Skip to content

Search Collections

Photographic material of the Bowen family of Woodstock, Connecticut


Series III, Photographic material of the Bowen family of Woodstock, Connecticut, 1860-1965, undated (bulk, 1860-1935) (#8.18-12.14, FB.2.1, MB.1.1-MB.1.2, OB.3.9), contains portraits and group photographs; black and white photographs; color photographs; cabinet photographs; carte de visite; a mounted photograph; a hand-tinted and retouched photograph; a wood cut-out; tintypes; three photograph albums; and related letters. The series is arranged in four subseries.

You can find this within:

  • Bowen family papers
  • Photographic material of the Bowen family of Woodstock, Connecticut (current record)


Collection Name
Bowen family papers
Collection Code
1860-1965, undated, predominant 1860-1935
Date of Acquisition
Physical Description
Photographic materials (5 file boxes, 1 folio box, 1 multi-purpose box, 1 oversize folder)
Collection Type
Description Level
Credit Line
Purchased from Bowen Family, 1970
Reference Code

Historical/Biographical Note

Born October 22, 1724, Matthew Bowen (1724-1806) was of the fifth generation of Bowens in America; he was the son of Henry and Margaret (Davis) Bowen. Bowen engaged in several professions such as surveyor, constable, farmer, saddler, storekeeper, and landowner; he was also an active church member and served on numerous town committees. During the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783), he served as a Captain in the Connecticut militia and fought in the Rhode Island Campaign of August 29, 1778. On October 4, 1750, he married Mary Dana (1727-1813), daughter of Isaac and Sarah (Winchester) Dana of Pomfret, Connecticut. Matthew and Mary resided in Woodstock, Connecticut, and had eight children.

William Bowen (1763-1837), sixth child of Matthew and Mary (Dana) Bowen, was born on December 28, 1763. Among other professions, he was a farmer, landowner, saddler, tavern keeper, merchant, postmaster, and meat packer. During the War of 1812 (1812-1815), he supplied the United States government with salted meats; he also shipped goods to the West Indies. William Bowen was instrumental in establishing two small businesses: Bowen and Lyon in 1798 and the Arnold Manufacturing Company in 1814. In 1801, he became a founder of the Woodstock Academy in Woodstock, Connecticut. Also, he was active in the First Ecclesiastical Society of South Woodstock, Connecticut, and held several civic posts. On December 25, 1788, he married Mary Chandler (1760-1834), daughter of Peter and Mary (Hodges) Chandler of Pomfret, Connecticut. William and Mary had five children.

George Bowen (1789-1846), first child of William and Mary (Chandler) Bowen, was born on June 8, 1789. He inherited his father's store and tavern business and grew the business to include the sale of hardware supplies and medicines. He was active in the Woodstock Academy school board and was an officer of the Agricultural Society in Windham County, Connecticut. Also, he served as Postmaster-General, Justice of the Peace, and Selectman, among other civic duties. During the War of 1812 (1812-1815), he served as a lieutenant in the Connecticut militia and was sent to defend New London, Connecticut. On October 13, 1812, he married Lydia Wolcott Eaton (1793-1864), daughter of Eliot and Elizabeth (Davis) Eaton of Dudley, Massachusetts. George and Lydia had four children.

Henry Chandler Bowen (1813-1896), first child of George and Lydia Wolcott (Eaton) Bowen, was born on September 11, 1813. He was educated at Woodstock and Dudley Academies and later worked in his father's store. At age twenty, he moved to New York City and joined the dry goods firm of Arthur Tappan and Company. Five years later, he formed his own firm of Bowen and McNamee (reorganized as Bowen, Holmes and Company in 1859) where he sold silks, ribbons, and dry goods. On June 6, 1844, he married Lucy Maria Tappan (1825-1863). In 1845, Bowen commissioned the construction of Roseland Cottage in Woodstock, Connecticut, where the family summered. An impressive home at 90 Willow Street in Brooklyn Heights, New York, was their residence the rest of the year. Bowen was also a founding member of the Congregational Church Building Society in which he was a generous contributor to the construction of new churches in Connecticut, New York, Ohio, and Washington, D.C. Surviving public ridicule for not supporting the 1850 "Fugitive Slave Law," Bowen and McNamee prospered and expanded. The firm held on through the Panic of 1857 but in 1861, just shortly after reorganizing as Bowen, Holmes and Company, the firm went bankrupt with the onset of the American Civil War (1861-1865); Bowen subsequently retired from the dry goods business. By this time he was already engaged in other business ventures which included founding the Independent newspaper in 1848, a publication that encouraged the dissemination of Congregational values, and establishing the Continental Insurance Company in 1853. Both the Independent and Continental Insurance would continue to serve as sources of employment and income for later generations of the family. As a major benefactor of Woodstock, Connecticut, Bowen endowed Woodstock Academy and contributed to its reconstruction, donated trees to plant on Woodstock Common, and presented Roseland Park to the town during the national Centennial of 1876. Henry and Lucy had ten children before Lucy's death in 1863. On December 25, 1865, Henry Chandler Bowen married his second wife, Ellen Holt (1834-1903), daughter of Hiram and Mary (Chandler) Holt of Pomfret, Connecticut; they had one son, Paul Holt Bowen (1868-1895). Roseland Cottage experienced a rejuvenation following their marriage and Henry Bowen subsequently became well-known for reviving the celebration of the Fourth of July as a patriotic holiday.

Lucy Maria (Tappan) Bowen (1825-1863) was the daughter of Lewis and Susanna (Aspinwall) Tappan of Brooklyn, New York. Her father, Lewis Tappan, was born in Northampton, Massachusetts, and her mother in Brookline, Massachusetts. Lewis Tappan was a passionate voice in the abolition movement.

Edward Eaton Bowen (1815-1887), second child of George and Lydia Wolcott (Eaton) Bowen, was born on September 20, 1815. He inherited the family business from his father and likewise, served as Postmaster. Later, he gave up the family business and moved to Brooklyn, New York, where he joined the dry goods firm of Ely, Clapp and Bowen (renamed Ely, Bowen and McConnell). After retiring from the dry goods industry, he became Deputy Collector of the Internal Revenue, Third District of Brooklyn and later ventured into banking. On June 14, 1836, he married Sophronia Tennent (1818-1899), daughter of George Benjamin and Mary Meekem (Tennent) Atwell of Enfield, Connecticut. Edward and Sophronia had six children.

Henry ("Harry") Elliot Bowen (1845-1919), first child of Henry Chandler and Lucy Maria (Tappan) Bowen, was born on March 31, 1845. He attended Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute in Brooklyn, New York, and Eastman Business College in Poughkeepsie, New York. He worked as a bank clerk, a stock broker, and as publisher and managing editor of the Brooklyn Daily Union newspaper. Bowen also spent twenty-five years as a solicitor in the advertising department of the New York Herald. "Harry" founded the Fresh Air Fund to give underprivileged children in New York a chance to experience the rural outdoors. He also raised funds for concerts in Prospect Park and was involved in fighting corruption in Brooklyn politics. On December 14, 1869, he married Elizabeth White (1848-1942), daughter of John Lincoln and Susan Rand (White) Plummer of Brooklyn, New York. Henry and Elizabeth had five children.

Edward Augustus Bowen (1847-1926), second child of Henry Chandler and Lucy Maria (Tappan) Bowen, was born on January 31, 1847. Also known as "Ned," Edward was educated at home and attended the Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute in Brooklyn, New York. Later, he attended the Eastman Business College in Poughkeepsie, New York. After graduation, he worked as a clerk for several businesses until he became a junior partner in the stock brokerage firm of Smith, Seaver and Bowen. In 1870, when the firm dissolved, "Ned" gave up full-time employment and pursued his interests in travel and genealogy. He managed the accounts for Roseland Cottage, traveled extensively, and offered support to several members of his family. In 1897, he published, Lineage of the Bowens of Woodstock, Connecticut. Edward Augustus Bowen died on May 12, 1926.

Mary Louisa (Bowen) Holt (1848-1925), third child of Henry Chandler and Lucy Maria (Tappan) Bowen, was born on July 26, 1848. From 1863 to 1865, she attended Miss Porter's School in Farmington, Connecticut. On October 12, 1871, she married George Chandler Holt (1843-1931), brother of Ellen Holt (1834-1903). Mary Louisa (Bowen) and George Chandler Holt had six children. Her daughters Sylvia and Constance Holt were the last members of the Bowen family to live full-time at Roseland Cottage.

Grace Aspinwall (Bowen) Hardy (1850-1940), fourth child of Henry Chandler and Lucy Maria (Tappan) Bowen, was born on February 4, 1850. She was educated at Brooklyn Heights Seminary in New York City, New York, and Miss Porter's School in Farmington, Connecticut. Between 1871 and 1895 she took five major trips to Europe with members of her family. In 1898, she married Arthur Sherburne Hardy, a professor of mathematics at Dartmouth College. At the time of their marriage, Hardy was serving as a U. S. Minister to Persia and later served as Minister to Spain and Switzerland.

Clarence Winthrop Bowen (1852-1935), fifth child of Henry Chandler and Lucy Maria (Tappan) Bowen, was born on May 22, 1852. From 1869 to 1873, he attended Yale College. Following graduation, he spent a year at Yale Divinity School before he abandoned his goal of becoming a minister. Bowen went on to earn a Masters and Ph.D in history from Yale College in 1876 and 1882, respectively. He worked as a reporter for the New York Herald Tribune became publisher and owner of the Independent newspaper, contributed to Century Magazine, and published several books on national politics and history. In 1887, he was appointed Secretary of the Committee on the Centennial Celebration of the Inauguration of George Washington as President of the United States. From 1907 to 1931, he served as President of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society. Also, he was a founding member of the American Antiquarian Society, the American Historical Society, and the Connecticut Historical Society. Clarence was the author of The Boundary Disputes of Connecticut (1882) and Woodstock: An Historical Sketch (1887). On January 28, 1892, he married Roxana Atwater Wentworth (1854-1935), daughter of John and Roxanna Marie (Loomis) Wentworth of Troy, New York; they had one daughter, Roxana Wentworth Bowen (born 1895). Clarence Bowen died on November 2, 1935.

Alice Linden (Bowen) Richardson (1854-1948), sixth child of Henry Chandler and Lucy Maria (Tappan) Bowen, was born on March 9, 1854. Like her sisters, she was educated at Miss Porter's School in Farmington, Connecticut, and went on to further education in Berlin, Germany, and Gothic Hall Ladies School in Stamford, Connecticut. Alice also did a great deal of traveling with her family before marriage. On September 6, 1877, she married Rufus Byam Richardson (1845-1914); they had four children. Richardson received a Ph.D. from Yale and had a teaching career that took the family from Indiana University to Dartmouth College. The couple also lived overseas during the time in which he served as the director of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, Greece. Alice also did some writing and had stories published in the Independent.

Herbert Wolcott Bowen (1856-1927), seventh child of Henry Chandler and Lucy Maria (Tappan) Bowen, was born February 29, 1856. Like his brothers he was educated at Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute in Brooklyn, New York, but at age sixteen he went to Europe for two years of study in French, German, and Greek. From 1874-1878, he attended Yale College where he was one of the founders of the "Wolf's Head" senior society and a co-founder of the Yale News, the first college newspaper in the country. Although he did not graduate with his class, he was awarded an honorary Master's degree in 1903. In 1881, Herbert received an L.L.B. in law and political science from Columbia Law School. Later that year, he was admitted to the New York State bar and practiced law with his brother-in-law, George Chandler Holt (1843-1931). His diplomatic career began in 1890; he served in Spain, Persia, and Venezuela, but returned to Woodstock in 1905 when his career as a diplomat ended. Bowen was married twice: first wife, Augusta Floyd Vingut; second wife, Carolyn Mae Clegg (1877-1949). Herbert Wolcott Bowen died on May 29, 1927.

John Eliot Bowen (1858-1890), eighth child of Henry Chandler and Lucy Maria (Tappan) Bowen, was born on June 8, 1858. He studied at Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute in Brooklyn, New York, and Woodstock Academy in Woodstock, Connecticut. In 1881, John graduated from Yale College, where he helped found the University Club. After graduation he traveled extensively in Europe and the Middle East. John received his Ph.D in political science from Columbia University in 1886. He became managing editor of the Independent newspaper and a published author, in addition to being an active sportsman and a talented polo player. On January 3, 1890, two days before his wedding, he died of typhoid fever.

Franklin Davis Bowen (1860-1940), ninth child of Henry Chandler and Lucy Maria (Tappan) Bowen, was born on October 29, 1860. Like his brothers, he attended Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute in Brooklyn, New York, after which he was prepared for college by a private tutor. In 1884, he graduated from Yale College, where he participated in the Glee Club, played second violin in the University Orchestra, and played on the Lacrosse Team. Frank also helped found the "Wolf's Head" senior society. He spent the next ten years working for the Independent newspaper followed by an early retirement and active travel and time at Woodstock. Frank did not marry and died in 1940.

Paul Holt Bowen (1868-1895), only child of Henry Chandler and Ellen (Holt) Bowen, was born on September 25, 1868. He attended Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute in Brooklyn, New York. In 1887, he entered the Science Department at Dartmouth College; he withdrew owing to ill health. On April 8, 1893, he married Emily Vivian (1896-1925), daughter of William Henry and Emily Caroline (Varney) Hyde of Alessandro, California; they had one child, Pauline Holt Bowen (born 1895). On January 17, 1895, Paul Holt Bowen died of consumption (tuberculosis).

George Chandler Holt (1843-1931), brother of Ellen (Holt) Bowen (1834-1903) and husband of Mary Louisa (Bowen) Holt (born 1848), was born December 31, 1843. In 1866, he graduated from Yale College and was chosen by his classmates to give the Class Oration. Holt graduated from Columbia Law School in 1869 and married Mary Louisa (Bowen) on October 12, 1871; they had six children.

Gardner Richardson (1884-1972), third child of Alice Linden (Bowen) Richardson (1854-1948) and Rufus Byam Richardson (1845-1914), was born on February 8, 1884. In 1905, he graduated from Yale College and spent four years working at the Independent newspaper. He became interested in serving as a diplomat and worked for a series of foreign agencies, including The American Ambulance Corps in Paris (1915), the Commission for Relief in Belgium (1916), the American Relief Administration in Vienna (1929-early 1930s), and the American Legation at Bern. On American shores, he worked for the Department of Foreign and Domestic Commerce in Washington, DC. On November 24, 1927, he married Dorothea Boyd (1894-1981) of Toronto, Canada; they had two children.

Record details

Material Type
photographic materials
Location Note
HGO-02-105-A-E-302; HGO-02-105-A-E-101; HGO-02-105-A-E-106

Browse Collection

Use the links below to browse up and down the collection hierarchy from the current record.