A Guide to the John Henry Bowers Family Papers, 1854-1949
John Henry Bowers, born in Alsace in 1817, attended the University of Mühlhausen until 1835. After attending university, Bowers traveled to China and India to observe English Army doctors as they treated cholera. While on this trip, Bowers became interested in medicine. In 1836, Bowers came to Texas with the intention of joining the Texas Army, however, he arrived too late for the battle of San Jacinto. While attending wounded soldiers, Bowers managed to befriend both Sam Houston and the captive Antonio López de Santa Anna. Bowers’ mentor, Dr. Ashbel Smith, encouraged Bowers to pursue a degree in medicine. Bowers obtained his medical degree after attending both the University of Louisiana and Tulane University. Bowers practiced medicine in Galveston, Houston, Brownsville, and Columbus. Furthermore, in Columbus in 1844 Bowers helped open the first drugstore in Texas. In addition to his medical career, Bowers served in the military during the Mexican War. Bowers died at his home in Columbus in 1907.
Sources: Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. “Bowers, John Henry,” http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/BB/fbo44.html (accessed June 29, 2010).
Correspondence, account books, medical notebooks, a literary notebook, scrapbooks, and news clippings comprise the John Henry Bowers Family Papers, 1854-1949, which relate to both Bowers’ career as a physician and his family affairs. The papers primarily concern Bowers’ medical practice in Columbus, Texas, including his accounts and medical notes. The papers document cholera and yellow fever epidemics in Texas during the mid 19th century. The papers also contain letters and scrapbooks relating to his family life.
The collection is open for research use.
John Henry Bowers Family Papers, 1854-1949, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
Processed by JMH, April 1961; March 1969. Revised by Lynn Bell, November 1984.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s "History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light" project, 2009-2011.
Detailed Description of the Papers