History 332

Bowdoin College:  1840-1920

  • Charles Calhoun, A Small College in Maine:  Two Hundred Years of Bowdoin (1993), Chapters 5-7, 120-205.  (Reserve) or at Internet Archive
  • Document from Special Collections:  request and read one or more documents that pertain to this nineteenth- and early twentieth-century era in the history of Bowdoin College.

Further reading:

  • Calhoun, A Small College, Chapters 8-9, Coda, 206-264


  • Continue our discussion of the history of the college and Calhoun as the historian. What does his cultural perspective reveal? Where is his history institutional and where is it less so?
  • How might you use Calhoun’s model of discussion and inquiry of the two highlighted students in ch. 5, or the different collective biographies in ch. 6? Why didn’t he examine some of the other diarists?
  • How does Calhoun characterize the college during the various presidential eras? What evidence does he present to support his assessment? Is his a comparative assessment; if so, compared to what?
  • If his earlier chapters located the College in Brunswick, Maine, and the nation, does he continue that broader perspective in these chapters?
  • Who was in charge of the college in each of the eras? How much did the individuals create the “culture” and how much influence did the Boards (especially the Overseers) have over the college culture?
  • What kind of evidence about students and “college life” does he present in each of these eras/chapters? Why is some of his consideration limited to apparently anonymous students and captions?