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Congressional and Political Research Center

Providing information on federal, state, and local politics and politicians

The David R. Bowen Collection

Collection Overview

David Bowen was born in Houston, MS, and grew up in Cleveland, MS. Bowen's father was an alumnus of Mississippi State University. Bowen received his Bachelor's degree at Harvard University and a Master's from Oxford University in England. Prior to his election to Congress, Bowen taught history and political science at Millsaps College, served as Southeastern Coordinator for the Office of Economic Opportunity, was a staff associate for the United States Chamber of Commerce, and was coordinator of federal-state programs in Mississippi.

Bowen, a Democrat, ran for the United States Congressional seat from Mississippi's second district (which includes the Mississippi Delta) in 1972. He was elected and served continuously from 1973-1982; he chose not to run for reelection in 1982. After leaving Congress, Bowen served as a visiting professor at MSU in the Political Science Department, and has since served as a consultant in various areas and has become an accomplished playwright. He also is a frequent contributor to the editorial pages of the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. He donated his papers to MSU in 1980.

The Bowen Collection consists of some 270 cubic feet of files, documents, publications, photographs, and memorabilia. Much of the material reflects Bowen's interest and expertise in agricultural matters. He served on three House of Representatives subcommittees: Agriculture, Merchant Marine and Fisheries, and Foreign Affairs. In addition, he served on numerous subcommittees of these committees, chairing the Agriculture Subcommittee on Cotton, Rice, and Sugar, and participating on other Agriculture subcommittees including Oilseeds; Dairy and Poultry; Conservation and Credit; Forestry; and Department Operations and Foreign Agriculture. Bowen wrote and floor managed significant sections of omnibus farm bills in 1973, 1977, and 1981, the Rice Production Act of 1975, the Cotton Research and Promotion Act of 1976, the Forest Management Act of 1976, and legislation in 1981 and 1982 regarding agricultural export credits and revolving funds. He played key roles in securing funds for cotton research and preservation of acreage, in promoting increased agricultural production and markets in so-called Third World countries, and in expanding and protecting overseas markets for American farmers.

The Bowen Collection is open to researchers except for some case files and some unprocessed material. The bulk of the Collection is arranged in two-year segments by Congressional terms. The terms represented are the 93rd (1973-1974) through the 97th (1981-1982). A series called White Files contains general outgoing correspondence for the entire scope of Bowen's congressional career. Additional series have been created for materials which did not fit neatly into those mentioned above. They include: General Subject; General Correspondence; Mississippi Schools; Donner Foundation; Foreign Travel; Pre-Congress; Campaign Material; Public; Mississippi State University; Agriculture; Photographs; General Office; Memorabilia; Post-Congress.