Frances Willard Bowman Papers

Manuscript Collection #215
Bowman, Frances Willard, 1915-
Physical description
1.09 Cubic Feet, 307 items , reports, speeches, scientific articles, and miscellaneous.
Preferred Citation
Frances Willard Bowman Papers (#215), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Papers (1957-1972) including of correspondence, reports, speeches, scientific articles, minutes, pamphlets, etc.

Biographical/historical information

Frances Willard (1915-) was born in Greenville, N.C. Her training included a B.S. from East Carolina College (1940), practical training at Garfield Hospital (1941), and graduate training in bacteriology at Catholic University (1948).

She directed the Soldiers' Home Hospital from 1942 until 1946, marrying Lt. Laurence W. Bowman, a dental surgeon stationed there, in 1943. She joined the Division of Antibiotics of the Food and Drug Administration in 1946. Mrs. Bowman served first as supervisor in the laboratory, testing antibiotics by the cup-plate method and in 1954 she was named supervisor in charge of the sterility testing of all antibiotics designed for injectables, opthalmic solutions, and surgical dressings. Mrs. Bowman's research while at the F.D.A. consisted of studies on the stability of various antibiotics and the development of assays for antibiotic testing.

Mrs. Bowman, who retired in 1972, is recognized internationally as one of the foremost authorities on sterility testing. Among her numerous awards are the 1957 Alumni Award from East Carolina College, the FDA Awards of Merit in 1966, and nomination for the Federal Woman's Award in 1969 and 1971.

Scope and arrangement

The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence, committee and conference meeting minutes and scientific articles related to Mrs. Bowman's work with the F.D.A. The material is arranged topically around these activities.

The general correspondence contains genealogical information about the Willard family; letters describing Mrs. Bowman's participation in the Parenteral Drug Association Convention (October 10-12, 1962), and her term on the American Type Culture Collection Advisory Committee; information about the Round Table Discussion she convened at the American Society for Microbiology Convention (April, 1965) and comments concerning the appointment to the National Formulary Committee on Specifications. Later letters relate to her membership in the American National Standard Institutes Committee and her opinions on the proposed name change for the American Society for Microbiology division. Other correspondence answers technical questions posed by other microbiologists engaged in sterility testing for various companies.

Mrs. Bowman attended three major conferences between 1963 and 1972; the Round Table Conference on Sterility Testing in London (1963), the American Society of Microbiologists Convention in Detroit (1968), and the International Symposium on Industrial Sterilization in Amsterdam (1972).

The portion of the collection pertaining to the London Conference includes a request for permission to attend the conference, general instructions for the conference, advance program schedules with a list of participants, pictures taken at the conference and the notes and official report Mrs. Bowman made on the Conference. Copies of several of the papers presented at the conference are also included. A book entitled the Round Table Conference on Sterility Testing contains summaries with tables of all the reports given at the conference.

Correspondence pertaining to the American Society of Microbiologists Convention in Detroit (1968) includes a request from O. Kirshbaum for Mrs. Bowman to organize a session for the convention, details about the meeting, letters to and from prospective speakers about their proposed topics, and the proposed itineraries of the European speakers for their stay in the U.S.A. A program mailed prior to the convention and personal information sheets on Dr. I. Schiller and Dr. Xaver Buhlman, two of the European speakers for Mrs. Bowman's session, are also included.

The correspondence relating to the International Symposium on the Industrial Sterilization held in Amsterdam in September of 1972, includes an invitation to Mrs. Bowman to attend and the list of topics to be covered; facts about Becton, Dickinson, and Co. the sponsoring agency; a letter stating the conference objectives; and Mrs. Bowman's suggestions for other guests or participants. Further items of interest include instructions to the speaker about submitting their presentations, a copy of the program, the manuscript of Mrs. Bowman's talk "Sterility Testing" given at the conference, a sketch on the Becton, Dickinson Co., and pictures taken at the conference.

In addition to the programs included with the conferences, there are miscellaneous programs from other professional conferences and conventions relating to microbiology.

Important among Mrs. Bowman's activities were her research projects. Two of these detailed in the collection are the Ointment Sterility Project and the penicillinase cellulase project. The ointment sterility studies disclosed contaminated ophthalmic ointments which led to agitation for the enactment of stricter sterility standards by U.S.P. Correspondence, June, 1968 to July, 1972, concerns this agitation and progress towardstricter standards. Also included are various articles related to the sterility of opthalmic ointments.

Correspondence pertaining to the penicillinase cellulase is between Frances Bowman and other scientists describing the best conditions for penicillinase production. Articles are also included which deal with penicillinase production and its use in sterility testing.

Also of interest are various items relating to the administration of the Food and Drug Administration. Several issues ofBureau Bylines, Interbureau Bylines and Bureau of Drugs Weekly are included. A special reorganization bulletin of the Bureau of Drugs Weekly outlines the new structure and mail codes for the F.D.A. (effective July 1, 1970). Controlled environment requirements are revealed in Federal Standard No. 209e. A guide for obtaining sterility testing equipment and a paper giving the duties and qualifications of a Microbiologist G.S. 403-15 are other additions.

Frances Bowman was a member of the U.S.P. Advisory Panel on Sterilization Procedures from 1967 through 1972. This panel made recommendations to the Subcommittee on Biologics and Therapeutics Adjuncts for U.S.P. XVIII. The material in the collection describes these recommendations made by the panel at the meetings and through correspondence. Minutes of most of the meetings from August 8, 1967, to December 11, 1970, are included. Articles relating to the proposed changes and a draft of them are included as well as a pamphlet and statement on the origin and purpose of the U.S.P. itself.

The information on the Pharmaceutical International Federation is limited, consisting mostly of correspondence informing Mrs. Bowman of forthcoming meetings and minutes of the December 14-15, 1970, and July 26, 1971, meetings, which Mrs. Bowman was unable to attend.

Personal items in the collection deal with a wide variety of topics. Of special interest is a typed biography of Mrs. Bowman, covering her educational background and career. Programs for the E.C.C. Alumni Day (1957), F.D.A. annual Awards Ceremony (1963), and Mrs. Bowman's visit to the White House (1966) are included. Among other items is an awards list for Mrs. Bowman, the citation for the 1957 E.C.C. Alumni Award, and a "Life of Richard Caswell" by Annie Tyndall. (Mrs. Bowman is a direct descendent of Richard Caswell).

Copies of most of Mrs. Bowman's publications and presentations are included in the collection. The articles are scholarly and deal with various aspects of sterility testing (For a complete enumeration see the listing in #215.4.a). In addition to these there are miscellaneous articles written by other scientists and microbiologists.These center on various aspects of sterility testing also. Other miscellaneous items include a pamphlet describing the history and functions of the American Type Culture Collection and the minutes of the April 26-May 1, 1970, meeting of the A.S.M. Miscellaneous pictures and postcards requesting article reprints are also included.

Administrative information
Custodial History

October 24, 1972, ca. 250 items; Papers (1957-1972), including correspondence, reports, speeches, scientific articles etc.

November 14, 1972 (addition) ca. 50 items; Correspondence, articles and miscellaneous. Gift of Mrs. Frances W. Bowman, Washington, D. C.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Mrs. Frances W. Bowman

Processing information

Processed by M. Kimble, May 1973

Encoded by Apex Data Services

Copyright notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Key terms
Personal Names
Bowman, Frances Willard, 1915-
Corporate Names
American Society for Microbiology--History--20th century
United States. Food and Drug Administration
Microbiology--Congresses--History--20th century
Sterilization--Congresses--History--20th century

Container list
Box 1 General Correspondence, London Conference
Box 2 A.M.S. Convention, Amsterdam Conference, Convention Programs
Box 3 Projects, F.D.A. and U.S.P., Pharmaceutical International Federation, Personal
Box 4 Publications, Scientific Journals and Programs
Box 5 Reports and Articles, Miscellaneous