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Ralph Bowers Bowman San Diego Photographs Collection

Identifier: MS-0537

Scope and Contents

The Ralph Bowers Bowman San Diego Photographs Collection (1922-1937) includes scenes of the San Diego metropolitan area. Subjects of the photographs include landmarks, waterfront scenes of fishing boats, freights ships and naval ships; Balboa Park; La Jolla; Point Loma; aerial views; street scenes; football games; visiting dignitaries; and personal photographs of Bowman's children and family. Also documented by the photographs are several road trips to St. Louis, the Imperial Valley, Phoenix and Prescott, Arizona, and the Yosemite Valley.


  • Creation: 1922-1937


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research. Any photograph with an identifiable family member may not be made use of by a third party or licensed for commercial use without the permission of Julia E. Reid or her brother, Stewart Reid, during their lifetimes.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in some or all of these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with the creator(s) of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of archival collections is such that multiple creators are often applicable and copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine. In any case, the user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, obtaining publication rights and copyright infringement. When requesting images from Special Collections & University Archives for publication, we require a signed agreement waiving San Diego State University of any liability in the event of a copyright violation.

Biographical Note

Ralph Bowers Bowman (1878-1937) was a businessman who sold industrial machinery. After the death of his first wife he remarried and moved his family from St. Louis to Phoenix to live with his mother, eventually settling in San Diego. His two daughters by his first wife were Julia Bowman Robinson (1919-1985), an eminent mathematician and the first woman president of the American Mathematical Society, and Constance Bowman Reid (1918-2010), a biographer of mathematicians. Around the time of his first wife’s death, Bowman took up photography, a hobby that would produce thousands of photographs. For a more detailed history of Ralph Bowers Bowman and his family, see document titled “Ralph Bowman Photographs” by Julia E. Reid in the James E. Lunbeck Donor File.


5.33 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

I.  Photo Albums, 1922-1937

II. Negatives, 1923-1937

Physical Access Requirements

Photo albums are unbound. Black paper is decomposing badly and produces a large amount of black dust when handled. Negatives are housed in paper sleeves. Loose photo prints are housed in mylar sleeves.

Custodial History

James E. Lunbeck is the partner of Julia E. Reid, the daughter of Ralph Bowers Bowman's daughter, Constance Bowman Reid. The donors have chosen to donate the majority of Bowman’s photographs of St. Louis and Phoenix to historical institutions in their respective cities.

Source of Acquisition

James E. Lunbeck

Accruals and Additions


Related Materials

John and Jane Adams Postcard Collection, 1880-2007

G. Hamilton Hammon Scrapbook, 1911-1939

San Diego Corral of the Westerners Records, 1921-2013

San Diego Photograph Collection, 1870-1975

Processing Information

Processed by Lucas Buresch, November 2017.

Ralph Bowers Bowman San Diego Photographs Collection
Lucas Buresch
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections & University Archives Repository

5500 Campanile Dr. MC 8050
San Diego CA 92182-8050 US