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Bowdon College collection

Identifier: LH-0052

Scope and Contents note

This collection consists mostly of announcements and catalogs concerning Bowdon College. There are two mounted pieces, a photograph of the 1909 graduating class, and an ink drawing of the main building on campus done by Mildred Lipham.


  • 1858-2006


Conditions Governing Access note

Open to all users; no restrictions

Conditions Governing Use note

As applicable by U.S. Copyright.

Biographical/Historical note

Formed and opened in 1857 by Captain Charles A. McDaniel and Maj. John M. Richardson, Bowdon College operated as the educational center of both the west Georgia and east Alabama regions into the early twentieth century. Known as the “Athens of the West,” the institution was the fifth chartered college in the state. It was founded with hopes that it could provide higher education for men of limited financial means. Richardson, who had a military background from The Citadel, procured 100 rifles and 100 swords to conduct military training at Bowdon prior to the Civil War. When the war broke out, numerous students left to fight. McDaniel served as a captain of Cobb’s Legion, the 41st Georgia Company, and was killed during his service. Richardson lost a leg during the war, but lived for many years, calling the formation of Bowdon College one of “earnest action and noble purpose.”

Originally accessible only to male students, Bowdon College opened its doors to females in 1872, making it the first collegiate institution in Georgia to offer coeducation. In 1899, a two-story brick building replaced the old college structure and it is this image that many associate with the Bowdon College legacy today. Despite financial difficulties and having to close the college briefly two separate times, throughout the Civil War and in the 1910s, Bowdon College remained active until 1936 when it was forced to close due to a lack of state and local funding. The building continued to be used, however, and became Bowdon High School until 1958. Three years later, in 1961, that the building was demolished. Bricks from the building now line the pathway to the Bowdon Historical Society Museum and the original college bell is used to mark the spot of where Bowdon College once stood.


0.57 Linear feet (1 box, 1 OV folder, and 1 map folder)




Bowdon College was founded in 1857 and was Georgia’s first coeducational institution and fifth chartered institution of higher education. Despite continual economic hardships, the college survived until the Depression when it was forced to close in 1936.

Arrangement note

Organized into two series: 1. General; 2. Oversize.

Arranged alphabetically by file title.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note


Processing Information note

Processed by Shannon Danielle Smith, 2010, and Candice Larson, 2014.


Guide to the Bowdon College collection LH-0052
Finding aid prepared by Written by Candice Larson
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English

Repository Details

Part of the University of West Georgia Special Collections Repository

Special Collections, Ingram Library
University of West Georgia
1601 Maple Street
Carrollton GA 30118-2000 United States