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Harry W. Rowe papers

Identifier: MC071

Scope and Content Note

The Harry Rowe Collection contains records created and kept by Harry Rowe during his days as a student and an employee at Bates College. The bulk of the Bates records contained herein are from his work under Presidents Chase, Gray, and Phillips, as well as his interest in the history of the college and its founding by President Cheney. In addition, there is a large amount of material documenting Rowe's interests outside of work from before and after his retirement, including his work on the historical collections he gathered at Bates, and his interest in Maine history and his family genealogy.


  • 1854 - 1981
  • Majority of material found within 1920 - 1980


Access Restrictions

Some folders are closed to research.

Use Restrictions

The collection is the physical property of Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library. Bates College holds literary rights only for material created by College personnel working on official behalf of the College, or for material which was given to the College with such rights specifically assigned. For all other material, literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. Researchers are responsible for obtaining permission from rights holders for publication or other purposes that exceed fair use.

Historical Note

Harry Willison Rowe was born in Mercer, Maine, on November 13, 1887, to Willison and Penny Louisa (Groves) Rowe. In 1900, shortly after the death of his mother, Harry was sent to live with a family in Pittsfield, Maine, where he worked performing chores in the boarding house and farm they ran, and attended classes at Pittsfield Grammar School. Shortly afterward he attended Maine Central Institute, graduating in 1906. Between 1906 and 1908, when he entered Bates College, Rowe served as the principal for the Troy High School, as well as serving as pastor to the Baptist Churches in Eastbrook and Waltham, Maine. While at Bates, one of Rowe's significant activities was debating, and he was generally known as one of the best speakers in his class. During this time, he also served as the pastor at the Baptist Church in Lisbon Falls for three years.

Following graduation in 1912, Rowe worked as the field secretary for the Maine Christian Endeavor society until 1914, when he was hired as the secretary to the Student YMCA at Bates, beginning 44 years of service to the school. Rowe also served as Bursar, Supervisor of Buildings and Grounds, Alumni Secretary, Dean of Admission for Men, Assistant to the President, and in 1946 was appointed to be Bates' first Dean of Faculty, which he held until his retirement in 1958. Rowe also created and for a time edited the Bates alumni magazine, ''The Alumnus.' In addition to his work at Bates, Rowe also served as a trustee to the Maine Central Institute, joined the Lewiston-Auburn Rotary Club along with a number of other service, social, and historical organizations, and took the time to assist and mentor many Bates students, staff, and faculty. Upon his retirement, Rowe was named Dean emeritus and became the unofficial Bates College historian and archivist, a position he used to begin collecting historical material on Bates, and which formed the basis for the College records in the Muskie Archives today. He married Hope Chandler in 1913, and they had three children together, Ruth, Robert, and Esther. Harry Rowe passed away in Lewiston on December 23, 1980.


13 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Contains correspondence and memoranda, clippings, notes, photographs, reports, scrapbooks, and speeches concerning the activities and interests of Harry Rowe. The records cover his tenure as a student and employee at Bates College, as well as his retirement years. The bulk of the Bates records contained herein are from his work under Presidents Chase, Gray, and Phillips, as well as his interest in the history of the college and its founding by President Cheney.

Organization and Arrangement

The collection is arranged into six series: I. Bates files; II. Bates history and alumni; III. Personal files; IV. Scrapbooks; V. Oversize; and VI. Photographs.

See each Series Note for details on arrangement.

Acquisition and Custody Information

Gift of Ruth Rowe Wilson, 1998 and 2007. Accession No.: 1998-006.

Processing Information

Processed by Pat Webber, June 2007.

Guide to the Harry W. Rowe papers, 1854-1981
Edited Full Draft
Pat Webber
Language of description
Script of description
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Language of description note
Description is in: English
Edition statement

Repository Details

Part of the Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library Repository

70 Campus Avenue
Lewiston Maine 04240 United States of America