Archives to receive papers of family prominent in history of Bates, Maine

The descendants of 19th-century Maine Gov. Alonzo Garcelon, who played a key role in the choice of Lewiston as the home of Bates College, will donate an extensive collection of family papers and other materials to Bates.

David Garcelon, Alonzo Garcelon’s great-great-grandson and a surveyor living in Concord, Mass., on March 27 announced his donation to Bates of hundreds of manuscripts, photographs and other artifacts dating back to the 18th century.

Alonzo Garcelon, a Lewiston native, was a surgeon who served in both houses of the Maine Legislature and as Maine governor. He was also prominent in Lewiston business affairs and co-founded the Lewiston Journal newspaper. Garcelon taught at Bates and served as a college trustee. The college’s football field, on Central Avenue next to the new dining Commons, is named after him.

David Garcelon will donate his family’s papers to the Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library, a facility at Bates whose holdings include extensive and important materials relating to the life and career of Muskie, the late Maine governor, U.S. senator and secretary of state, and environmental advocate.

The Garcelon donation includes hundreds of pages of original manuscripts and research conducted by David Garcelon relating his family to the histories of Bates, Lewiston and Maine, as well as the United States and 18th-century France.

The collection bears, too, on the history of the Pullman Palace Car Co., the well-known manufacturer of railroad rolling stock and one of the world’s largest corporations at the beginning of the 20th century. Charles A. Garcelon, son of Alonzo, served as Pullman’s chief operating officer from 1889 until 1906.

“It is the family’s desire to preserve the collection and hopefully add to it through research projects by Bates College students and others,” the donor wrote in a statement to the college. “It is also the family’s wish that others with Garcelon family artifacts will contribute to the collection at Bates, in honor of the family and in honor of Bates College.”

He wrote that the “Garcelon family is proud of Bates,” noting too that he and other Garcelons are convinced that Alonzo Garcelon focused his “hard work and contributions to Bates College . . . because he wanted the children of the area to have access to the finest education possible.”

– Office of Communications and Media Relations

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