[Bowdoin College Class of ‘68]. William Pierce, photog.
[Bowdoin College Class of ‘68]
[Bowdoin College Class of ‘68]
[Bowdoin College Class of ‘68]
[Bowdoin College Class of ‘68]
[Bowdoin College Class of ‘68]
[Bowdoin College Class of ‘68]
[Bowdoin College Class of ‘68]
[Bowdoin College Class of ‘68]
[Bowdoin College Class of ‘68]
[Bowdoin College Class of ‘68]
[Bowdoin College Class of ‘68]
[Bowdoin College Class of ‘68]
[Bowdoin College Class of ‘68]

[Bowdoin College Class of ‘68]

Brunswick, Maine, 1868. 4to (280 x 230mm), original full calf, raised bands, gilt-stamped“Album” and “Bow. Coll.” at spine, gilt-stamped “Bowdoin College Class of ‘68, C. E. Chamberlain” on upper cover, spine and covers stamped with rules and foliated designs in dark brown, binder’s ticket of Short & Loring, Portland, Maine, affixed to the front paste-down, all edges gilt. 55 mounted albumen prints, most approx. 7.5” x 5.5”, most inscribed by the subject on the opposite page.

A splendid copy of the Bowdoin College class book for 1868, containing an appealing selection of original photographs, most notably a striking profile portrait of Civil War hero Joshua Chamberlain, in uniform, inscribed by Chamberlain on the opposite page.

This handsome volume is illustrated with original photographs of faculty and students, as well as views of the campus and the town of Brunswick, Maine. The portrait of Chamberlain, taken by Brunswick photographer William Pierce during the Civil War, was first published as a carte-de-visite, copies of which appear in the market with some regularity. This large format version was included in a few Bowdoin class albums in the later 1860s and is seldom encountered. Chamberlain’s inscription, which appears on the page opposite his portrait, reads “Very truly your friend J. L. Chamberlain.”

The album includes images of 18 faculty members, 23 students, 8 Brunswick houses, and 1 church, as well as 4 campus views (1 of a painting) and 1 view of downtown Brunswick. All but eight of the forty-one portraits are identified, by virtue of the inscriptions. One captivating portrait is that of gym instructor W. C. Dole., who is shown standing quite erect, wearing a tight fitting white shirt, knickers and knee-socks, his right hand resting on a pile of boxing gloves on a table, with Indian clubs on the floor beside him. The inscription is a classic: “Don’t forget the gymnasium.”

The first college class albums to include photographs appeared in the later 1850’s. Today, class albums of the fifties and sixties are valued as specimens of early paper photography. Like all good early photographs, the images in this album are keenly evocative of their time and place, and genuinely transporting. It is difficult to look at the portraits, for instance, without a certain sense of wonder, deriving from the inherent appeal of early paper photographs combined with the personal quirks & individuality of the subjects. The tonality of the prints included here is uniformly strong, lending the greatest aesthetic appeal to the portraits and views alike.

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (1828–1914) was born in Brewer, Maine. Entering Bowdoin College in 1848, he graduated in 1852, subsequently studying for three years at the Maine Theological Seminary. He returned to Bowdoin, where he taught nearly every subject before he was appointed Professor of Modern Languages in 1861. An ardent believer in the Union cause, Chamberlain left Bowdoin in 1862, ostensibly to study languages in Europe for two years, but instead secretly enlisted in the army. He was appointed Lt. Colonel of the 20th Maine in August, and was later promoted to Colonel. He is best remembered for his actions on the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg, where he ordered and led a successful bayonet charge on advancing Confederates at Little Round top, thereby securing the Union left and saving the day. Renowned for his courage, Chamberlain was wounded six times and had six horses shot out from under him. After the War, he served as Governor of Maine (1867–1871) and president of Bowdoin College (1871–1883).

A fine Bowdoin College class album, containing a classic photograph of Joshua Chamberlain in its most desirable form.

CONDITION: Very good, minor rubbing, one black leaf detached.

Item #4325

Price: $7,500.00

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