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Collection Wm. Oland Bourne Papers


A chronology of key events in the life of William Oland Bourne, 1819-1901.

  • 1819

    Born in Germantown, Pa., sixth son of Rev. George Bourne (1780-1845) and Mary Oland Stibbs Bourne (1780-1851)

  • 1829

    Bourne family moved to New York

  • 1844

    Elected correspondent, Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia in March

    Married Adelia Martin (1814-Apr. 17, 1882), daughter of Francis Martin, on November 25; Rev. George Bourne officiated

  • 1845

    Published The Sale of a Distillery: A Pencilling of the Present Age External (New York: Saxton & Miles)

  • 1846

    Daughter Ella Oland Bourne born in December

  • 1849

    Registrar and assistant librarian of the New York Free Academy

  • 1850

    Lived in Lowville, N.Y., while editor of the Lowville Journal

    Published Poems of Hope and Action External (New York: G. P. Putnam)

  • 1853

    Published Little Silverstring, or, Tales and Poems for the Young (New York: Charles Scribner)

    Published Gems from Fable Land: A Collection of Fables Illustrated by Facts External (New York: Charles Scribner)

  • 1854

    Published Goldenlink, or, Tales and Poems for the Young (New York: Charles Scribner)

  • 1856

    Publication of The Iron Platform began with Bourne as a contributor. Bourne began editing the workingman’s publication in 1861.

  • 1857

    Received patent for an ore separator; additional patents awarded in 1859 and 1860

    Secretary, New York Association of Sunday School Teachers

  • 1861

    Published The Republic. A Poem External (New York: Richard Brinkerhoff)

  • 1864

    Corresponding secretary, Workingmen’s Democratic Republican Association in New York

    Chaplain, Central Park Hospital in New York City

    Published Poems of the Republic External(New York: E.O. Jenkins)

  • 1864-1870

    Editor, The Soldier's Friend newspaper

  • 1865

    First Left-Handed Penmanship contest announced in the June issue of The Soldier’s Friend

  • 1866

    Exhibition of Left-Handed Penmanship contest entries in New York City in February; closed at noon on March 1

    Left-Handed Penmanship award committee issued report on March 2

    Bourne and committee from Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Union in Washington, D.C. met with President Andrew Johnson on April 28 to invite him to attend left-handed penmanship exhibition

    Exhibition of Left-Handed Penmanship contest entries opened on May 1 at Seaton Hall in Washington, D.C.

    The Soldier’s Friend became The Soldier’s Friend, and Grand Army of the Republic with December 1866 issue

  • 1867

    Second Left-Handed Penmanship contest announced in the March issue of The Soldier’s Friend, and Grand Army of the Republic

    Daughter Ella married to John Maxwell on August 21; Rev. Roland H. Bourne officiated, assisted by Rev. Samuel Maxwell, Jr.

  • 1870

    Published The History of the Public School Society of the City of New York (New York: W. Wood & Co.)

  • 1873

    Editor, The Prisoner's Friend and National Reformer's Journal

    Clerk, New York City Board of Education

  • 1876

    Published, with George Henry Curtis, The Centennial School Singer, Containing Songs of Patriotism and Peace, for the Children of the American Union (New York and Chicago: Biglow & Main)

  • 1881

    Published, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. The Prayer of Childhood in Literature and Song (New York: Anson D. F. Randolph & Company). New and enlarged edition published in 1894.

  • 1882

    Wife Adelia Martin Bourne died on April 17

  • 1901

    Died, June 6, in Montclair, N.J., at the home of his daughter Ella Bourne Maxwell.

    Buried at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, N.Y.

    Death notices appeared in newspapers across the country, including one with a photograph of Bourne in the June 7, 1901 issue of New York Tribune, the paper once edited by his friend Horace Greeley.

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