Manuscript/Archive , Print in English

Isaiah Bowman papers : 1904-1951

  • 113 linear ft. (152 document boxes, 35 record center boxes, 6 ft. of bound volumes)
  • LSC - Contact Special Collections for Use
    MS.0058 c. 1
    Multiple Items
Also known as
  • Bowman (Isaiah) papers
  • Bowman papers
Local Subjects
  • Papers cover Bowman's work as a geographer in South America (1911,1913, 1941), as member of the American Commission to Negotiate Peace (1919), as Director of the American Geographical Society (1915-1935), and as advisor to the U.S. State Department for post-war planning (1942-1945) especially as participant in the Dumbarton Oaks Conference (1944) and the San Francisco Conference to found the United Nations (1945).
  • Isaiah Bowman's papers offer a fairly complete view of his many-faceted professional life. There are class notebooks from his early years as a teacher. His early geographical field work in South America is represented by his field notebooks and photographs. Material on his directorship (1915-1935) of the American Geographical Society is found in his correspondence and a scrapbook tribute prepared for him at his retirement. In the correspondence is also material on his presidency (1935-1948) of the Johns Hopkins University. His thoughts on educational administration also can be gleaned from his speeches and writings. Dr. Bowman was also a member of several professional organizations or commissions. There is material on his work with the Economic Cooperation Administration, the Council on Foreign Relations, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Resource Board, the office of Scientific Research and Development, and the committee on the Structure of the Maryland State government. Several times during his career Bowman served as an advisor to the U.S. government. He preserved the papers of each of these missions separately.
  • In 1919 he was a member of the American Commission to Negotiate Peace. This work is well-documented with correspondence, notes, printed material, scrapbooks, and memorabilia. Bowman's second mission was as an advisor to what was known as the M (for migration) Project. This project, begun in the early 1940s, was designed to study the relocation of refugees. The work of the project resulted in nearly 600 documents analyzing geographic areas throughout the world for their potential in supporting refugees. As an advisor to the project, Bowman received copies of each of the documents. When the project closed down, the M-Project office files were stored in Bowman's office at Hopkins and are now a part of his papers. During the 1940s Bowman also served as an advisor to the U.S. Department of State in several capacities. Bowman divided these materials into the series on Department of State advisory committee files, London Mission files, Dumbarton Oaks conference files, and the San Francisco Conference files. Bowman was a prolific author. Copies of many of his books and articles are in the papers as well as research files organized topically to be used in future works.
Other information
  • Cite as: Isaiah Bowman papers Ms. 58, Special Collections, Milton S. Eisenhower Library, The Johns Hopkins University.
  • Finding aids note: Unpublished register is available in the repository.
  • Ownership history: Provenance: Series 13-17 and part of Series 2 were bequeathed by the creator Isaiah Bowman in 1950. The remainder of the papers were donated by Robert G. Bowman in 1985.
  • Martin, Geoffrey J. The Life and Thought of Isaiah Bowman. Archon Books, 1980.
  • Restrictions: Permission to publish material from this collection must be requested in writing from the Manuscripts Librarian, Milton S. Eisenhower Library, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md. 21218.
  • Historical information: Isaiah Bowman (1878-1950) was a political geographer, advisor to the U.S. State Dept, and fifth president of the Johns Hopkins University. He was born in Waterloo, Ontario, on December 26, 1878, the third of 8 children of Samuel Cressman and Emily Shantz Bowman. He graduated from the State Normal College in Ypsilanti, Michigan in 1902, received a B. Sc. from Harvard University in 1905, and the Ph. D. in geography from Yale University in 1909. His first important field work was as leader of the Yale South American geographical expedition in 1907. He was geographer and geologist of the Yale Peruvian expedition in 1911, and in 1913 he was leader of an expedition to the Central Andes under the auspices of the American Geographical Society. In 1915 Bowman became Director of the American Geographical Society. During his administration he made the Society one of the leading organizations of its kind. While at the Society, Bowman oversaw the production of the "millionth map" of Latin America and the atlas of historical geography of the U.S. In 1919 Bowman accompanied President Woodrow Wilson to Paris as chief territorial specialist to the American Commission to Negotiate Peace. In addition he was a member of the Polish-Ukrainian Armistice Commission.
  • Historical information: In 1920 Bowman was physiographer to the Department of Justice in the Red River boundary dispute between Texas and Oklahoma. Bowman was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1930. From 1933-1935 he was Chairman of the National Research Council and Vice-Chairman of the Science Advisory Board. Bowman became President of the Johns Hopkins University in 1935 and retired in 1948. Among his accomplishments were to balance the budget, raise the endowment, strengthen the undergraduate departments, and abolish athletic scholarships. During World War II Bowman served on the Policy Committee of the State Department and as Special Advisor to the Secretary of State. From 1942-1943 he was Chairman of the Territorial Committee and Vice-Chairman of the Post War Problems Committee in 1944. He was also an advisor to the M-Project. Bowman was a member of the Stettinius Mission to London in April 1944 and a member of the American delegations to the Dumbarton Oaks Conference in 1944 and the San Francisco Conference on the United Nations in 1945. After Bowman's retirement from Johns Hopkins University, he served as Chairman of the Economic Cooperation Administration's Committee on Overseas Territories.
  • Organization and arrangement of materials: 18 series 1. Family papers 2. Correspondence arranged alphabetically by correspondent 3. Addresses, speeches arranged chronologically 4. Writings arranged by title 5. Research notes arranged topically 6. Organizations, commissions 7. Datebooks, notebooks arranged chronologically 8. Field survey notebooks arranged chronologically 9. M-Project files 10. Photographs 11. Microfilm 12. Card files 13. Paris Peace Conference files 14. Department of State Advisory Committee files 15. London Mission files 16. Dumbarton Oaks Conference files 17. San Francisco Conference files 18. Degrees, awards
Identifying numbers
  • NUCMUC number: ms 63000217
  • OCLC: 48395807
  • OCLC: 48395807