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Charles Asbury Stephens collection

Identifier: M170

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Scope and Content

This collection largely consists of approximately 2,350 manuscript and typescript drafts, with holographic corrections, of Stephens' books, speeches, and articles (mostly undated, but ca. 1880-1931), many for The Youth's Companion. There is also a small group of letters (1868-1910); biographical records, certificates, and other printed ephemera (1887-1959); manuscript covers, story ideas, and other fragments (undated); clippings (1904-82), and two of Stephens' manuscript notebooks donated by the Friends of C.A. Stephens. The material is supplemented by a collection of Stephens' published works, and by Charles Waugh's address entitled "Adrift in 3000 Stories" in the Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection.


  • Creation: 1880-1931
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1880 - 1931


Access Restrictions

No restrictions.

Biographical/Historical Note

Charles Asbury Stephens was born in 1844 in Norway, Maine. After graduating from Bowdoin in 1869, he taught at the Norway Liberal Institute. He began working for The Youth's Companion in 1871, eventually becoming the magazine's assistant editor, a position he held until his death in 1931. Stephens' fiction, including many children's books, were mainly travel stories and reminiscences of his Maine childhood. The titles include: Camping Out, Left on Labrador, Katahdin Camps, On the Amazon, and the Old Squire's Farm series.

Stephens earned a doctor of medicine from Boston University in 1887 so that he could write fair and accurate medical columns for The Youth's Companion. He built a biological laboratory in his Norway, Maine, home and wrote a number of books based on his theories, experiments and research on ageing and longevity, including Immortal Life ..., Living Matter ... and Natural Salvation ....

Stephens married Christine Stevens, his second cousin, in 1871. They had two daughters. After her death in 1911, Stephens married Minnie Scalar Plummer, a native of nearby South Paris and a well-known opera singer. He continued to do research and to write until his death in 1931.


9.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Approximately 2,350 manuscript and typescript drafts with holographic corrections of Stephens' books, speeches, and articles, many of which were for The Youth's Companion.

Guide to the Charles Asbury Stephens collection
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