Contents and Arrangement

Series 1: Correspondence, 1923-1971

9 boxes

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The Correspondence series primarily documents Bowman's childhood and young adulthood, from his stay as a boy at a sanitarium in Kansas City for diabetes treatment through his years at Stanford and Princeton. Correspondence between Bowman and his mother, Mary Augusta Brooks Bowman, is particularly rich in part because they wrote each other almost daily and in great detail. Bowman's letters to his mother from Stanford and Princeton, in particular, are lively and quick-witted and reveal his myriad social activities, impressions of college life, and opinions on subjects of all sorts, from family matters to politics to popular films and actors. Correspondence with his father, sister, and brother can be equally revealing but does not match the sheer volume of correspondence between mother and son. Letters from Bowman's friends are also worth noting for their vivid evocations of private school and college life in the 1920s and 1930s. Bowman corresponded with several young women, including a cousin, Edith Brooks, who was traveling in the car with Bowman at the time he was killed. The young women's letters, in particular, contain a vivaciousness and convey their own and Bowman's very active social lives. Bowman also maintained a correspondence over many years with a member of the crew he met on a Cunard Lines voyage he took as a boy with his family. The crew member sent Bowman many letters and postcards from his voyages around the world.

Of particular interest with regard to Bowman's musical career are his letters from Princeton between 1933 and 1936. In between reports on football games and weekend trips, Brooks discussed matters such as Triangle Club work, royalty agreements, and musicians of the day, including Guy Lombardo, who performed his songs "East of the Sun (and West of the Moon)" and "Love and a Dime," as well as his hopes and plans for Hollywood and New York songwriting contracts.

The series includes a letter, from March 1937, in which Brooks details his experiences in Hollywood in his typically spirited manner. The series also contains copies of letters from F. Scott Fitzgerald '17, who wrote to Bowman praising his work on Stags at Bay, and from Cole Porter, who penned a letter of introduction for Bowman to New York theatrical producer Dwight Deere Wiman. This material was collected by Fred Fox and is maintained, along with correspondence between Fox, Bowman's sister Mary, and some of Bowman's Triangle Club colleagues and classmates, in a folder at the end of this series. A copy of the original manuscript of "East of the Sun (and West of the Moon)" and a copy of "You and Romance and Me," a song Bowman wrote with Hoagy Carmichael, are also located in this folder.


Arranged by correspondent and then chronologically.

Collection History

Custodial History

Frederic Fox '39, then Princeton University Recording Secretary, transferred his collected material on Brooks Bowman to the University Archives in 1974. The Bowman correspondence and photographs came to the Archives sometime after that date.


Appraisal has been conducted in accordance with Mudd Library guidelines. Nothing was separated from the papers during 2007 processing.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Christie Lutz with assistance from Mercy Chesiror '10, Samuel Clendon '07 and Christina McMillan '07 in May through July 2007.. Finding aid written by Christie Lutz in June 2007.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. The Trustees of Princeton University hold copyright to all materials generated by Princeton University employees in the course of their work. For instances beyond Fair Use, if copyright is held by Princeton University, researchers do not need to obtain permission, complete any forms, or receive a letter to move forward with use of materials from the Princeton University Archives.

For instances beyond Fair Use where the copyright is not held by the University, while permission from the Library is not required, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Series 2, Photographs, contains a large number of negatives, most of which are without accompanying prints.

Credit this material:

Series 1: Correspondence; Brooks Bowman Papers, AC165, Princeton University Archives, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library
Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library
65 Olden Street
Princeton, NJ 08540, USA
(609) 258-6345
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (mudd): Box 1-9

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Related Materials

The Triangle Club Records (AC122) contain the records of the performances in which Bowman played an integral role, including Fiesta, What a Relief! and Stags at Bay. Robert D. B. Carlisle's research material on Brooks Bowman is also included in the Triangle Club Records. The Theater Intime Records (AC022) contain material on Twitch Twaddle, another performance in which Bowman participated. While not related in subject matter, the Mudd Library also holds the Brooks Emeny Papers (MC047) among its 20th Century Public Policy Papers. Emeny, a prominent international relations scholar and member of the Princeton Class of 1924, was Brooks Bowman's cousin.


"Princeton's Cole Porter" by Robert D. B. Carlisle '44 in the May 7, 1986 Princeton Alumni Weekly draws on material in the Bowman Papers, in particular Fred Fox's collected material.

"Princeton's Cole Porter" by Robert D. B. Carlisle '44 in the May 7, 1986 Princeton Alumni Weekly and Bowman's undergraduate alumni file were consulted in preparation of the biographical note. Also, the David O. Selznick Collection at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas, Austin, provides details of Bowman's tenure at Selznick International.

Asheville School (Asheville, N.C.)
University School (Hunting Valley, Ohio)
Stanford university
Princeton University
Princeton University. Triangle Club
Bowman, Brooks, 1913-1937