Edmund John Bowen (Fellow 1922-65)

Edward John Bowen (1898–1980) was elected Fellow and Praelector in Chemistry at University College in 1922, a post he held until his retirement in 1965.

Bowen also served as Domestic Bursar, and was Junior Proctor in 1935/6. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1935, and was awarded the Society’s Davy Medal in 1963 (see further Bowen’s obituary in University College Record, Vol. VIII No. 2 (1981), pp. 77–83). His main area of research was in Photochemistry, but he had a wide range of interests, which included the history of University College.
    The main body of Bowen’s papers is preserved at the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford; of the items in this collection, the scrapbook UC:S23/MS1/1 was compiled by Bowen to be presented to the Senior Common Room. It and the accompanying papers at UC:S23/MS2 was transferred to the archives by the Fellow Archivist in January 1997 as Accession No. 8. The notebook UC:S23/MS3/1 was given to the College by a former pupil of Bowen's into whose possession it had come, in February 2015 as Accession No. 1135. An unsigned little memoir of past Master of the College, previously unattributed, and catalogued as UC:P22/MS/1, has now been identified as being by Bowen.

Recatalogued in February 2015.



UC:S23/MS1/1    1939
Notebook containing a chronological history of University College compiled by Bowen. On a facing page Bowen has given a chronology of other events in Oxford history occurring at the same time. On the title page is written  “Presented to the Senior Common Room, University College, Oxford. 1939".
    Bowen also pasted several illustrations into the book, mostly taken from back issues of the University College Record. At the end of the book, Bowen has assembled a collection of photographs of early images of the College. Items found loose in this book are listed below in UC:S23/MS2.



UC:S23/MS2/1    1939
An index to the preceding volume compiled by Bowen.

UC:S23/MS2/2    c.1937/9
Notes by Bowen on the reconstruction of the Library in 1937.

UC:S23/MS2/3    1928
List of inscriptions on windows in the two quads of the College compiled by Bowen in 1928, arranged in room order.

UC:S23/MS2/4    c.1700
Engraving of University College based on Loggan’s print of 1675.  The inscription is in French. Size: 155 by 170 mm.

UC:S23/MS2/5    1933
Reproduction of a cartoon drawn in 1878 of a horse-drawn tram driven in front of University College.

UC:S23/MS2/6    1930s?
Folder of black and white photographs of inscriptions on various College windows.



UC:S23/MS3/1    Jun 1969
    Notebook titled “Chemistry at Oxford (with special reference to the emergence of physical chemical studies)”. This is a manuscript history, written in Bowen’s hand, of the study of chemistry at Oxford, starting from Robert Boyle, and ending up in the mid-20th century. Bowen includes accounts of the various College laboratories, with especial detail on the Balliol-Trinity laboratories where he himself taught before 1940.