Amherst Magazine
Ralph H. Bowen '40

Ralph was a good example of an Amherst student who combined academic brilliance with the varied interests and activities of an all ’round man.  He died at his home in Danville, VT, on August 19, 2006, at the age of eighty-six, further diminishing the substance of our Class.

That he was little known on campus is to be explained by the fact that the economic exigencies of the great depression meant that Ralph had to live in the town and work part time, which prevented his participation in extracurricular activities.

Ralph was elected to  Phi Beta Kappa his junior year and graduated magna cum laude.

His service in WWII was with the US State Department as an economic specialist.

His was a long and varied academic career that included graduate work in history and a PhD from Columbia, Fulbright and Ford Foundation grants, teaching at Columbia, SUNY-Long Island, Elmira College and Northern Illinois Univ., where he established a new graduate program in history.

Following his work in historical research in Italy and France, he taught for a number of years in the latter country at the Univ. of Nantes.  The coda to his academic life came when, after retirement, he taught at Lyndon State College in Vermont.

Ralph was the author of four books, and he also translated from the French and co-edited with Jacques Barzun Diderot’s Nephew and Other Stories.

His wife of sixty-five years survives him as does his daughter Sarah, son Paul and four grandchildren.

—Louis P. Dolbeare ’40

 

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