Joshua Lawrence Chamberlan: The Bowdoin College Site


Joshua L. Chamberlain to "My dear Mr. Longfellow"
[Henry Wadsworth Longfellow],
Brunswick, Maine, March 22, 1875.

In 1875, the famous class of 1825, which had such notable alumni as Henry Longfellow and Nathanial Hawthorne, celebrated its fiftieth class anniversary. Chamberlain extended an invitation to Longfellow to stay at his house for the reunion. When Longfellow was a professor at Bowdoin in the early 1830s, he lived in three rooms that became a part of the Chamberlain household. Chamberlain learned of how the rooms appeared at the time and had them redesigned to look as they did in 1836. It is said that when Chamberlain showed Longfellow the rooms the poet wept, saying they looked just as they had almost forty years earlier. The following letter is an invitation of Chamberlain to Longfellow offering his house as a "base of operations."

Brunswick March 22d 1875

My dear Mr. Longfellow:

  I am rejoiced to hear that you are to visit "old Bowdoin" with your class this year. We will try not to make it uncomfortable for you.

  My special object in writing is to ask you to make my house your "base of operations." You shall have freedom

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and quiet if you wish it. Moreover, I wish to add Mrs Chamberlain's compliments and beg you to do us the favor to bring one at least of your daughters with you.

  This house was, I think, one of your homes while you were here; and it seems as if you ought to be here while you are in Brunswick.

  If you can stay a few days after Commencement, I want to make up a pleasant party and take a look at Casco Bay and the Islands.

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I shall have a new Yacht just ready for sea at that time, and I think you would enjoy the trip.

With highest regard,

Joshua L. Chamberlain.

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Citation: Harvard University, Houghton Library, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Index Terms: Longfellow, Henry; Casco Bay; Commencement; Bowdoin; Class of 1825; Brunswick; Presidency; Base of Operations

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