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The University of Iowa Libraries

Special Collections and University Archives

Finding Aid

Papers of John G. Bowman
RG 05.01.07
Collection Dates: 1911-1914
8.0 linear ft.

Access and Restrictions: This collection is open for research.

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Acquisition and Processing Information: These papers were transferred to the University Archives from the Office of the President; date undetermined. Guide posted to the Internet December 2006.


John G. Bowman
John G. Bowman, ninth president
of the State University of Iowa

Biographical Note

The first University of Iowa alumnus to become its president, John Gabbert Bowman was also the school’s first Iowa-born chief administrator. The Davenport native received the B.A. degree in 1899, the M.A. in 1904, and the Litt.D. in 1934.

While university president, Bowman oversaw the formation of the colleges of Education and Fine Arts, the latter existing as a college for only a few years until it was reorganized as a school within the College of Liberal Arts. He also promoted the work of the University’s Extension Division. Following his departure from Iowa, he became the first director of the American College of Surgeons in 1915. From 1921 to 1945 he was chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh and was its president from 1945 until retiring in 1947.

A controversial educator, Bowman promoted construction of the 42-story Cathedral of Learning at Pittsburgh, over the objections of many faculty members. Completed in 1929, it was at the time the tallest educational structure in the world.

Bowman was born in Davenport in 1877. He married Florence Ridgway Berry in 1908, and they had two children. He died on December 2, 1962, at age 85.

Related Materials

Bowman, John Gabbert. The World That Was. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1947.

Box Contents List

Presidential correspondence; 8.0 ft.