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The Benjamin P. Bourland Rowfantia Collection

Kelvin Smith Library: Special Collections Research Center


Biography | Scope and Content | Boxlist

Quantity:  2 linear feet

Restrictions: The Department of Special Collections is open to any interested researcher upon presentation of a valid CASE ID or other valid official identification card. Department is open to other researchers by appointment only. No usage restrictions.

Acquisition: This collection was part of a gift from the estate of Benjamin Parsons Bourland, to the Adelbert College Library of Western Reserve University, 1943.

Biography: Benjamin Parsons Bourland 1870-1943

Born on May 2, 1870, in Peoria, Illinois, Benjamin Parsons Bourland was awarded Bachelor of Arts in 1889 and Master of Arts in 1890 by the University of Michigan, and, Doctor of Philosophy by the University of Vienna in 1897. As Instructor in French at the University of Michigan, he attained the rank of Assistant Professor in 1899. He accepted the position of Associate Professor of Romance Languages in Adelbert College of Western Reserve University in 1901. In 1905 he was made full Professor of Romance Languages, in which position he remained until his retirement, as Professor Emeritus, in 1940.

He married Gertrude Louise Thayer in 1902. Bourland enjoyed a reputation as an outstanding scholar, a patron of the performing arts, a wine connoisseur, and, as a bibliophile noted for his active leadership of the Rowfant Club of Cleveland, Ohio. The Rowfant Club is an organization established in 1892 for "primarily the critical study of books in their various capacities to please the mind of man." [Encyclopedia of Cleveland History].  Bourland died on January 12, 1943.

Scope and Content

Collection mainly consists of announcements for Rowfant Club exhibitions, lectures, auctions and meetings from 1909 to 1936. Included as enclosures in meeting announcements are subscription forms for Rowfant publications, order forms for candlesticks and bookplates, and, occasional notices for fees and donations. There are a small number of memorial tributes to notable members and letters to Bourland in regard to his term as Secretary of the club.

The collection is arranged chronologically by date, month and year within folders reflecting one year of notices mailed to Rowfant Club members.  The arrangement reflects the order created by Bourland for use with board slip cases purchased from the Rowfant Club Publication Committee.  The cases, 7” x 6” x 7/8” in size, came with inside wrappers of heavy cover-paper and printed spine labels and each was intended to hold an annual set of club notices.  Bourland maintained a scrapbook for his Rowfantia until 1912 and used slip covers to store them from 1912-1936.  Folder titles are taken from the labels of the slip covers he used, thus some folder titles reflect dates of annual activities which spanned the months from two calendar years while others document club notices received during a single calendar year.  For preservation needs, the slip covers have been removed to Box 2. Where extant, cover-papers have been stored with club notices in Box 1.





Folder title



Club notices. 1909-1912. Scrapbook



Club notices. 1912-1913



Club notices. 1913-1914


Club notices. 1914-1915


Club notices. 1915-1916


Club notices. 1916-1917


Club notices. 1917-1918


Club notices. 1918-1919


Club notices. 1919-1920


Club notices. 1920-1921


Club notices. 1921-1922


Club notices. 1922


Club notices. 1923-1924


Club notices. 1924-1925


Club notices. 1925-1926


Club notices. 1926-1927


Club notices. 1927


Club notices. 1928


Club notices. 1929


Club notices. 1930


Club notices. 1931


Club notices. 1932


Club notices. 1933


Club notices. 1934


Club notices. 1935


Club notices. 1936



25 Rowfant Club Publication Committee slip cases. 1912-1936


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