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Philip C. Beam papers

Identifier: M010

  • Staff Only
  • Please use the Collection Organization section below to place requests.

Scope and Content

The Philip C. Beam papers are made up of writings, photographs, news clippings, correspondence, diplomas and certificates, and ephemera, principally from late in his career. The bulk of the collection relates to Beam's authorship of Winslow Homer at Prout's Neck and Winslow Homer's Magazine Engravings; other materials reflect his Bowdoin College activities and his involvement with the Brunswick, Maine, Town and College Club. Some family history materials and general correspondence to friends and colleagues along with a small portfolio are included.


  • Creation: 1929 - 2001


Access Restrictions

No restrictions.

Biographical/Historical Note

Philip Conway Beam was born in Dallas, Texas, on October 7, 1910. He earned his bachelor's, master's and doctorate at Harvard University. Beam joined the Bowdoin faculty in 1936 as curator of the art collections and instructor in the department of art, becoming director of Bowdoin's Museum of Art (1939-1964) and professor of art (1949-1982). In 1967 Beam was named curator of the Museum of Art's Winslow Homer collection, and after his retirement as a faculty member he remained at Bowdoin through the summer of 1983 as honorary curator of the collection. He was the author of many books on art history including Winslow Homer at Prout's Neck and Winslow Homer's magazine engravings. In 1976, a lecture room in Bowdoin's Visual Arts Center was dedicated to Beam and he received the Bowdoin Alumni Council's Alumni Award for Faculty and Staff. Beam was married on August 8, 1939, to Frances Merriman. They had a son, Christopher, and a daughter, Rebecca. Beam died on December 25, 2005.


2 Linear Feet (Oversized materials in Ovsz-Box Shared B)

Language of Materials



Papers of curator and professor of art Philip C. Beam.


Organized into three series: Winslow Homer's Magazine Engravings; Winslow Homer at Prout's Neck; General.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were transferred by the Visual Arts Center. Additional correspondence was donated by the Graham family in 2020.

Related Materials

The Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. has a collection titled "Philip C. Beam Papers, c. 1946- c. 1993," which includes Beam's research files regarding Winslow Homer.

Guide to the Philip C. Beam Papers
Emma Barton-Norris
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine 04011 Repository

3000 College Station
Brunswick Maine 04011 USA
(207) 725-3288