work on the Heath Hen documents a species now extinct.

The collection contains approximately 15,000 prints, filmstrips and negatives, most of them well identified. They are valuable sources of information on species, their eggs, nests, abundance and distributions.

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Donald Baxter MacMillan Collection

Admiral MacMillan (1874-1970, Bowdoin 1898) began his career as an Arctic explorer on Robert E. Peary's 1908-09 North Pole expedition. He led dozens of expeditions north, many on the Schooner "Bowdoin," custom built in 1921 for his trips. These trips are documented in several related manuscript collections.

MacMillan travelled to Elsmere Island in 1913-17 in search of Crocker Land, a land mass reportedly seen by Peary and other travellers. After a 200-mile trip over the ice, MacMillan proved that Crocker Land was a mirage.

The Crocker Land photographs, taken by MacMillan, document the 1913-17 trip and its research tasks. They include several hundred images of Arctic land and seascapes, the natural history of the Arctic, Inuits and Inuit life, and life on the expedition. Bowdoin's prints are copies of originals owned by the American Museum of Natural History, each of which is identified by its AMNH file number. Requests for copies of any image should be made directly to the AMNH.

The MacMillan Collection contains other images related to the explorer. Lantern slides and motion-picture film are part of the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum collection.

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