Guide to the Maurice E. Bowes Papers, 1943-1993

Collection number: MC 245
Size: 5 boxes (1.66 cu.ft.)

About Maurice E. Bowes

Maurice E. Bowes was born in Greenfield, N.H. on January 1, 1923. He enlisted in January 1943 and served with distinction in World War II as a first engineer and top turret gunner on a B24 bomber, being awarded a Purple Heart, two oak leaf clusters and an air medal. He was shot down over Rumania (see note below under “About the Maurice E. Bowes Papers”) and held as a prisoner-of-war in Bucharest until the Rumanians capitulated a month later.

Maurice married Shirley F. Price (UNH Class of 1954) of Concord NH in 1957, and they currently live in NH. Maurice’s father, Louis Bowes, referenced in the letters, died in 1970 at age 73 and is buried in Greenfield, and his mother, Elva (née Lowe) died in 1995 at the age of 97 and is also buried in Greenfield.

About the Maurice E. Bowes Papers

The Maurice E. Bowes papers consist of over 1100 letters between various family members – his mother, Elva, his younger sister, Elsie, and his father, Louis – and himself. He is consistently addressed in the letters as “Bub.”

Elva’s letters from 1943 almost always include the day’s comic strip of “Draftie” from the Boston Post. (Along with the “Draftie” comic strip, many of the letters include comics of various originations. In fact, it appears that the family attempted to keep the letters as lighthearted as possible.) In July 1944, Elva’s envelopes were returned marked “missing”, and in the letter dated August 22 she states that it has been exactly a month since he was reported “missing in action” over Rumania, thus indicating that the Greenfield town history has it wrong when it says that he was shot down in November 1944 (the July date is confirmed by the World War II Prisoners of War Index). These letters from Elva to Maurice while he is still missing in action (Box 1 Folder 17) are the most emotional by far, though they are consistently hopeful and show how calm and collected the family was during this adverse time.

Letters from Louis to Maurice often have small pencil drawings in them that deal with the equipment in the greenhouse. Maurice is also heavily informed about day to day operations at the greenhouse. Maurice also provides feedback in his letters on what should be done at the greenhouse. In fact, the regularity and number of letters exchanged between the various family members indicates a close-knit family, which events would bear out when the post-war greenhouse business would involve all four of them.

WWII letterheads were unique for each training station. The most dramatic ones come from Maurice while he is stationed at March Field, California (see Box 4, Folder 1). The letterheads show administrative buildings, troops being drilled and even bombers in flight.

Maurice was a cousin of Elwin E. Muzzey, whose papers are also held in Milne Special Collections (see Collection MC 172). They contain 20 letters from Maurice.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

This collection is open.

Copyright Notice

Contents of this collection are governed by U.S. copyright law. For questions about publication or reproduction rights, contact Special Collections staff.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], [Folder], [Box], Maurice E. Bowes, MC 245, Milne Special Collections and Archives, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, NH, USA.

Acquisitions Information

Donation, Maurice E. Bowes, 2012 (Accession number: 2012.06)

Collection Contents

Series 1: Correspondence

Subseries A.: Elva Bowes to Maurice E. Bowes, 1943-1948

Box 1
Box 1, Folder 1From Elva Bowes, Jan-Feb 14, 1943 (7 letters)
Box 1, Folder 2From Elva Bowes, Feb 16-26, 1943 (7 letters)
Box 1, Folder 3From Elva Bowes, March 1943 (14 letters)
Box 1, Folder 4From Elva Bowes, April 1943 (10 letters)
Box 1, Folder 5From Elva Bowes, May-June 1943 (16 letters)
Box 1, Folder 6From Elva Bowes, July 1943 (14 letters)
Box 1, Folder 7From Elva Bowes, Aug, 1943 (11 letters)
Box 1, Folder 8From Elva Bowes, Sept 1943 (12 letters)
Box 1, Folder 9From Elva Bowes, Oct 1943 (11 letters)
Box 1, Folder 10From Elva Bowes, Nov 3-17, 1943 (11 letters)
Box 1, Folder 11From Elva Bowes, Nov 22-30, 1943 (6 letters)
Box 1, Folder 12From Elva Bowes, Dec 1-14, 1943 (11 letters)
Box 1, Folder 13From Elva Bowes, Dec 15-21, 1943 (7 letters)
Box 1, Folder 14From Elva Bowes, Dec 22-30, 1943 (7 letters)
Box 1, Folder 15From Elva Bowes, Jan 1944 (17 letters)
Box 1, Folder 16From Elva Bowes, Feb 1944 (17 letters)
Box 1, Folder 17From Elva Bowes, July-Dec 1944 (17 letters)
Box 1, Folder 18From Elva Bowes, Jan 2-13, 1945 (11 letters)
Box 1, Folder 19From Elva Bowes, Jan 18-31, 1945 (11 letters)
Box 1, Folder 20From Elva Bowes, Feb 1945 (7 letters)
Box 1, Folder 21From Elva Bowes, March 1-16, 1945 (11 letters)
Box 1, Folder 22From Elva Bowes, March 19-31, 1945 (9 letters)
Box 1, Folder 23From Elva Bowes, April 2-16, 1945 (11 letters)
Box 1, Folder 24From Elva Bowes, April 17-30, 1945 (10 letters)
Box 2
Box 2, Folder 1From Elva Bowes, May 1944 (18 letters)
Box 2, Folder 2From Elva Bowes, June 1944 (15 letters)
Box 2, Folder 3From Elva Bowes, July 1944 (15 letters)
Box 2, Folder 4From Elva Bowes, Aug 1944 (18 letters)
Box 2, Folder 5From Elva Bowes, Sept 1944 (16 letters)
Box 2, Folder 6From Elva Bowes, Jan-Feb 1948 (6 letters)

Subseries B.: Elsie Bowes to Maurice E. Bowes, 1943-1945

Box 2
Box 2, Folder 7From Elsie Bowes, Feb 1943 (11 letters)
Box 2, Folder 8From Elsie Bowes, March 1943 (13 letters)
Box 2, Folder 9From Elsie Bowes, April 1943 (10 letters)
Box 2, Folder 10From Elsie Bowes, May-June 1943 (22 letters)
Box 2, Folder 11From Elsie Bowes, July 1943 (15 letters)
Box 2, Folder 12From Elsie Bowes, Aug 1943 (12 letters)
Box 2, Folder 13From Elsie Bowes, Sept 1943 (9 letters)
Box 2, Folder 14From Elsie Bowes, Oct-Dec 1943 (20 letters)
Box 2, Folder 15From Elsie Bowes, Jan-Aug 1944 (15 letters)
Box 2, Folder 16From Elsie Bowes, Jan-Aug 1945 (7 letters)

Subseries C.: Louis Bowes to Maurice E. Bowes, 1943-1945

Box 2
Box 2, Folder 17From Louis Bowes, Jan-May 1943 (14 letters)
Box 2, Folder 18From Louis Bowes, June-July 1943 (8 letters)
Box 2, Folder 19From Louis Bowes, Aug-Sept 1943 (6 letters)
Box 2, Folder 20From Louis Bowes, Oct-Dec 1943 (13 letters)
Box 2, Folder 21From Louis Bowes, 1944 (6 letters)
Box 2, Folder 22From Louis Bowes, 1945 (12 letters)

Subseries D.: Others to Maurice E. Bowes, 1943-1998

Box 2
Box 2, Folder 23From Elwin E. Muzzey, 1943 (18 letters)
Box 2, Folder 24From Elwin E. Muzzey, 1944-1998 (10 letters)
Box 3
Box 3, Folder 1From various correspondents, Feb-Sept 1943 1945 (20 letters)
Box 3, Folder 2From various correspondents, Oct-Nov 1943 1945 (6 letters)
Box 3, Folder 3From various correspondents, Dec 1943 (13 letters)
Box 3, Folder 4From various correspondents, Jan-Aug 1944 (9 letters)
Box 3, Folder 5From various correspondents, Sept-Dec 1944 (12 letters)
Box 3, Folder 6From various correspondents, Jan-Feb 1945 (11 letters)
Box 3, Folder 7From various correspondents, March-Sept 1945 (12 letters)
Box 3, Folder 8From various correspondents, 1947 and 1993 (3 letters)

Subseries E.: Maurice E. Bowes to family members, 1943-1948

Box 3
Box 3, Folder 9From Maurice E. Bowes, Jan-Feb 15, 1943 (14 letters)
Box 3, Folder 10From Maurice E. Bowes, Feb 16-28, 1943 (11 letters)
Box 3, Folder 11From Maurice E. Bowes, March 1-15, 1943 (11 letters)
Box 3, Folder 12From Maurice E. Bowes, March 16-31, 1943 (11 letters)
Box 3, Folder 13From Maurice E. Bowes, April 1-15, 1943 (14 letters)
Box 3, Folder 14From Maurice E. Bowes, April 16-30, 1943 (16 letters)
Box 3, Folder 15From Maurice E. Bowes, May 1-15, 1943 (14 letters)
Box 3, Folder 16From Maurice E. Bowes, May 16-31, 1943 (18 letters)
Box 3, Folder 17From Maurice E. Bowes, June 1-15, 1943 (14 letters)
Box 3, Folder 18From Maurice E. Bowes, June 16-30, 1943 (15 letters)
Box 3, Folder 19From Maurice E. Bowes, July 1-15, 1943 (15 letters)
Box 3, Folder 20From Maurice E. Bowes, July 16-31, 1943 (17 letters)
Box 3, Folder 21From Maurice E. Bowes, Aug 1-15, 1943 (14 letters)
Box 3, Folder 22From Maurice E. Bowes, Aug 16-30, 1943 (18 letters)
Box 3, Folder 23From Maurice E. Bowes, Sept 1-15, 1943 (13 letters)
Box 3, Folder 24From Maurice E. Bowes, Sept 16-30, 1943 (19 letters)
Box 3, Folder 25From Maurice E. Bowes, Oct 1-15, 1943 (10 letters)
Box 3, Folder 26From Maurice E. Bowes, Oct 16-30, 1943 (4 letters)
Box 3, Folder 27From Maurice E. Bowes, Nov 4-15, 1943 (20 letters)
Box 3, Folder 28From Maurice E. Bowes, Nov 16-30, 1943 (17 letters)
Box 3, Folder 29From Maurice E. Bowes, Dec 1-15, 1943 (11 letters)
Box 3, Folder 30From Maurice E. Bowes, Dec 16-30, 1943 (10 letters)
Box 4
Box 4, Folder 1From Maurice E. Bowes, Jan 1-15, 1944 (7 letters)
Box 4, Folder 2From Maurice E. Bowes, Jan 16-31, 1944 (11 letters)
Box 4, Folder 3From Maurice E. Bowes, Feb 1-15, 1944 (11 letters)
Box 4, Folder 4From Maurice E. Bowes, Feb 16-28, 1944 (9 letters)
Box 4, Folder 5From Maurice E. Bowes, March 1944 (10 letters)
Box 4, Folder 6From Maurice E. Bowes, April-May, 1944 (11 letters)
Box 4, Folder 7From Maurice E. Bowes, June 1944 (9 letters)
Box 4, Folder 8From Maurice E. Bowes, July-Sept 1944 (12 letters)
Box 4, Folder 9From Maurice E. Bowes, Nov 1-11, 1944 (11 letters)
Box 4, Folder 10From Maurice E. Bowes, Nov 12-30, 1944 (9 letters)
Box 4, Folder 11From Maurice E. Bowes, Dec 1-13, 1944 (10 letters)
Box 4, Folder 12From Maurice E. Bowes, Dec 14-31, 1944 (9 letters)
Box 4, Folder 13From Maurice E. Bowes, Jan 1-15, 1945 (16 letters)
Box 4, Folder 14From Maurice E. Bowes, Jan 16-31, 1945 (16 letters)
Box 4, Folder 15From Maurice E. Bowes, Feb 1945 (8 letters)
Box 4, Folder 16From Maurice E. Bowes, March 1-15, 1945 (14 letters)
Box 4, Folder 17From Maurice E. Bowes, March 16-31, 1945 (14 letters)
Box 4, Folder 18From Maurice E. Bowes, April 1-15, 1945 (14 letters)
Box 4, Folder 19From Maurice E. Bowes, April 16-30, 1945 (15 letters)
Box 4, Folder 20From Maurice E. Bowes, May 1-15, 1945 (8 letters)
Box 4, Folder 21From Maurice E. Bowes, May 16-31, 1945 (10 letters)
Box 4, Folder 22From Maurice E. Bowes, June 1-15, 1945 (8 letters)
Box 4, Folder 23From Maurice E. Bowes, June 16-30, 1945 (12 letters)
Box 4, Folder 24From Maurice E. Bowes, July 1945 (16 letters)
Box 4, Folder 25From Maurice E. Bowes, Aug 1-15, 1945 (8 letters)
Box 4, Folder 26From Maurice E. Bowes, Aug 16-31, 1945 (13 letters)
Box 4, Folder 27From Maurice E. Bowes, Sept 1945 (14 letters)
Box 4, Folder 28From Maurice E. Bowes, Jan-April 1948 (13 letters)

Subseries F.: Elsie Bowes to family members, 1943-1948

Box 4, Folder 29From Elsie Bowes, 1947-1950 (5 letters)

Series 2: Miscellaneous Papers

Box 4
Box 4, Folder 30Sympathy letters and cards, including from Sen. Styles Bridges, NH Rep. Sherman Adams, Governor Robert O. Blood, sent when Bowes was MIA, Aug-Oct 1944 (25 letters)
Box 4, Folder 31Narrative of Maurice E. Bowes’s wartime experiences (4 typed pages), photocopy of a photograph of him in uniform aged 21, photocopy of his Honorable Discharge certificate and service record (4 pages), copies of letters written by Joe Guyner to Maurice and various others, March 1984 (7 pages), list of ten names of comrades and their contact information
Box 4, Folder 32Magazine clippings (6 articles); booklet: “For Service Men in New York City”
Box 4, Folder 33Newsclippings, mostly comic strips or cartoons

Series 3: Photographs

Box 4
Box 4, Folder 34Photographs of Maurice Bowes, family and friends (including one of Elwin Muzzey and Earle Long, Greenfield NH Fall 1944 and one each of the flight crew and the “Silver Queen” [Bowes's airplane] mascot) (8 photographs)

Series 4: Scrapbooks

Box 5
Box 5, Folder 1Scrapbook (in poor condition).

Contains mainly postcards, a few photographs of Maurice Bowes, and the Keesler Field Song Book, prepared for the troops at Keesler Field in Biloxi, Mississippi with the thought that “A singing army is a winning army!”