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Albert Vann Fowler, "Students of the Sixties"


Held at: Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections [Contact Us]370 Lancaster Ave, Haverford, PA 19041

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

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"Albert Vann Fowler was born in Syracuse, NY, in 1904; as an infant he suffered a seizure which left him with a lifelong speech impediment and facial spasms. His father was a prominent lawyer and banker, and his grandfather, Irving G. Vann, a member of the NYS Court of Appeals. He earned an A.B. in History from Haverford College in 1927. During his time at Haverford, he was the editor of the Record and treasurer for his class during his sophomore year. He was also a member of numerous socieities on campus and Chairman of the Liberal Club. After Haverford, he pursued graduate level studies in Psychology and Journalism at Columbia University from 1927 to 1928. During the next several years he worked as a freelance journalist in Syracuse and wrote poetry. Fowler married Helen Frances Wose in 1937. After their marriage, the couple moved to Meadville, Pennsylvania, where they began to collaborate in poetry as well as in life. The couple had one child, Albert Wose Fowler, who was born in 1940.

As a committed pacifist, Fowler joined the Fellowship of Reconciliation, and in 1940 became a member of the Society of Friends. The couple moved to suburban Philadelphia in 1946 and spent the years 1946-1947 at Pendle Hill, a Quaker study center. In 1947, Albert, Helen, and other resident writers at Pendle Hill founded the literary quarterly, Approach, which included submissions of poetry, short stories, and critical work primarily by young authors. Helen served as its managing editor and maintained most of the correspondence. Helen and Albert also wrote a number of prose and poetical works which were published in Approach. Following their residence at Pendle Hill, the couple moved to Rosemont, Pennsylvania, where they remained until their deaths. They founded Ahab Press in 1946 and planned to publish works by other authors under this imprint, but these plans were never realized. In 1947, Albert finished editing the American edition of Arnold Toynbee's work, War and Civilization.

In the 1950's, he began work on a series of articles which explored the concept of individual freedom from Rousseau to the present. He questioned the ideal of freeing natural man from the corruption of his institutions and intended to publish this material in book form, including much of the material which had appeared in the earlier articles, but this was never accomplished. The Fowlers spent a good deal of time at Cranberry Lake, the family house in the Adirondacks. Albert V. Fowler edited two anthologies of regional history and folklore that included some of their own prose and poetry which were published by the Adirondack Museum in 1959 and 1968. In the early `60's, Albert Fowler began work on The Fish God, an autobiographical narrative poem which was published in the Spring of 1961. Later versions appeared in mimeographed form, including The Fish God of You Fool (September, 1963), Fools Island (1965), and Fools Island-Edmonds Revision (1966). Together with The Kingdom and Three Crowns, they made up the Rosemont Trilogy. These three works documented his continuing and very painful difficulties in dealing with both his own and his wife's family relationships.

In December of 1968, after a long illness, Fowler died. Soon after, Helen became suddenly ill and succumbed only hours after her husband had died."

Biographical Note taken from Albert Vann Fowler Papers RG5/046, Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College

This document is a short, 4 page essay by Albert Vann Fowler (Haverford College Class of 1927). In it, he compares the state of Haverford from when he was a student, in the late 1920s and early 1930s following World War 1, to the state of Haverford in the early-to-mid 1960s, following World War 2. He compares and contrasts opinions of students and staff during the two time periods and expresses how important it is for the Haverford students of the 1960s to maintain their "liberal leadership" and make an impact on the world.


Processed by Rachel McQueen, completed February 2023.

Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
Rachel McQueen
Finding Aid Date
February, 2023
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Standard Federal Copyright Law Applies (U.S. Title 17)

Collection Inventory

Albert Vann Fowler, "Students of the Sixties", ca. 1965.
Box 1

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