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Collection Title: Sowerwine (Charles) Freedom Summer Collection

Collection Number: M372

Dates: 1964

Volume: 2 items comprising nine leaves

Provenance: Materials in this collection were created by Charles Sowerwine.

Donor: Donated by Charles Sowerwine on September 9, 2002.

Copyright: This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Biographical/Historical Sketch:

In 1964, Charles "Chips" Sowerwine trained in Oxford, Ohio for the Mississippi Summer Project, also known as Freedom Summer. Soon afterward, he served as a Freedom Summer volunteer in Sunflower County, Mississippi.

Mr. Sowerwine was educated at Oberlin College and the University of Wisconsin. Prior to his move to Melbourne Australia in 1974, he served as Instructor at the University of Paris. He currently holds a joint appointment as Professor at the Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines and as Professor at the University of Melbourne. He teaches history and gender studies at the University of Melbourne and publishes on topics pertaining to social and women's history. A small portion of these publications include:


Sowerwine, Charles. 2003. "Woman's brain, man's brain: Feminism and anthropology in late nineteenth century France." Women's History Review 12(2): 289.


Sowerwine, Charles. From 'Nation' to 'Europe' The Implosion of Nationalism in French Discourse of the 1920s, French History in the Antipodes : The Proceedings of the Twelfth George Rudé Seminar on French History, 97-102. Wellington : Wai-te-ata Press, 2001.


Sowerwine, Charles. 2001. France since 1870: Culture, politics and society. Basingstoke : Palgrave.

Maignien, Claude and Charles Sowerwine. 1992. Madeleine Pelletier, une féministe dans l'arène politique. Paris : Editions ouvriáeres.


Contents of the Collection.

Internet Resources:

University of Melbourne. Department of History - Staff. Accessed on February 4, 2004 at  (page no longer available).

Author biographical information located at the end of the article with the following citation (page number references biography): Sowerwine, Charles. June, 2003. "Woman's brain, man's brain: Feminism and anthropology in late nineteenth-century France." Women's History Review, 12 (2): 307.

Scope and Content:

This collection consists of two items. The first item is a photocopy of an eight-page letter addressed to Mrs. Anna Murray of Summit, New Jersey, from Charles "Chips" Sowerwine of Oxford, Ohio. The letter is dated June 25, 1964. Mr. Sowerwine wrote the letter while training in Ohio for the Mississippi Summer Project. Mr. Sowerwine begins the letter by describing to Mrs. Murray three goals he hopes to see Freedom Summer accomplish for the state of Mississippi. He proceeds to discuss the prospects of voter registration efforts and the building of community centers and freedom schools throughout the state of Mississippi. The letter expresses Mr. Sowerwine's certainty of Freedom Summer's peaceful and hopeful intentions and his fear of reactions against the movement. He mentions "...the fate of my three lost co-workers" (a reference to James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, Freedom Summer volunteers who were murdered in Neshoba County, Mississippi ). In the letter, Mr. Sowerwine suggests the need for Mrs. Murray's assistance protecting the safety of the Freedom Summer volunteers in Mississippi. The letter includes mention of the National Council of Churches (NCC) and the Student Non-violence Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

The second item is an original one-page letter addressed to Mrs. Bernard, of Summit, New Jersey, from Charles "Chips" Sowerwine, of Oberlin, Ohio. The undated letter alludes to previous letters; volunteers his contact information; and offers assistance to Mrs. Bernard.

Related Collections:

F341.5.M57 Mississippi Oral History Program, Vol. 184, Mr. Amzie Moore

Accession Number: AM15-21                               

Given By: Lisa Anderson Todd via Jennifer Brannock  

Date of Receipt: September 27, 2013   

Copyright: This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the united States (Title 17, United States Code).

Extent: 1 item 

Inclusive Dates: 1964   

Form of Material (Letters, Minutes, etc.):

Photocopy of a fourteen page letter addressed to “My dear friends and helpmates” dated July 20, 1964, from Charles “Chips” Sowerwine of Summit, New Jersey, mailed from Shaw, Mississippi. It is a general letter that gives a chronological narrative of his time from the training sessions in Oxford, Ohio, the bus trip through Memphis, their stop in Ruleville, Mississippi, and finally to his work in Shaw, Mississippi.

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