Joshua Lawrence Chamberlan: The Bowdoin College Site

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J.M. Larrabee to "Dear Sir" [Joshua L. Chamberlain],
Gardiner, [Maine], October 12, 1877.


As President of Bowdoin College, Chamberlain dealt with a wide range of concerns, including the apparently trivial matter of class pranks. Yet, despite the apparent humor of the subject, it spoke to a larger and more serious issue, that of the severe financial problems that plagued many families in sending their sons to Bowdoin. This letter is from the father of Edgar Willis Larrabee, Class of 1881.

Rcvd 12 Oct

Gardiner Oct 12 1877

President Chamberlain

Dear Sir

My son Edgar has had taken from his room a nice pair of pants… his best. He of course has no trace of the thief but thinks he may be one of the town boys who entered when the door was left ajar for the end woman to do the chamber work. I am of the opinion however that some one of the "Sophs" has done it as college graduates tell me that such things are done as jokes – and are generally returned after a time.

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I hope it may be a "joke" though I am unable to see where the laugh comes in".

  I do not know where that you can do anything in the matter, but thought it advisable to bring the matter it to your notice. I can ill afford such losses and hope that in future the he may not be subjected to thefts and petty annoyances either as "jokes" or larceny

  I am hoping with the aid of your personal scholarship to keep him in college all the time but may be obliged to take him out this winter to teach or do some other labor to gain means.

Respectfully Yours

J.M. Larrabee

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Citation: George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College, Joshua L. Chamberlain Collection, M27.

Index Terms: Larabee, Edgar Willis; Larabee, J.M.; Pranks; Financial Aid; Finances; Scholarship; Bowdoin College; Presidency


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