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John James Bowlen fonds

1893-1959, predominant 1903-1959

Physical Description:
3.55 m of textual records. -- 126 photographs. -- 23 audio discs. -- 4 audio reels

John James Bowlen, 1876-1959, was born in Cardigan, Prince Edward Island. He and his brother, Maurice Edward Bowlen, born in Kings, Prince Edward Island, moved to Boston, Massachusetts, USA in 1891 where John worked as a stablehand and street railway conductor. Both men fought in the Spanish American War. In 1900 John married Caroline Suive, 1875-1956, of Boston and they had three children, J.J. Jr., Mary (Mooney), and Alice Marguerite (Sandgathe), 1909-1998. Maurice, a carpenter, became an American citizen in 1893 and moved to California where he worked as an inspector and later a deputy sheriff. In 1902 John started a farm in Manitoba; and in 1906 a homestead at Humboldt, Saskatchewan, where he also dealt in horses. He and his family moved to Rosebud Creek, Alberta in 1917 and built the 9-Ranch, a horse ranch, bought the Q Ranch near Medicine Hat, and later established a sheep ranch near Brooks. He also purchased extensive farmland. He began his political career in 1914, as the federal Liberal candidate for North Battleford. He was defeated in the 1917 election. In 1930 he was elected to the Alberta Legislature as Liberal member for Calgary. He was re-elected in 1935 and 1940 and served two terms as House leader. He was defeated in 1944 when he ran as an independent Citizen's Slate candidate. He was appointed to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation board of governors in 1947 and named Lieutenant-Governor in 1950. He received an honorary doctorate from the University of Alberta in 1952 and was named an honorary Blackfoot Chief. He was active in many organizations including membership on the City of Calgary Library Board, 1946-1948. For further information see The Vice-Regal Cowboy : Life and Times of Alberta's J.J. Bowlen / Anthony Walcott Cashman. - Edmonton : Institute of Applied Art, 1957, and "The Honourable John James Bowlen, 1950-1959" in On Behalf of the Crown : Lieutenant Governors of the North West Territories and Alberta, 1869-2005 / Sandra E. Perry and Karen L. Powell. - Edmonton: Legislative Assembly of Alberta, 2006, p. 462-489.

Custodial History:
Part of these records (75 cm of textual records) were originally donated to the City of Edmonton Archives in 1962 by Mary Mooney and Howard Sandgathe. They were transferred to Glenbow to reunite the fonds in 1996.

Scope and Content:
The fonds consists of family correspondence and personal papers; agricultural correspondence; legal records; receipts; account books (1912-1917, 1929, 1930); diaries (1923, 1934-1947); correspondence of official Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) and Lieutenant-Governor duties; political and Liberal party correspondence (1922-1959); speeches; CBC board of governors correspondence (1947-1949); City of Calgary Library Board correspondence, monthly and annual reports (1945-1948), and financial statements (1945, 1947); and newsclippings. Includes radio broadcast recordings of political speeches given by John J. Bowlen, Mackenzie King, and Ernest C. Manning; and family, political and official photographs, and photographs of the Klondike gold rush (1897-1902). Also includes some of Maurice's personal papers.
RECORDS RELATED TO THE FOLLOWING SUBJECTS ARE ALSO IN THIS FONDS. SEE INVENTORY FOR DETAILS: William Aberhart, A.C.L. Adams, D.M. Allan, W.C. Barrie, R.B. Bennett, Nels V. Buchanan, William Ashbury Buchanan, Calgary Library Board, C.H. Conquest, James Kennedy Cornwall, T.A. Crerar, Frank Cusack, J.M. Dechene, A. Dunton, Manley Justin Edwards, P.R. Farnalls, Clinton James Ford, H.F. Francis, Frederick Fraser, T.M. Gainor, James G. Gardiner, S.S. Garson, Fred William Gershaw, J.A. Glen, C.H. Grant, Herbert Greenfield, S.J. Helman, August Hesse, C.D. Howe, J.J. Howson, Hutterites, C. Irving, P.J. Jennings, A.W. Lewis, Solon Low, Hugh John MacDonald, W.H. McGuire, A.A. MacKenzie, James Angus MacKinnon, A.G. MacLachlan, J.F. MacMillan, H. Millican, J. Percy Page, Neil Paterson, M.M. Porter, J. Harper Prowse, Page Rideout, Harold William Riley, G.H. Ross, Gordon Dunbar Ross, A.C.L. Smith, Wesley Stambaugh, Charles A. Stewart, Louis St. Lauren, J.H. Tremblay, Burton J. White, John H. Woods and J.W. Woodsworth.

Source of Acquisition:
Gift of Mary Bowlen-Mooney and Alice Bowlen-Sandgathe, 1957-1978, and the City of Edmonton Archives, 1996-2014.

The material is in English.

Originals and Reproductions:
Bowlen's family and agricultural correspondence is also available on microfilm.

No restrictions on access.

Finding Aids:
Inventory available. Please consult before requesting material.

View finding aid / scanned documents:

Other J. J. Bowlen records are held by the Provincial Archives of Alberta.

Call Numbers:
(M=manuscript; N&P=photos; R=sound recordings; S=slides; F=films)
M-117, M-118, M-3889, M-8516, M-9681, RCD-1, RED-2, RET-29, PA-233, PA-4014, PB-62, PB-1005, PC-30, PE-223, NA-367, NA-590, NA-2615, NA-2679, Microfilm-Bowlen

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