According to a handwritten note included with the collection, the poems were in a rough chronological order according to Mr. Bowen. The processer was instructed to number consecutively on the back of each poem in pencil, and then arrange the poems in folders. A number of poems were removed from their numerical order by Alfred S. Reid in 1969 when he wrote his review, “Report from Greenville,” The South Carolina Review, November 1969. When the collection was rehoused in 2017, no discernable order could be detected and the poems were returned to a chronological order using the numbers written on the back.
Scope and Contents
The Robert Adger Bowen Poems consist of handwritten and typescript poems, spanning 1890-1925, with the bulk of the poems undated. The collection totals approximately 1500 sheets, with approximately 300 of those being duplicates. The bulk of the poems are single sheets, with one booklet. The bulk are unpublished, with an unknown number published in three books in the 1960s to benefit the Foundation for Historical Restoration in the Pendleton Area.
Alfred S. Reid describes Bowen’s poetry collection in his 1969 review, “Report from Greenville,” as having traditional forms – sonnets, rondeaus, stanzaic varieties, and limericks; his subjects are nature, religion, war, recollections of the past, and old age.