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Guide to the Cyrus Hamlin Collection, 1798-1984

Request for Use
Cyrus Hamlin collection
Hamlin, Cyrus
Date [inclusive]:
0.8 Linear Feet
George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine 04011
Correspondence, mostly letters written by Cyrus Hamlin to family members, articles and manuscripts, clippings, printed material, and biographical information.
Access Restrictions:

No restrictions.

Preferred Citation note:

Cite as: Cyrus Hamlin Collection, George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine.

Cyrus Hamlin (Bowdoin 1834), was born in Waterford, Maine, on January 5, 1811, to Hannibal and Susan Faulkner Hamlin. Hamlin had little formal schooling, but was encouraged by his mother and her boarder, an aunt of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Apprenticed at age 16 to his brother-in-law, a Portland silversmith, Hamlin joined the Congregational Church there. He impressed church elders so much that they offered him $1000 toward an education to prepare for missionary work. He decided instead to work his way through Bridgton Academy and Bowdoin College (A.B. 1834, A.M. 1837), where he became a student assistant to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. While at Bowdoin, Hamlin established himself as a radical scientific and social thinker and built the first steam engine seen in Maine, which is preserved at the Owls Head Transportation Museum in Rockland, Maine. Hamlin completed his studies for the ministry at Bangor Theological Seminary (1837) and became a missionary in Turkey (1838-1860), where he worked with the Armenian minority and established a progressive school, Bebek Seminary, for Armenian boys. The school flourished, only to fold during the Crimean War. In 1860, Hamlin established Robert College in Constantinople, Turkey, in buildings that had once housed Bebek Seminary, and served as its first president from 1860 to 1877. Robert College eventually became one of the most prestigious institutions of higher learning in the Middle East and was incorporated into Bogazici University in 1971. After a forced retirement from Robert College at age 66, Hamlin served for three years on the faculty of Bangor Theological Seminary, and then assumed the presidency of Middlebury College (1880-1885). In 1850, Henrieta Jackson, whom Hamlin had married in 1838, died of tuberculosis. Two years later, he married Harriet Martha Lovell, who died in 1857. He had a son and four daughters. Hamlin was a friend of Samuel Morse and a cousin of Hannibal Hamlin, who served as vice president of the United States. Hamlin died in Portland, Maine on August 8, 1900.

The collection contains letters mostly written by Hamlin to family members (1798-1902 and undated), articles and manuscripts, and clippings and printed material (1855-1984 and undated) and biographical information. Related correspondence can be found in the Abbott Memorial Collection (M1) and the Peleg Whitman Chandler Papers (M29, b.1, f.19). An address by Cyrus Hamlin can be found in the Peucinian Society records, 1832.

Organized into four series:Correspondence (1798-1902, n.d.); Articles and addresses; Clippings and printed material (1855-1984, n.d.); Biographical information and images.


Arranged chronologically.

Series Description:

Correspondence, primarily from Cyrus Hamlin to Clara Hamlin, his daughter. Other letters are mainly to his children and various family members. Also includes 28 letters (1850-1852) to Cyrus Hamlin from Harriet Martin Lovell, Hamlin's wife. Itemised listing of corrrespondence is available online. (List digitised from early finding aid and is incomplete).

Access Restirctions:

No restrictions.


box 1 folder 1


box 1 folder 2

1850-1852, n.d., letters from Harriet Martha Lovell to Cyrus Hamlin

box 1 folder 3


box 1 folder 4


box 1 folder 5


box 1 folder 6


box 1 folder 7


box 1 folder 8


box 1 folder 9


box 1 folder 10


box 1 folder 11


box 1 folder 12


box 1 folder 13


box 1 folder 14


box 1 folder 15


box 1 folder 16


box 1 folder 17


box 1 folder 18

Hamlin Family Correspondence, 1971 and 1982

box 1 folder 19


Arranged alphabetically.

Series Description:

Original manuscript, and typescript copies, of articles and addresses by Cyrus Hamlin.

Access Restrictions:

No restirctions.

"Commodore Porter's Per stories." (ts)

box 2 folder 1

Miscellaneous mss.

box 2 folder 2

"Reminiscence of College and Professional Life."

box 2 folder 3

"A Sermon Preached in the Second and High Street Churches, Portland on the day of Fasting and Prayer appointed for the State April 1838."

box 2 folder 4

"A Sermon Preached in the Second and High Street Churches, Portland on the day of Fasting and Prayer appointed for the State April 1838." (ts)

box 2 folder 5


Arranged alphabetically.

Series Description:

Newspaper clippings, magazine and journal articles, and photocopies from the Hamlin family scrapbook by or concerning Cyrus Hamlin.

Access Restrictions:

No restrictions.

"Alumni Bulletin: Bangor Theological Seminary," Summer 1972

box 2 folder 6

"Alumni Register, Robert College, 1931 with Supplement to 1938"

box 2 folder 7

"Aramco World Magazine," March-April, 1984 (two copies) - article on Cyrus Homlin pp. 16-21

box 2 folder 8

"Aramco World Magazine," January-February, 1991 - article on Cyrus Homlin pp. 2-7

box 2 folder 9

Clippings, 1855-1890

box 2 folder 10

Clippings, 1891-1899

box 2 folder 11

Clippings, 1900-1937

box 2 folder 12

Clippings, 1952-1981

box 2 folder 13

Bowdoin Alumnus Fall 1982 Vol.56 No.2 - article on Cyrus Hamlin pp.16-17

box 2 folder 14

Photocopies from Hamlin family scrapbook

box 2 folder 15-19


Arranged alphabetically.

Series Description:

A typescript biography of Cyrus Hamlin by Arthur Hamlin (Librarian, University of Cincinnati) and images of Cyrus Hamlin and the Hamlin Engine.

Access Restrictions:

No restrictions.

Biography of Cyrus Hamlin (2p. ts)

box 2 folder 20

Images of Cyrus Hamlin

box 2 folder 21

Images of Harriet P. Marston

box 2 folder 21

Images of Cyrus Hamlin Memorials

box 2 folder 21

Images of Hamlin Engine

box 2 folder 22

Plaque of Cyrus Hamlin

mrealia-box 5