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Russell V. Bowers papers

Identifier: 91.May.11

Scope and Contents

The collection contains speeches, photographs, and secondary source research material on several subjects of historical interest for Bowers including the history of penicillin, William Osler and William Halsted. The collection does not include anything on Bowers' medical practice or his personal life.


  • 1940-1976


Access Restrictions

No restrictions on access.

Use Restrictions

No restrictions on use.

Biographical / Historical

Russell Vernon Bowers was born 20 April, 1915 in Canton, Georgia. His father, a railroad worker, was transferred between several towns in Virginia during Bowers' early years. He received his BS from Lynchburg College in 1937 and a MS in biochemistry from the Medical College of Virginia in 1939. He then became a research assistant at the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Virginia in 1940.

During World War II, Bowers was commissioned a Captain and served in the Army at the Edgewood Arsenal, now part of the Aberdeen Proving Grounds. This Arsenal specialized in chemical warfare. After the war, Bowers returned to the Medical College of Virginia, earning his MD in 1950. He settled in the Mechanicsville area where he served as a general practice doctor for over 37 years.

Bowers had the honor of being given a unique medical artifact. While visiting his son in England, Bowers was introduced to Dr. N.G. Heatley, a leader in the development of penicillin. Bowers was given one of the original penicillin culture vessels "as a gesture of scientific friendship." This vessel is now in the Smithsonian Institution.

Bowers had a love for history, especially concerning the Civil War and Medicine. He wrote several articles including histories on Sir William Osler, William Halsted, and the development of penicillin. Bowers was also active in the community and in politics. He served as a delegate to the 1960 Democratic National Convention and was a member of the Electoral College in 1964. Bowers was also instrumental in creating a student loan fund for Hanover County students who attend Virginia Commonwealth University.

Bowers died 06 Oct, 1990 at age 75. He is buried in Richmond, Virginia.


0.25 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Records are arranged in chronological order.

Acquisition Information

This collection was donated by Mrs. Joanne Bowers.

A Guide to the Papers of Russell V. Bowers
A Collection in Special Collections and Archives, Health Sciences Library, Virginia Commonwealth University, Accession number 91.May.11
Jody Romero
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the VCU Health Sciences Library Repository

Special Collections and Archives 509 N 12th St
Box 980582
Richmond Virginia 23298 USA US
(804) 828-9898