Bowne Family Voices from the Archives:


“In this house still remain letters written by


some of them, and by George Fox and other




Friends… They being long dead yet speak.”



-Anonymous Bowne Family Historian, 1904

The Bowne House Archive offers a window onto the history of the house, family, and community over the span of 350 years. Holdings range from Colonial-era documents and letters to the twentieth-century records of the Museum and Historical Society. Our collection also encompasses photographs, maps, architectural drawings, and ephemera. Many of these documents are original to the property, having been passed down through generations of the Bowne and Parsons families. Far more than a mere storehouse for old papers, the Archives embody the historical memory of the Bowne House and its people.

Some notable finds include a December 12, 1776 Revolutionary War-era letter written by John Bowne’s great-grandson Robert Bowne to his older brother John Bowne who still resided in the House; a hand-written memoir dated @1838-1840 of the Parsons Nursery by its founder, Samuel Bowne Parsons, Sr.; and a note dated September 28, 1850 from the abolitionist Simeon Jocelyn to William Bowne Parsons of Bowne House, carried by a fugitive slave on the Underground Railroad.

The following list represents the major archival holdings of the Bowne House. For more detail, see the Overview of Bowne House Collections.

  • Bowne House Colonial Documents Collection 17th & 18th century
  • Papers of the Bowne and Parsons Families Late 18th – early 20th century
  • Records of the Bowne House Historical Society 1945 – 2007
  • The Halloran Realty Map Collection 1896 – 1935
  • The John Bowne & Early Flushing Research Collection Copies of 17th – 19th documents

Doing Archival Research at Bowne House

The Bowne House Archives are open on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and by special appointment subject to staff availability. Advance notice of your visit is required. To schedule an appointment, contact the Bowne House office at with a description of your research project and the materials that you wish to consult.

Please note that copying or reproduction of archival materials in any form is normally prohibited, and any exception requires special permission from the Board of Trustees. You must review and sign our Reading Room Policies before your appointment.

Archival processing of the Bowne House collections is currently ongoing. During this time, we allow researchers the maximum access consistent with the wellbeing and security of the collections. Due to their age and condition, some documents are only made available as digital scans. Please inquire at the Bowne House office at about current copies of finding aids and inventories. Note that all such descriptions and inventories are subject to ongoing revision.