I am indebted to many people, without whom telling this story would have been impossible. Without a doubt, Julia Bowe is the essential progenitor. Julia wrote these memoirs on her own typewriter, putting her memories and heart to paper. Accurately recalling the magnitude of the details, like names, dates and events made her memoirs a vast endeavor. In 1959, Julia completed her elaborate genealogical history, The Generations, tracing her family over seven centuries. My footnotes to her memoirs have been fuller because of this work.
Special recognition is also due to my Aunt Mary, Mary Gwinn Bowe, for her book The Families. This extensive genealogy gathered notes and reminiscences pertinent to Gus & Julia in a cohesive, flowing family record. As a result, The Families is also the source for many of the footnotes in Julia‟s memoirs. Mary‟s niece, Olivia Riboud, kindly reviewed Julia‟s memoirs for proper French usage.
Great praise must also go to my mother, Katherine Pargellis Bowe, who held onto the manuscript for over 30 years. Along the way, the document traveled with her from Winnetka to Boston and back. When Mom gave me the stack of typewritten sheets along with other family memorabilia, she stated in a nonchalant challenge, “I thought you might be interested in this.” She always knew the importance of Julia‟s memoirs and the treasure it could be to all.
Uncle Bill came to mind immediately when I first read the manuscript and decided to print it. Bill Bowe‟s first-hand knowledge and love of family lore was required to complete the task. This presentation represents many years of his hard work archiving a huge collection of digital family photos and documents.
The Newberry Library and The Poetry Foundation also deserve thanks for organizing and preserving the Augustine J. Bowe Papers. Similarly, the Library of the University of Illinois at Chicago has done a fine job of saving and presenting the Mary Gwinn Bowe Papers. Indices to these collections are found in the Research Notes at the conclusion of these memoirs.
Finally, we can thank Claes Oldenburg for the pen and ink drawing of Gus Bowe on the back cover. Though born in Stockholm, Sweden, Claes‟s father had moved to Chicago in 1936 to become Swedish Consul General. Claes became a family friend after he became a schoolmate of my father. He caught Gus relaxing at his daughter Julie Ann‟s home in Warrenville, Illinois. The drawing is also found as the frontispiece of Gus‟s book of poetry, No Gods are False.
Charles Augustine Bowe
May 1, 2011