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Ralph Bowers Bowman San Diego Photographs Collection, 1922-1937 | Special Collections & University Archives

By Lucas Buresch

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Collection Overview

Title: Ralph Bowers Bowman San Diego Photographs Collection, 1922-1937Add to your cart.

Primary Creator: Bowman, Ralph Bowers (1878-1937)

Extent: 5.33 Linear Feet. More info below.


I.  Photo Albums (1922-1937)

II. Negatives (1923-1937)

Date Acquired: 08/06/2014. More info below under Accruals.

Subjects: San Diego (Calif.)--History, San Diego (Calif.)--Pictorial works, San Diego County (Calif.)--History--Sources, San Diego County (Calif.)--Pictorial works


This collection includes two photographic albums, loose photographic prints, negatives, and two CDs containing scans of the photos and/or negatives.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Ralph Bowers Bowman San Diego Photographs Collection (1922-1937) includes scenes of the San Diego metropolitan area. Subjects of the photographs include landmarks, waterfront scenes of fishing boats, freights ships and naval ships; Balboa Park; La Jolla; Point Loma; aerial views; street scenes; football games; visiting dignitaries; and personal photographs of Bowman's children and family. Also documented by the photographs are several road trips to St. Louis, the Imperial Valley, Phoenix and Prescott, Arizona, and the Yosemite Valley.

Biographical Note

Ralph Bowers Bowman (1878-1937) was a businessman who sold industrial machinery. After the death of his first wife he remarried and moved his family from St. Louis to Phoenix to live with his mother, eventually settling in San Diego. His two daughters by his first wife were Julia Bowman Robinson (1919-1985), an eminent mathematician and the first woman president of the American Mathematical Society, and Constance Bowman Reid (1918-2010), a biographer of mathematicians. Around the time of his first wife’s death, Bowman took up photography, producing thousands of photos up until his death. For a more detailed history of Ralph Bowers Bowman and his family, see document titled “Ralph Bowman Photographs” by Julia E. Reid in the James E. Lunbeck Donor File.

Subject/Index Terms

San Diego (Calif.)--History
San Diego (Calif.)--Pictorial works
San Diego County (Calif.)--History--Sources
San Diego County (Calif.)--Pictorial works

Administrative Information

Repository: Special Collections & University Archives

Accruals: 2015-051

Alternate Extent Statement: 7 boxes

Access Restrictions: This collection is open for research. Any photograph with an identifiable family member may not be made use of by a third party or licensed for commercial use without the permission of Julia E. Reid or her brother, Stewart Reid, during their lifetimes.

Use Restrictions: The copyright interests in these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with the creators of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of historical archival and manuscript collections is such that copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine.  Requests for permission to publish must be submitted to the Head of Special Collections, San Diego State University, Library and Information Access. When granted, permission is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical item and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder(s), which must also be obtained in order to publish. Materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials.

Physical Access Note: Photo albums are unbound. Black paper is decomposing badly and produces a large amount of black dust when handled. Negatives are housed in paper sleeves. Loose photo prints are housed in mylar sleeves.

Acquisition Source: James E. Lunbeck

Acquisition Method: Gift.

Related Materials:

John and Jane Adams Postcard Collection, 1880-2007

G. Hamilton Hammon Scrapbook, 1911-1939

San Diego Corral of the Westerners Records, 1921-2013

San Diego Photograph Collection, 1870-1975

Preferred Citation: Identification of item, folder title, box number, Ralph Bowers Bowman San Diego Photographs Collection, Special Collections and University Archives, Library and Information Access, San Diego State University.

Processing Information: Processed by Lucas Buresch, November 2017.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series I: Photo Albums, 1922-1937],
[Series II: Negatives, 1923-1937],

Series II: Negatives, 1923-1937Add to your cart.
Includes approximately 2,000 photographic negatives. Each negative measures 2.75x4.25 inches.
Box 3Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Negatives, 1923 May-1925 AugustAdd to your cart.
Box 4Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Negatives, 1925 September-1927 MayAdd to your cart.
Box 5Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Negatives, 1927 June-1929 DecemberAdd to your cart.
Box 6Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Negatives, 1930 January-1933 MarchAdd to your cart.
Box 7Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Negatives, 1933 April-1937 JuneAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Negatives, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: Loose photo prints, ca. 1920s-1930sAdd to your cart.
Includes 40 loose photographic prints, formerly pasted into photo albums.
Folder 4: Digital imagesAdd to your cart.
Digital images of scanned negatives, on (2) CDs.

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