Campus News

Library Exhibition: 1794 to the Present — A Bowdoin College Timeline

Story posted November 30, 2010

When Bowdoin College was chartered in 1794 — culminating several years of effort by a distinguished, motivated group of citizens who were determined to establish a college in the District of Maine — the founders immediately faced the necessities and challenges of transforming their vision into reality.

Yet despite their most expansive imaginings, these gentlemen could not possibly predict the strides that their fledgling institution would take over the coming centuries.


Were they to view a timeline charting the progress of their college into the 21st century, they would surely be amazed at the growth of the student body, the curricular changes, the beautifully planned and expanded campus and the fortitude shown by their successors in the face of repeated financial crises, devastating wars and waves of social change.

What would they have thought of the admission of women in 1971? And how could they have imagined a curriculum that includes artificial intelligence and robotics?!

1794 to the Present complements the timeline recently published online by the College. The exhibition features items from the Library's George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives that document significant — often transitional — events in the College's history, as well as some of the more noteworthy accomplishments of its alumni and faculty.

Much that is important is not represented here — these are just glimpses along the continuum — but much also is revealed about how "a small College in Maine" has managed to adapt and thrive over the years while continually equipping its students to contribute meaningfully to the "common good."

The exhibition, located on the second floor of Hawthorne-Longfellow Library, runs through December 2010, seven days a week. Call 207-725-3288 for more information.

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