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James Fowle papers

Biographical note

Born 1920 May 24 in Englewood, New Jersey, Professor James Fowle spent his first fifteen years in Istanbul, Turkey, where his father was engaged in missionary work. Returning to this country in 1935 he enrolled in Deerfield Academy and completed his work there two years later. He received his B.A. from Williams College in 1941 and his Ph.D from Harvard University in 1952.

Professor Fowle served as a lecturer in fine arts and as a curator of the museum at Bowdoin College. For four years previous to his appointment at Rhode Island School of Design, he served as a full-time member of the Bryn Mawr faculty and intermittently a visiting associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania. He was appointed to the RISD Art History Faculty at Rhode Island School of Design in 1963 and worked and lectured there until 1985. After retiring, he was named Professor Emeritus at Rhode Island School of Design.

He married Alison Bozorth Fowle on June 21, 1952 and has two daughters.

Historical note

The Woods-Gerry House (or Dr. Marshall Woods House) is an historic house on 62 Prospect Street in Providence, Rhode Island built 1860-1863.

Architect Richard Upjohn designed the house in an Italianate style for Dr. Marshal Woods. Senator and Mrs. Peter Gerry purchased the house in 1931. Rhode Island School of Design bought the house in 1959. Plans to raze the house were met with strong resistance from the newly formed Providence Historic District Commission and the Providence Preservation Society.

After a decade of uncertainty and decay, the RISD faculty and students persuaded President Talbot Rantoul to renovate and preserve the house. The proponents, including James Fowle, renovated the first floor ball room in time for a Trustees' Executive Committee meeting held 1969 November 4. The trustees approved the building's renovation for administrative offices and exhibition galleries. The Woods-Gerry House was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.