Main content

William C. Bowie Scrapbooks


Held at: Lehigh University Special Collections [Contact Us]

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

Overview and metadata sections

William Bowie (1872-1940), American geodetic engineer, born in Maryland to Thomas John and Susanna Anderson Bowie whose ancestor was James Bowie, hero of the Battle of the Alamo. He attended St. John's College in Annapolis, MD, got a BS in 1893 from Trinity College, Hartford, CT and a MA in 1907 and ScD 1919, attended Lehigh and earned a MS in civil engineering in 1895 and the ScD in 1922 also was an occasional lecturer on Geodesy Isostasy from 1923-1937 at Lehigh. He received an honorary LL.D in 1936 from University of Edinburgh, Scotland, a ScD in 1937 from George Washington University. In 1895 entered the U.S. Coast & Geodetic Survey eventually became its chief. During World War I served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with the rank of Major. Subsequently he represented the United States at various international geodetic conferences and congresses, did scientific research in the theory of isostasy and its application to dynamic and structural geology. He was the first president of the American Geophysical Union from 1920-22 and the second time served as president 1929-1932, International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics 1933-1936. He received the Prix Charles Lagrange in 1932 from the Academie Royale des Sciences, des Lettres et des Beaux-Arts de Belgique and the Elliott Cresson Medal in 1937 from the Franklin Institute. In 1899 he married Elizabeth Taylor Wattles and they had two sons. Two undersea features are named for him: the Bowie Seamount and Bowie Canyon; the William Bowie Medal, the highest honor of the American Geophysical Union, is named for him and the survey ship USC & GS Bowie (CSS27) in commission from 1946-1967. He retired from government service in 1936 and died in Washington, D.C. in 1940. He is best known for promoting the mapping of the United States, its territories, improvement of cartographic methods and techniques, progress of physical sciences.

Containing 4 scrapbooks, this collection is an assortment of correspondence, newspaper articles, formal invitations and a few black and white photographs documenting highlights of the professional activities of William C. Bowie, American Geodetic Engineer, Chief of U.S. Coast & Geodetic Survey. Highlighted items of particular interest are letters of Lehigh University personalities: Henry S. Drinker, Eric Doolittle, Frank DuFour, Mansfield Merriman, Benjamin L. Miller, Charles R. Richards, C. C. Williams, as well as others such as Robert Bartlett and Frithof Nansen, arctic explorers, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, U.S. President and Ulysses S. Grant III, grandson of President U.S. Grant.

The materials are arranged somehow chronological but mostly randomly within each scrapbook.

Unknown. Library accession stamp: August 30, 1971.

Access Restrictions

Access Restrictions: Collection housed remotely. Users need to contact 24 hours in advance.

Use Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Please inquire about copyright information.

Collection Inventory

/repositories/3/archival_objects/115725. Scrapbook Volume 1.
Box 0364.01 Volume 01
Scope and Contents

Volume 1 1891-1937 (included in this volume - correspondence from) A. L. Baldwin and William Bowie Cartoon "The World" for Washington Society of Engineers 1914 p. 110 Henry S. Drinker, president of Lehigh University p. 39 & 41, Frithof Nansen p. 29 Lehigh University Baseball games 1894 p. 131-136 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photograph p. 107 C.C. Williams, president of Lehigh University p. 117 World War I material

/repositories/3/archival_objects/115726. Scrapbook Volume 2.
Box 0364.01 Volume 02
Scope and Contents

Coast and Geodetic Survey p. 60 Cooper River Bridge opening p. 100 Cornell Civil Engineer p. 73, 76, 96 Henry S. Drinker p. 117 Gilbert Grosvenor, president of National Geographic p. 3, 97, 111 Lehigh University Sc. D. degree p. 44 Retirement photographs p. 5

/repositories/3/archival_objects/115734. Scrapbook Volume 3.
Box 0364.01 Volume 03
Scope and Contents

Volume 3 1916-1937 Alexander Graham Bell p. 77 Coast and Geodetic Survey p. 72 Cresson Medal certificate p. 104 Eric Doolittle p. 78 Henry S. Drinker p. 92-93 Frank DuFour p. 43 Franklin Institute p. 6, 7-9, 10-19, 104-106 Geodetic Survey p. 26-46 U.S. Grant III p. 93 Isostasy p. 29, 37, 61 Lagrange Prize p. 31, 41-42 Lehigh University p. 23, 56 Mansfield Merriman p. 93 Franklin Delano Roosevelt, president of the United States p. 107 White House invitation p. 90

/repositories/3/archival_objects/115735. Scrapbook Volume 4.
Box 0364.02 Volume 04
Scope and Contents

Volume 4 1889-1937 Bowie manuscript "Layman and the Geologist" inside front cover Bowie photographs p. 5, 24, 26, 169 Bowie authored article about the Federal Survey Fixing State Lines p. 9, 17, 39, 40 C. R. Richards, p. 21, 191 Centennial of U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey p. 124 Continental drift p. 85 Earth Temperature Cooling, p. 96 Earthquakes, 15, 30, 31, 32, 35, 45, 57, 70, 78-82, 87, 89, 94, 101, 126 First Families of America/Bowie entry p. 171 Geodetic surveying p. 7, 10, 39, 60-67, 80, 184-186, 189 Gilbert Grosvenor - National Geographic p. 107 Isostasy p. 97 Lehigh University 21, 191, 201 Maiden voyage of Queen Mary p. 75 Benj. L. Miller - L.U. Geology 1937 p. 201 Moon p. 6, 44, 95, 119 Oceanography p. 3, 11, 13, 155 Oil exploration p. 93, 98 Pan American Institute of Geography and History, p. 151, 165, 167 Pirate signs, p. 51 Robert A. Bartlett - Arctic explorer letters, p. 20 Robert Lee Faris - Coast & Geodetic Survey photograph p. 33, 147 Royal Academy of Belgium award p. 193, 194 Trinity College 1889 p. 148, 152 U.S. Surveying Schooner Franklin 1852, p. 149 University of Edinburgh award, p. 176-177, 195-199 Volcanoes 79-81, 87, 97 J.A.L. Waddell - consulting engineer p. 178 Who's Who p. 174, 175, 179

/repositories/3/archival_objects/115736. Manuscript (Volume 4A).
Box 0364.02 Volume 04.A
Scope and Contents

"The Layman with the Geologist" 1939, 79 pages. Typescript of manuscript laid in v.4

Print, Suggest