A complete MPLP success: The Bowles family correspondence

Written by Holly Mengel on November 11th, 2009

Unknown size: small.

I processed this super quick, super fun collection, the Bowles family correspondence, as a result of having only a few hours at Haverford one day. I only needed an hour and a half for this collection which was already beautifully arranged. All the letters had been removed from the envelopes and were placed in folders by year: pretty much done before I set eyes on it. I had the collection in the Archivists’ Toolkit in fifteen minutes, which meant I had an hour and fifteen minutes to actually look at the letters. Pure pleasure!

Unknown size: small.

This collection consists of wonderful newsy letters from Gilbert and Minnie Pickett Bowles, Quaker missionaries who were in Japan for most of the time covered by the papers, to their son Gordon and later to Gordon and his wife Jane. The entire collection reads almost like a diary and is enjoyable on almost every level. Warning: the handwriting is a little tricky and definitely hindered my ability to read the bulk of the collection in my allotted time. So, if you choose to use this collection, give yourself a bit of time. You will want to read every letter anyway–the Bowles draw you into their world after only a few letters.


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