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Donald J. Cowling papers

Identifier: 369

Scope and Content

The collection contains correspondence, ledgers and board minutes relating to the Mayo Memorial committee. The other papers in the collection regard Dr. Cowling's fund raising activities for medical programs at the University of Minnesota, including the School of Nursing, medical scholarships, Diehl Hall and neurology research.


  • 1940-1964


Language of Materials


Use of Materials

Items in this collection do not circulate and may be used in-house only.


Requests for permission to quote from the Donald J. Cowling papers should be arranged with the University of Minnesota Archives head.

Biographical Sketch of Donald J. Cowling (1880-1965)

Donald John Cowling was born in Trevalga, Cornwall, England in 1880. His family immigrated to the United States when Cowling was two years old. He earned his B.A. in 1902 from Lebanon Valley College (Pennsylvania), a second B.A. in 1903, M.A. in 1904, D.B. in 1906 and Ph.D. in 1909, all from Yale University. Dr. Cowling was an assistant professor of philosophy and biblical literature at Baker University (Kansas) before accepting the position of president at Carleton College (Northfield, MN) in 1909. Dr. Cowling served as president for 36 years, retiring in 1945. Donald Cowling died on November 27, 1965.

In 1943, the Minnesota Legislature commissioned a memorial to the Doctors William J. and Charles H. Mayo. Dr. Cowling was appointed as chair of the committee for the Mayo Memorial to be established at the University of Minnesota. The Mayo Memorial Building was finished in 1954 and dedicated in October 1958, becoming the center of medical education and service at the University. A sampling of the schools and departments currently housed in the building include the Medical School, College of Pharmacy, School of Public Health, cell biology, microbiology and neurosurgery. In addition to his work on the Mayo Memorial, Dr. Cowling was a life-long supporter of medical education, including fund raising for medical departments at the University of Minnesota, member of the Board of Trustees for the Minnesota Medical Foundation and founder of the Scholarship Fund of the Minnesota Medical Foundation.


3 boxes + 1m (3.9 linear feet)


Collection contains the papers of Donald J. Cowling, president of Carlton College (Northfield, MN) and chairman of the Mayo Memorial committee, a legislative initiative to construct a building at the University of Minnesota for the Medical School to honor Doctors William J. and Charles H. Mayo.

Other Finding Aid Available

A finding aid with a contents list is available in University Archives.

Source of acquisition

The collection was deposited in University Archives on January 22, 1965.

Related Materials in University of Minnesota Archives

Guy Stanton Ford papers

University of Minnesota. School of Chemistry papers

Donald J. Cowling papers, 1940-1964
Karen Spilman
April 2005
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Collecting Area Details

Contact The University Archives Collecting Area