Collection The John Dowe Collection - The John Dowe Collection

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Identity area

Reference code

US US-almoca The John Dowe Collection


The John Dowe Collection


  • ca. 1848-2007 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

The John Dowe collection consists of 5 boxes measuring 21.45 linear feet, paper-based records and paper-based photographs.

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Archival history

The John Dowe Collection was initially deposited with the Alabama Historical Commission. In September 2008, the Alabama Historical Commission transferred the John Dowe Collection to the MCA on a long-term loan.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

In 2008 the Montgomery County Archives acquired the John Dowe Collection from the Alabama Historical Commission as a long-term loan. The agreement gave the Montgomery County Archives authority to processes the collection, as well as display items and
records from it.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The John Dowe Collection consists of family correspondence, financial and legal records, photographs and postcards sent and received by the Dowe family, scrapbooks, publications, and ephemera. Most of the collection’s document-based records date from circa 1900 to 2007. The scrapbooks range from the 1880s to roughly the mid-twentieth century. The photographs begin in circa1870 and appear to end in the early-to-mid 2000s. The Dowe Collection especially documents the history and activities of the Dowe family in Montgomery, Alabama, as well as their travels throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. It especially documents much of John Dowe’s life, from his birth in 1911, to his death in 2007.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

The Montgomery County Archives’ (MCA) mission statement notes the MCA collects non-government records, as long as they pertain to the history of Montgomery County. The MCA acquired the MGS Collection for this reason.


No further accruals expected.

System of arrangement

This collection is organized into five series with multiple subseries in each series.

Series I: Research Files
Subseries I: Research Binders
Subseries II: Financial, Accounting, and Legal Records
Subseries III: John Dowe Will
Subseries IV: Lucie Dowe
Subseries V: Newspaper Clippings
Subseries VI: Oversized Research Files
John Dowe remained committed throughout his life to collecting Dowe family history. As such,
the Research Files series contains a wide variety of records related to the Dowe family, including
genealogical type research, records related to family finances and business ventures, records
about specific family members and more.

Series II: Correspondence and Diaries
Subseries I: General Correspondence ca.1848-2007
Subseries II: Corresp.-William + Anna Knox ca. 1903-1924
Subseries III: Corresp.-Anita Hall ca. 1910-1923
Subseries IV: Corresp.-Myra Hall ca. 1916
Subseries V: Corresp.-A. P. Cabel ca. 1948
Subseries VI: Holiday and Birthday Cards
Subseries VII: Diaries:-John J. Dowe June 12, 1883-?

The correspondence in the John Dowe Collection ranges far and wide. While MCA staff did not
find any sort of document explaining Dowe’s collection strategy during the processing of the
collection, the correspondence series suggests Dowe tried to collect as much information about
as many family members as possible. Further research would likely clarify Dowe’s collecting
strategy, particularly when it comes to his acquisition and preservation of family correspondence.

Series III: Photographs and Other Images
Subseries I: Photographs
Subseries II: Postcards

Because John Dowe lived such a long life, 1911-2007, and collected so many photographs, the
John Dowe Collection photographs present a fascinating look at Montgomery over nine decades.
In particular, the photographs in Series III provide an amazing look at how downtown
Montgomery has changed over nearly 100 years. Some photographs in series III predate John
Dowe’s birth in 1911 by decades. It appears that the earliest photographs in the collection date from the 1870s and depict family members. In fact, the photographs include a picture printed on tin, also known as a tintype.

Series IV: Scrapbooks and Photograph Albums
Subseries I: Scrapbooks
Subseries II: Photograph Albums

The scrapbooks and photographs contained in Series IV serve as intriguing visual objects and
contextual sources of information about the Dowe family. Several scrapbooks have intricate,
ornate designs that make them attractive objects. The information within them shed light on
Dowe family members’ interests in terms of poetry, family history, family photographs, and

Series V: Publications and Ephemera
Subseries I: Publications
Subseries II: Emphemera
Subseries III: Manuscripts

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions governing reproduction

It is presumed corporate and individual copyrights have been retained by copyright owners. Copyright restrictions apply. Users of materials should seek necessary permissions from the copyright holders to comply with U.S. copyright laws.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements


Finding aids

Physical copy could be found at the Montgomery County Archives.

Uploaded finding aid

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Related descriptions

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion




Accession area