The Stephen Bowers Papers,

Braun Research Library Staff, James Foster
Braun Research Library
Autry National Center of the American West
234 Museum Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90065
Phone: (323) 221-2164 ext. 256
© 2009
Autry National Center of the American West. All rights reserved.

Finding aid of the Stephen Bowers Papers,

Collection number: MS.532

Braun Research Library

Autry National Center of the American West

Los Angeles, California
Processed by:
Braun Research Library Staff, James Foster
Date Completed:
Encoded by:
Cheryl Miller
© 2009 Autry National Center of the American West. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Stephen Bowers Papers,
Dates: 1859-1961
Collection number: MS.532
Creator: Bowers, Stephen, 1832-1907
Creator: Bowers, Demoss
Collection Size: 3 boxes 26 folders, 1 scrapbook
Repository: Autry National Center. Institute for the Study of the American West
Los Angeles, CA 90065
Abstract: The collection consists of personal notebooks, diaries, correspondence, essays and drawings by Rev. Stephen Bowers, and newspaper clippings.
Physical location: Braun Research Library Manuscript Archives.
Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English


Collection is open for research. Appointments to view materials are required. To make an appointment please visit URL: or contact library staff at (323).221-2164.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the Braun Research Library, Autry National Center. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Library Director. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Braun Research Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

Preferred Citation

[Item identification] Stephen Bowers Papers,, MS.532. Braun Research Library, Autry National Center, Los Angeles, CA

Acquisition Information

Donated to the Southwest Museum Library in 1916 by Stephen Bowers' son, DeMoss Bowers.

Custodial History

The collection are personal papers and manuscripts of Stephen Bowers, A.M., Ph,D. His papers were donated to the Southwest Museum Library in 1916 by Stephen Bowers' son, DeMoss Bowers.

Processing Information

Braun Research Library staff. Revised by James Foster, 2008.

Biography / Administrative History

Reverend Stephen Bowers, A.M., Ph.D., was born on March 3rd, 1831 on a farm in Greencastle, Indiana. He was the son of David Bowers and the father of DeMoss Bowers. He was a Methodist minister for 30 years and a Chaplain for the Union forces in the Civil War (67th Indiana Infantry). Due to his archaeological interests, especially those focused on Indians around Santa Barbara, Bowers came to California and resided in Santa Barbara and Ventura from 1894 to 1906.
On November 17, 1899, Governor Harry F. Gage appointed Bowers as a geologist with the United States Geological Survey. Bowers also held the position of State Mine Examiner of California. He lectured on subjects ranging from the biblical to the scientific. He also served as president of the Ventura Society of Natural History and was a member of the Academy of Sciences in Philadelphia, Smithsonian Institution, and Philosophical Society of Great Britain. Bowers died in 1907 in Los Angeles, California.

Scope and Content of Collection

The collection consists of personal notebooks, diaries, correspondence, essays and drawings by Bowers, and newspaper clippings. The notebooks and diaries are mostly geological notes taken during his surveys in California. There is also one notebook written during his time as a Civil War Chaplain and a printed pamphlet entitled "The Conchilla Valley and the Cahuilla Indians," written by Bowers in 1888. Other writings include topics on Oklahoma Gold Fields and the Santa Barbara Indians. The scrapbook includes newspaper and journal clippings and consists of articles about sermons, religion, and obituaries.


The collection is arranged in its original order.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


Bowers, Stephen, 1832-1907.
Indians of North America--California.
Mines and mineral resources.
Cahuilla Indians.
Chumash Indians.
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
San Nicolas Island (Calif.)
Coachella Valley (Calif.)

Genres and Forms of Material


Separated Material

Photographic prints and negatives made from items in Folder 22 in Braun Research Library's Photographic Archives, object ID P.21936 to P.21940 and N.20181 to N.20195.

Collection Contents


Container list

Container list

Biographical and lecture notes
Letter from M.W. Stirling, Director of the Smithsonian Institution Bureau of American Ethnology, to Dr. F.W. Hodge, Director of the Southwest Museum, regarding a letter concerning Stephen Bowers' publications. Also included is a catalog card which contains the only publications of Bowers listed in the Smithsonian Library. August 20.
Diary August 19, 1862-May 2, 1864 (Civil War chaplain); July 15, 1873 to 1874. List of fossils and specimens; some diary entries, 1874-1875
Geological and mineralogical notes. California Survey. Leather diary titled "Book O" Diary contains information on his trip to Mexico and other notes on fossils and geologic ages, 1904.
Memoranda books entitled Book "M" and Book "Q." Book "M" contains miscellaneous notes, geological records, diary, 1903. Book "Q" contains geological information, 1902-1903.
Handwritten glossary of Geological and other Terms by Stephen Bowers. Prepared for his own use, January 1905.
Handwritten manuscripts by Dr. Bowers, "Notes 1" contains geological information and "Notes 3" contains information on Ore Deposits.
Handwritten notes by Bowers on Copper Notes on Petroleum [no date]
Manuscript by Bower containing a section titled "Words and Their use," and geological notes and definitions, 1872.
"The Coachella Valley and the Cahuilla Indians," 1888, printed article (in slip case)
"Address on the occasion of the laying of the cornerstone of the Universalist Church building in Santa Paula August 26, 1891."
"The Recent Origin of Man," handwritten article.
"The Geology of California," handwritten article.
"Oklahoma Gold Fields."
"Reconnaissance of the Colorado Desert Mining District." Monograph printed in the California State Mining Bureau by Stephen Bowers, 1901.
"Report on the Red Cloud Claims and Mines" (typescript)
Letter requesting information on hooks from Lord North Island from the Peabody Academy of Science to Dr. Bowers. Includes three pages of sketches of the hooks. Dated February 11th, 1888.
"The Cahuilla Indians" [No date, related folder #9]
"The Lone Woman of San Nicholas Island" (printed), 1892.
"The Santa Barbara Indians," handwritten article, 1897.
"The Santa Barbara Indians."
"Aboriginal Man in Santa Barbara County, California," 1877. Includes letter F.V. Hayden.
California pictographs accompanied by a letter from DeMoss Bowers, 1916.
"A large gemstone deposit," notes on a large gemstone deposit found four miles east of Ramona, San Diego County, California [no date]
Ventura County Historical Society Briefs with references to Bowers, 1960 to 1961.
"Vulpus (Urocyon) Littoralis. Coast Fox, Short Tailed Fox," handwritten article [no date]
Dwight Whitings Ranch Map [no date]
Scrapbook consisting of a collection of clippings from newspapers and journals which consist of sermons, essays on religious subjects and obituaries. Leaflets by the Cenetary M.E. Sunday School, June 1, 1874 and the Grace M.E. Church Sunday School, Jan 1, 1872. Scrapbook also contains loose material: Two loose newspaper articles by Outlook containing lectures on Evolution by Professor Chamberline A printer Sermon by R.V.T. De Witt Talmage in the Methodist, March 9, 1872 A handwritten letter entitled, "Human Nature of Christ" [author unknown]