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Bowles-Hoar Family Papers

Identifier: MA.00294

Scope and Contents

The Bowles-Hoar Family Papers (circa 1779-1960) contain approximately 57 linear feet of the combined papers of the families of Samuel Bowles II and III, known respectively as "the Founder" and "the Editor" of the Springfield Republican, and Judge Ebenezer Rockwood Hoar of Concord, Massachusetts. The families are connected through the marriage in 1884 of Judge Hoar's daughter Elizabeth to Samuel Bowles IV.

The collection provides a detailed view of a portion of 19th-century society and contains many kinds of materials to document it, including photographs and cased images, ephemera, school work, financial records, business records, etc. However, perhaps the most important materials in the collection are the extensive sections of correspondence. Eighteen out of nineteen series contain significant correspondence among individuals in a given generation, both in single items and in groups of letters across decades, and it is therefore possible to follow the histories of individuals, families, towns, the state of Massachusetts, and the country through correspondence across generations. In some ways, the collection is almost an epistolary novel: one can come to know individuals and families, and chart births, deaths, marriages, joys, and tragedies set within various contexts.

The collection may also be used to follow social movements such as anti-slavery groups, abolitionism, transcendentalism, and politics (local, state, and national).

As far as was possible during processing, the relationships between writers was identified in order to clarify the context of a letter or letters and illuminate the extensive network of family correspondence.


  • Creation: circa 1779-1960
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1835-1940

Conditions Governing Access

There is no restriction on access to the Bowles-Hoar Family Papers for research use. Particularly fragile items may be restricted for preservation purposes.

Conditions Governing Use

Requests for permission to publish material from the Bowles-Hoar Family Papers should be directed to the Archives and Special Collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.


50.0 Linear feet (41 records boxes, 6 archives boxes, 2 1/2-archives boxes, 8 flat boxes, 2 small boxes)

Language of Materials



The Bowles-Hoar Family Papers document the personal and professional lives of multiple members of the Bowles and Hoar families circa 1779-1960. The collection contains correspondence, photographs, documents, miscellaneous materials, and publications, all of which provide a detailed portrait of the two families before and after their histories joined with the marriage of Samuel Bowles IV to Elizabeth Hoar in 1884.


The collection is comprised of twenty series. At the top level, the first eighteen series are organized into two groups, a Bowles group and a Hoar group. There is also a series of images, and another of publications and ephemera: these series represent both families. The first eighteen series are arranged chronologically, by generation

Most series contain multiple sub-series organized by individuals within a given series (husbands and wives, or siblings, for example) and in birth order where multiple individuals appear.

Sub-series are generally grouped by type of materials in this order: personal affairs, incoming and outgoing correspondence, professional materials, and miscellaneous materials, with oversize materials stored in corresponding boxes for each series. Within each group, material is arranged chronologically or alphabetically, depending on the material.

The front section of series and many sub-series have descriptive notes relevant to the individuals and materials found in that series or sub-series.

Because the collection contains materials relating to numerous individuals, many of whom share the same name across generations, names are spelled out as frequently as possible (even though it may seem repetitive), especially in the case of women, where their family names and married names can cause confusion (see "General Note" below regarding the format for women's names). Cross-references are also in place to facilitate connections among people and events.

Note that in most cases, the dates in parentheses at the series, sub-series, and section levels are the years covered by the material -- they are not lived dates.

Physical Description

41 record boxes, 6 archives boxes, 2 half-archives boxes, 6 oversize flat boxes, 2 small volume boxes, and one mapcase drawer.

Names of Women in the Collection

Women who figure regularly in the collection and whose marital histories are known are listed in two ways in order to clarify whether an item is relative to their lives before marriage or after:

Name form before marriage:

[Married name], first name, middle name or intitial, family name. For example, "[Bowles], Elizabeth Hoar" or "[Hoar], Caroline D. Brooks."


Name form after marriage:

Married name, first name, middle name or initial, family name. For example, "Bowles, Elizabeth Hoar" or "Hoar, Caroline D. Brooks."

Processing Information

Original lists for two gifts in 2010 and 2011 by Mariah Leavitt and Margaret R. Dakin. Subsequent finding aid (arrangement, listing, and description) by Margaret R. Dakin (2018-2022).

Margaret R. Dakin
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Amherst College Archives and Special Collections Repository

Amherst College Archives & Special Collections
Robert Frost Library
61 Quadrangle Drive
Amherst MA 01002-5000
(413) 542-2299