Location: Bowdoin / Library / Special Collections & Archives / Manuscript Collections / Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain Collection

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain Collection 1817- (bulk 1855-1914).

8.75 linear feet.

Catalog Number:M27

Series List:


Agency History / Biographical Note:
Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (Bowdoin Class of 1852) was born in Brewer, Maine in 1828. In 1861, Chamberlain left a Bowdoin professorship to become lt. colonel of the 20th Maine, serving to the rank of bvt. maj. general of volunteers in command of the 5th Corps of the Union Army. He fought at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg (receiving the Congressional Medal of Honor for the defense of Little Round Top), Petersburg and Appomattox (where he accepted the surrender of the Confederate troops).

After the war, Chamberlain served as the Republican governor of Maine, 1867-1871; commander of the state militia during the Legislature's 1880 "count-out" rebellion; and president of Bowdoin, 1871-1883.

In 1884-1892 he was involved in railroad and real estate ventures in Florida and from 1900 was surveyor of the Port of Portland. Chamberlain, Bowdoin's sixth president, also served the College as professor, trustee and overseer. For related materials, see the Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain Administrative Records.

Chamberlain married Frances Caroline Adams in Brunswick. The couple had four children; two survived. Chamberlain died in 1914.

Scope and Content:
The collection contains letters, articles, addresses, documents, Civil War related manuscripts, family manuscripts, biographical essays, etc. Much of the correspondence is from Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain to family members including his parents, Sarah and Joshua, his sister Sarah (Chamberlain) Farrington, brothers John C. and Thomas D. Chamberlain, and wife Francis (Adams) Chamberlain. Other major correspondents, each with five or more letters, include George Thomas Little, Librarian of Bowdoin College; Ira Hobart Evans, banker and attorney; Georgie O. Hutchins, teacher in Madison, Wisconsin; and William E. Webster, a resident of Newton Center, Massachusetts. Published works by Chamberlain are also available in Special Collections.

Reproduction note:
For a selection of items drawn principally from this collection, see the Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain Bowdoin College Digital Archive.

Cite as: Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain Collection, George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library.

Access Restrictions: None.

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