Parents and Families
Have you ever felt a vibration in your pocket, and checked your phone, only to realize you did not receive a message? That feeling likely was an itch that your brain registered as a vibration. Phantom Vibration Syndrome is one of the many ways social media can have a powerfully negative effect on one’s brain. Watch the video and read more about the effects of social media.
Maybe the next thing is baby tourism? Vermont and Maine rank number one and two in the U.S. for having babies, according to a new study by WalletHub.
Maine has the lowest rate in the nation of mothers dying in childbirth, a low number of preemies, a fair number of pediatricians and relatively inexpensive childbirth costs. The Sun Journal points out the irony in this: for while Maine and Vermont top this list, they also tie for the second-lowest birth rate in the country.
Nike. Sony. Ralph Lauren. Kellogg’s. These are some of the names that confer distinction and inspire brand loyalty.
While some customers grow inexplicable bonds to a company that will lead them to purchase their products again and again, no matter what — others have less passion and are drawn to an item’s easy accessibility. Along with these countering factors, the more a company advertises, the more one is aware of the product being sold and is influenced to purchase it. The Economist examines brands and looks at why no one agrees on how much they are worth — or why.
Bowdoin Student Government President Chris Breen '15 stands among flags posted in Coe Quad in honor of those killed in the 9/11 attacks.
At the National September 11 Memorial, New York, N.Y.
At the National September 11 Memorial, New York, N.Y.
At the National September 11 Memorial, New York, N.Y.
National September 11 Memorial in New York City
The Bowdoin Student Government executive committee was out early this morning to begin posting more than 2,000 small American flags in Coe Quad in memory of the men, women and children who died in the 9/11 attacks. Passersby — students, staffers and faculty — stopped to help and to reflect on the significance of the effort. A flag was also planted at the memorial on campus for Bowdoin’s Frank Doyle ’85, who along with Jim Roux ’81 and Chris Gardner ’87, died that day.
Andrew Rudalevige, Bowdoin’s Thomas Bracket Reed Professor of Government, was tapped as a resource for the Vox piece, “How Barack Obama is Expanding Presidential Power — And What It Means for the Future.”
The article points out that President Obama has continued many of President George W. Bush’s most controversial programs — but those actions, like controversial NSA surveillance programs and detention powers, have since been authorized by statute.
“Bush had grabbed these powers unilaterally, but it was then more or less ratified by Congress,” says Rudalevidge in the piece. “So Obama can say with a straight face, ‘I’m working within statutory authority.’ He can also say ‘I’m working within the laws of war and the AUMF’” — the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists, passed three days after 9/11 and not yet repealed.” Read the article.
September 8 marked the 187th birthday of Joshua L. Chamberlain of the Class of 1852, the professor-turned-soldier during the Civil War, who rose to the rank of brevet major general and became the thirty-second governor of Maine and the sixth president of Bowdoin College. The home where Chamberlain and his family lived is across the street from the College; it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and has been maintained by the Pejepscot Historical Society as a historic house museum for the past 30 years.
The house itself (and not just its most prominent occupant) figures into the life of the College over the past century and a half. At several junctions in the house’s history it seemed unlikely that the house at 226 Maine Street would still be standing 100 years after the General’s death in 1914.
In 1824 Jesse Pierce began to build a one-and-a-half-story house several hundred feet down a quiet side street near the crest of the Maine Street hill. Within a few years Pierce lost the house to creditors, and it was purchased by Mary Ann Fales in 1830. She rented out extra rooms in the house, including a three-room apartment to Professor of Modern Languages and College Librarian Henry Wadsworth Longfellow of the Class of 1825. When Longfellow married Mary Potter in 1831, the young couple lived in the “old Fales place” for more than a year before moving to rooms in a house at 25 Federal Street, according to research undertaken by the staff in the College’s George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives.
Four owners later, the house was purchased in 1852 by Roswell Hitchcock, the Collins Professor of Natural and Revealed Religion at Bowdoin, who mortgaged it to the Rev. John Wilde (an Overseer of the College) in 1856. Joshua Chamberlain purchased the house from Wilde in 1859 for $2,100. In 1855 Chamberlain had joined the faculty and married Frances Caroline Adams (“Fanny”). They had been renting rooms elsewhere in town, but with the arrival of a daughter, Grace, in 1856, and a son, Harold [Class of 1881], in 1858, the Chamberlains felt the need for more room. Apparently Joshua was aware of the Longfellow connection to the house when he decided to buy it.
It was from this home on Potter Street that Professor Chamberlain transformed a sabbatical to Europe granted him by the Bowdoin faculty into a commission as Lt. Colonel Chamberlain of the 20th Maine (throughout the war, the faculty still considered him as its Professor of Modern Languages). It was here that Fanny led her own life, balancing family responsibilities with managing the household, visiting friends in New York and Boston, and coping with the anxiety of having a husband at war. It was in this home that Chamberlain recuperated in 1864 after suffering a near-fatal wound at the Siege of Petersburg, decided to return to a battlefield command, and reflected on his career plans and his place in history after the surrender of Confederate troops at Appomattox.
In 1865, less than four months after the terms of surrender had been signed, General Ulysses S. Grant stood in the front doorway of the house and greeted veterans and well-wishers after receiving an honorary degree from Bowdoin. At the Commencement dinner, Grant was flanked by his host (Chamberlain) and General Oliver Otis Howard of the Class of 1850, two of the six alumni who would later receive the Congressional Medal of Honor for their service during the war.
Chamberlain’s star was on the rise, and he was elected Governor of Maine in 1867 by a wide margin. That same year he purchased a lot on the corner of Maine and Potter streets and had his house moved and turned to front Maine Street, a non-verbal – but very public – statement of his change in status. Maltese crosses painted on the central chimney advertised Chamberlain’s service with the 5th Corps, while Latin crosses on the back parlor chimney signified his Christian beliefs. From his front door Chamberlain could see the church where his father-in-law had served as pastor for forty years and where Harriet Beecher Stowe had seen the vision of the death of Uncle Tom; he also could look across at the College and watch the progress on the construction of Memorial Hall. After serving four one-year terms as governor he became president of Bowdoin in 1871.
Now a college president, former governor, Civil War hero, and aspiring businessman, Chamberlain wanted a grand home where he could entertain dignitaries and display the political memorabilia, trophies of war, furnishings, and extensive library of an accomplished and well-traveled man. The plan was to raise the house 11 feet and build a new first floor below, a task that apparently was quite manageable for nineteenth-century engineers familiar with moving large and heavy objects, such as ships or houses. The first floor was finished in a Victorian Gothic style, and included a large parlor, a dining room, a library/office, and a “den” ornamented with flags, swords, and other souvenirs of the war. Here Chamberlain entertained Union and Confederate generals, political figures and other celebrities, Bowdoin trustees, overseers, faculty, and students. Fanny, the children, and the domestic help (housekeeper, secretary, handyman, etc.) become almost invisible in the new first floor rooms, which were largely given over to Joshua L. Chamberlain, the public figure.
When Chamberlain learned that Henry Wadsworth Longfellow would be returning to campus for his 50th Reunion at Commencement, he extended an invitation:
“My special object in writing is to ask you to make my house your ‘base of operations.’ You shall have freedom and quiet if you wish it. Moreover, I wish to add Mrs. Chamberlain’s compliments and beg you to do us the favor to bring one at least of your daughters with you.
This house was, I think, one of your homes while you were here; and it seems as if you ought to be here while you are in Brunswick.”
To make room for their distinguished guest, Joshua and Fanny vacated the rooms (now on the second floor) that the Longfellows had occupied in 1831-32. The poet later wrote them a heartfelt letter of thanks, saying that it brought back fond memories of evenings spent writing before the fire in the old house.
Chamberlain stepped down as president in 1883, although he remained a Trustee of the College for the rest of his life. Much of his attention turned to business ventures that never quite lived up to his expectations, and to writing his memoirs and otherwise commemorating the events of the war and those who fought in it. As someone who thought and expressed himself through metaphor, allegory, and the symbolic associations of objects (ranging from Longfellow’s association with the house to the bullet removed from his body at Petersburg), Chamberlain had created a landscape of meaning at 226 Maine Street.
As the years went by, the condition of the house slowly deteriorated, although Mr. Booker’s reluctance to remodel would later be seen as an advantage during restoration efforts.
After Fanny’s death in 1905, Chamberlain moved to Portland, where he worked as surveyor of the port. After his death in 1914, his daughter, Grace, rented rooms in the house to people from town. One family living there provided meals for students from the Medical School of Maine, which led to predictable incidents; Professor Marshall Perley Cram noted in his diary that he had seen human limb bones being used by the medical students to prop open windows during warm weather. After Grace’s death, her daughter Rosamond sold the house in 1939 to Emery Booker, a Brunswick banker and realtor. Booker created seven apartments in the house, which were rented at reasonable rates to townspeople, faculty, and students. Some of the apartments even had pieces of furniture in them that had belonged to the Chamberlains. Following World War II, there was an increase in the number of married students enrolled at Bowdoin, many of them veterans on the GI Bill. Mrs. Booker carefully screened prospective tenants for the just-off-campus apartments. Young faculty, including Dick Chittim ’41 (Mathematics) and Bill Root (Chemistry) lived in the old Chamberlain house.
As the years went by, the condition of the house slowly deteriorated, although Mr. Booker’s reluctance to remodel would later be seen as an advantage during restoration efforts, since much of the original fabric of the house was still present. By the early 1980s there were calls for historic preservation of the landmark house (e.g., articles by Jeff Ham’71 in the Portland Press Herald and Susana McLean ’84 in the Orient). The late Bette Copeland of the Pejepscot Historical Society and concerned citizens, including Sam Ladd ’29, Dave Crowell ’51, and Cam Niven ’52 began to marshal support for a campaign to purchase and preserve the house. Emery Booker’s death in September of 1982 put the house on the market. The house was condemned by the town after a drunk driver crashed a car into the front steps. One of the interested parties was rumored to be a fast-food franchise that saw no potential in the house, but tremendous potential in the in-town lot across from the College.
In the end, the historical society acquired the house for $75,000. It took several times the purchase price and two years of renovation before the house was opened as a “work-in-progress” museum, with several remaining apartments upstairs to generate revenue. Last winter’s bitter cold spells caused heating and plumbing pipes to burst in one of the apartments, causing a torrent of water to come through the ceilings of two rooms in the museum and damaging several pieces of furniture. Insurance covered the repairs, and the museum is open, but it is a reminder that the house will continue to be vulnerable as long as it combines residences and museum space.
This has been a longer story than I had planned to tell, but I was struck by the many ways in which the house at 226 Maine Street has been a part of the landscape of memory, not just for the Chamberlains, but for so many other members of the Bowdoin family over the years. In October of 1888 Joshua Chamberlain delivered a speech at the dedication of the Maine monuments at Gettysburg, a portion of which seems relevant here, especially if one substitutes “house” whenever Chamberlain uses “field” or fields”:
“In great deeds, something abides. On great fields, something stays. Forms change and pass; bodies disappear; but spirits linger, to consecrate ground for the vision-place of souls. And reverent men and women from afar, and generations that know us not and that we know not of, heart-drawn to see where and by whom great things were suffered and done for them, shall come to this deathless field, to ponder and dream; and lo! the shadow of a mighty presence shall wrap them in its bosom, and the power of the vision pass into their souls.”
With best wishes,
John R. Cross ’76
Secretary of Development and College Relations
If you’ve been on Facebook in the past few weeks, you’ve probably noticed the viral status update asking you, too, to list 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. The Atlantic shares the top 20 titles that have emerged thus far.
The terrorist organization calling itself the Islamic State is said to operate like a government. The Wall Street Journal‘s Jason Bellini and Reem Makhoul break down the hierarchy.
Is it possible that it all comes down to information and breath mints? Gone are the days of the high-pressure salesman (Well, we hope; there are sure to be stragglers who haven’t gotten the memo) — eschewed in favor of “information specialists” looking to help you find the right fit all around.
MarketWatch personal finance and consumer spending reporter Charles Passy spent a couple of days as a car salesman armed with fresh breath and a good handshake. Read the article.
We caught up with a few of the many professors hawking their wares (knowledge, intellectual excitement, challenging questions, etc.) at this fall’s Academic Fair and asked them what classes they were looking forward to teaching this semester.
The fair is an annual event for first-year students, held in Morrell Gym before the start of classes. The students are invited to question faculty members about courses, departments and programs as they figure out what their first four college classes will be.
There are often fantastic stories behind the magnificent creatures that become school mascots. In his “Voices from Bowdoin’s Past” talk delivered at Baccalaureate 2012, Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster detailed the origins of the Polar Bear, which celebrated its centennial as Bowdoin’s mascot last year (watch the clip from NBC’s Today show).
In sharing the story of how Tufts University came by its mascot, Boston Globe art critic Sebastian Smee writes of Jumbo-mania, and how one elephant’s journey became a bit of a circus of its own.
Many fall sport athletes took time out to help first-years during move-in day — and the women’s rugby team finds that’s just one way to recruit players. In the first of many volunteer projects, the team worked together to help first-years lug boxes to their rooms. The team says that many of the women who show up to the first rugby practice have never played before and come as the result of the positive interactions with rugby players on move-in day.