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Maurice E. Bowes

Papers, 1943-1993

MC 245

5 boxes (1.66 cu.ft.)

About Maurice E. Bowes

Maurice E. Bowes was born in Greenfield, N.H. on January 1, 1923. He enlisted in January 1943 and served with distinction in World War II as a first engineer and top turret gunner on a B24 bomber, being awarded a Purple Heart, two oak leaf clusters and an air medal. He was shot down over Rumania (see note below under “About the Maurice E. Bowes Papers”) and held as a prisoner-of-war in Bucharest until the Rumanians capitulated a month later. His parents, Louis and Elva Bowes, owned and operated the first greenhouse in Greenfield, opening it for trade in 1932. It was partially destroyed in the hurricane of 1938 and replaced by a newly built house in 1940. When two more houses were added in 1945 the business became the Windy Hill Greenhouses and they remained in operation until 1970, when they were sold and removed. The business was run entirely by the Bowes family – Elva, Louis, son Maurice and daughter Elsie. Maurice managed a branch in Hillsborough from the early 1950s until 1961 when it was sold. (Source: Greenfield, New Hampshire: The Story of a Town, 1791-1976 by Doris E. Hopkins, 1977).

Maurice married Shirley F. Price (UNH Class of 1954) of Concord NH in 1957, and they currently live in NH. Maurice’s father, Louis Bowes, referenced in the letters, died in 1970 at age 73 and is buried in Greenfield, and his mother, Elva (née Lowe) died in 1995 at the age of 97 and is also buried in Greenfield.

About the Maurice E. Bowes Papers

The Maurice E. Bowes papers consist of over 1100 letters between various family members – his mother, Elva, his younger sister, Elsie, and his father, Louis – and himself. JHe is consistently addressed in the letters as “Bub.”

Elva’s letters from 1943 almost always include the day’s comic strip of “Draftie” from the Boston Post. (Along with the “Draftie” comic strip, many of the letters include comics of various originations. In fact, it appears that the family attempted to keep the letters as lighthearted as possible.) In July 1944, Elva’s envelopes were returned marked “missing”, and in the letter dated August 22 she states that it has been exactly a month since he was reported “missing in action” over Rumania, thus indicating that the Greenfield town history has it wrong when it says that he was shot down in November 1944 (the July date is confirmed by the World War II Prisoners of War Index). These letters from Elva to Maurice while he is still missing in action are the most emotional by far (see Box 1 Folder 17), though they are consistently hopeful and show how calm and collected the family was during this adverse time.

Letters from Louis to Maurice often have small pencil drawings in them that deal with the equipment in the greenhouse. Maurice is also heavily informed about day to day operations at the greenhouse. Maurice also provides feedback in his letters on what should be done at the greenhouse. In fact, the regularity and number of letters exchanged between the various family members indicates a close-knit family, which events would bear out when the post-war greenhouse business would involve all four of them.

WWII letterheads were unique for each training station. The most dramatic ones come from Maurice while he is stationed at March Field, California (see Box 4, Folder 1). The letterheads show administrative buildings, troops being drilled and even bombers in flight.

Maurice was a cousin of Elwin E. Muzzey, whose papers are also held in Milne Special Collections. They contain 20 letters from Maurice.

Folder Listing

  1. Correspondence
    1. Elva Bowes to Maurice E. Bowes
    2. Elsie Bowes to Maurice E. Bowes
    3. Louis Bowes to Maurice E. Bowes
    4. Others to Maurice E. Bowes
    5. From Maurice E. Bowes to family
    6. From Elsie Bowes to family
  2. Miscellaneous Papers
  3. Photographs
  4. Scrapbook

I. Correspondence

A. Elva Bowes To Maurice E. Bowes, 1943-1948

BOX 1
f.1 From Elva Bowes, Jan-Feb 14, 1943 (7 letters)
f.2 From Elva Bowes, Feb 16-26, 1943 (7 letters)
f.3 From Elva Bowes, March 1943 (14 letters)
f.4 From Elva Bowes, April 1943 (10 letters)
f.5 From Elva Bowes, May-June 1943 (16 letters)
f.6 From Elva Bowes, July 1943 (14 letters)
f.7 From Elva Bowes, Aug 1943 (11 letters)
f.8 From Elva Bowes, Sept 1943 (12 letters)
f.9 From Elva Bowes, Oct 1943 (11 letters)
f.10 From Elva Bowes, Nov 3-17, 1943 (11 letters)
f.11 From Elva Bowes, Nov 22-30, 1943 (6 letters)
f.12 From Elva Bowes, Dec 1-14, 1943 (11 letters)
f.13 From Elva Bowes, Dec 15-21, 1943 (7 letters)
f.14 From Elva Bowes, Dec 22-30, 1943 (7 letters)
f.15 From Elva Bowes, Jan 1944 (17 letters)
f.16 From Elva Bowes, Feb 1944 (17 letters)
f.17 From Elva Bowes, July-Dec 1944 (17 letters)
f.18 From Elva Bowes, Jan 2-13, 1945 (11 letters)
f.19 From Elva Bowes, Jan 18-31, 1945 (11 letters)
f.20 From Elva Bowes, Feb 1945 (7 letters)
f.21 From Elva Bowes, March 1-16, 1945 (11 letters)
f.22 From Elva Bowes, March 19-31, 1945 (9 letters)
f.23 From Elva Bowes, April 2-16, 1945 (11 letters)
f.24 From Elva Bowes, April 17-30, 1945 (10 letters)
BOX 2
f.1 From Elva Bowes, May 1945 (18 letters)
f.2 From Elva Bowes, June 1945 (15 letters)
f.3 From Elva Bowes, July 1945 (15 letters)
f.4 From Elva Bowes, Aug 1945 (18 letters)
f.5 From Elva Bowes, Sept 1945 (16 letters)
f.6 From Elva Bowes, Jan-Feb 1948 (6 letters)

B. Elsie Bowes To Maurice E. Bowes, 1943-1945

BOX 2
f.7 From Elsie Bowes, Feb 1943 (11 letters)
f.8 From Elsie Bowes, March 1943 (13 letters)
f.9 From Elsie Bowes, April 1943 (10 letters)
f.10 From Elsie Bowes, May-June 1943 (22 letters)
f.11 From Elsie Bowes, July 1943 (15 letters)
f.12 From Elsie Bowes, Aug 1943 (12 letters)
f.13 From Elsie Bowes, Sept 1943 (9 letters)
f.14 From Elsie Bowes, Oct-Dec 1943 (20 letters)
f.15 From Elsie Bowes, Jan-Aug 1944 (15 letters)
f.16 From Elsie Bowes, Jan-Aug 1945 (7 letters)

C. Louis Bowes To Maurice E. Bowes, 1943-1945

f.17 From Louis Bowes, Jan-May 1943 (14 letters)
f.18 From Louis Bowes, June-July 1943 (8 letters)
f.19 From Louis Bowes, Aug-Sept 1943 (6 letters)
f.20 From Louis Bowes, Oct-Dec 1943 (13 letters)
f.21 From Louis Bowes, 1944 (6 letters)
f.22 From Louis Bowes, 1945 (12 letters)

D. Others To Maurice E. Bowes, 1943-1998

BOX 2
f.23 From Elwin E. Muzzey, 1943 (18 letters)
f.24 From Elwin E. Muzzey, 1944-1998 (10 letters)
BOX 3
f.1 From various correspondents, Feb-Sept 1943 (20 letters)
f.2 From various correspondents, Oct-Nov 1943 (6 letters)
f.3 From various correspondents, Dec 1943 (13 letters)
f.4 From various correspondents, Jan-Aug 1944 (9 letters)
f.5 From various correspondents, Sept-Dec 1944 (12 letters)
f.6 From various correspondents, Jan-Feb 1945 (11 letters)
f.7 From various correspondents, March-Sept 1945 (12 letters)
f.8 From various correspondents, 1947 and 1993 (3 letters)

E. From Maurice E. Bowes to family members

BOX 3
f.9 From Maurice E. Bowes, Jan-Feb 15, 1943 (14 letters)
f.10 From Maurice E. Bowes, Feb 16-28, 1943 (11 letters)
f.11 From Maurice E. Bowes, March 1-15, 1943 (11 letters)
f.12 From Maurice E. Bowes, March 16-31, 1943 (11 letters)
f.13 From Maurice E. Bowes, April 1-15, 1943 (14 letters)
f.14 From Maurice E. Bowes, April 16-30, 1943 (16 letters)
f.15 From Maurice E. Bowes, May 1-15, 1943 (16 letters)
f.16 From Maurice E. Bowes, May 16-31, 1943 (18 letters)
f.17 From Maurice E. Bowes, June 1-15, 1943 (14 letters)
f.18 From Maurice E. Bowes, June 16-30, 1943 (15 letters)
f.19 From Maurice E. Bowes, July 1-15, 1943 (15 letters)
f.20 From Maurice E. Bowes, July 16-31, 1943 (17 letters)
f.21 From Maurice E. Bowes, Aug 1-15, 1943 (14 letters)
f.22 From Maurice E. Bowes, Aug 16-30, 1943 (18 letters)
f.23 From Maurice E. Bowes, Sept 1-15, 1943 (13 letters)
f.24 From Maurice E. Bowes, Sept 16-30, 1943 (19 letters)
f.25 From Maurice E. Bowes, Oct 1-15, 1943 (10 letters)
f.26 From Maurice E. Bowes, Oct 16-30, 1943 (4 letters)
f.27 From Maurice E. Bowes, Nov 4-15, 1943 (20 letters)
f.28 From Maurice E. Bowes, Nov 16-30 (17 letters)
f.29 From Maurice E. Bowes, Dec 1-15, 1943 (11 letters)
f.30 From Maurice E. Bowes, Dec 16-30, 1943 (10 letters)
BOX 4
f.1 From Maurice E. Bowes, Jan 1-15, 1944 (7 letters)
f.2 From Maurice E. Bowes, Jan 16-31, 1944 (11 letters)
f.3 From Maurice E. Bowes, Feb 1-15, 1944 (11 letters)
f.4 From Maurice E. Bowes, Feb 16-28, 1944 (9 letters)
f.5 From Maurice E. Bowes, March 1944 (10 letters)
f.6 From Maurice E. Bowes, April-May 1944 (11 letters)
f.7 From Maurice E. Bowes, June 1944 (9 letters)
f.8 From Maurice E. Bowes, July-Sept, 1944 (12 letters)
f.9 From Maurice E. Bowes, Nov 1-11, 1944 (11 letters)
f.10 From Maurice E. Bowes, Nov 12-30, 1944 (9 letters)
f.11 From Maurice E. Bowes, Dec 1-13, 1944 (10 letters)
f.12 From Maurice E. Bowes, Dec 14-31, 1944 (9 letters)
f.13 From Maurice E. Bowes, Jan 1-15, 1945 (16 letters)
f.14 From Maurice E. Bowes, Jan 16-31, 1945 (16 letters)
f.15 From Maurice E. Bowes, Feb 1945 (8 letters)
f.16 From Maurice E. Bowes, March 1-15, 1945 (14 letters)
f.17 From Maurice E. Bowes, March 16-31, 1945 (14 letters)
f.18 From Maurice E. Bowes, April 1-15, 1945 (14 letters)
f.19 From Maurice E. Bowes, April 16-30, 1945 (15 letters)
f.20 From Maurice E. Bowes, May 1-15, 1945 (8 letters)
f.21 From Maurice E. Bowes, May 16-31, 1945 (10 letters)
f.22 From Maurice E. Bowes, June 1-15, 1945 (8 letters)
f.23 From Maurice E. Bowes, June 16-30, 1945 (12 letters)
f.24 From Maurice E. Bowes, July 1945 (16 letters)
f.25 From Maurice E. Bowes, Aug 1-15, 1945 (8 letters)
f.26 From Maurice E. Bowes, Aug 16-31, 1945 (13 letters)
f.27 From Maurice E. Bowes, Sept 1945 (14 letters)
f.28 From Maurice E. Bowes, Jan-April 1948 (13 letters)

E. From Elsie Bowes to family members

f.29 From Elsie Bowes, 1947-1950 (5 letters)

II. Miscellaneous Papers

f.30 Sympathy letters and cards, including from Sen. Styles Bridges, NH Rep. Sherman Adams, Governor Robert O. Blood, sent when Bowes was MIA, Aug-Oct 1944 (25 letters)
f.31 Narrative of Maurice E. Bowes’s wartime experiences (4 typed pages), photocopy of a photograph of him in uniform aged 21, photocopy of his Honorable Discharge certificate and service record (4 pages), copies of letters written by Joe Guyner to Maurice and various others, March 1984 (7 pages), list of ten names of comrades and their contact information
f.32 Magazine clippings (6 articles); booklet: “For Service Men in New York City”
f.33 Newsclippings, mostly comic strips or cartoons

III. Photographs

f.34 Eight photographs of Maurice Bowes, family and friends (including one of Elwin Muzzey and Earle Long, Greenfield NH Fall 1944 and one each of the flight crew and the “Silver Queen” [Bowes's airplane] mascot)

IV. Scrapbook

BOX 5
f.1 Scrapbook (in poor condition)
Contains mainly postcards, a few photographs of Maurice Bowes, and the Keesler Field Song Book, prepared for the troops at Keesler Field in Biloxi, Mississippi with the thought that “A singing army is a winning army!”