Monday, February 12, 2007

Otis Bowen

Papers of Former Indiana Governor and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Otis Bowen Available for Research in Archives and Special Collections Research Center

Students and scholars in many different disciplines now have available a rich resource for the study of political issues, U.S. health policy, and Indiana history in the Ball State University Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections Research Center. Acquired as a result of the enterprising work of Ball State political science professor Raymond Scheele in collaboration with Archives staff, the papers document former Indiana governor and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Otis Bowen’s extensive career in public service.

Born near Rochester, Indiana on February 26, 1918, Bowen studied medicine at Indiana University and served in the Air Corps of the United States Army during World War II. His involvement in Republican Party politics began in the late 1940s. He served in the Indiana House of Representatives from 1956 to 1958 and again from 1960 to 1972 and he was speaker of the House from 1967 to 1972.

After an unsuccessful campaign in 1968, Bowen was elected governor of Indiana in 1972. He served two terms, working on important issues such as property tax reform and medical malpractice law. Following his tenure as governor, he accepted a position on the teaching faculty of the Indiana University School of Medicine. In 1985, President Reagan appointed Bowen as the fourth U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. He was the first medical doctor to serve in this position.

As evidenced in his papers, many important issues dominated his time as U.S. Secretary, including the early years of the AIDS epidemic, catastrophic health care reform, medical malpractice and liability, and teen pregnancy. His papers include correspondence files, publications, and newspaper articles on diverse topics from his tenures as governor and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. The collection also includes personal papers, hundreds of photographs, campaign memorabilia, and correspondence with important political figures of the 1970s and 1980s.

The Archives and Special Collections Research Center will present an exhibit on the life and career of Otis Bowen beginning March 19, 2007. An exhibit of materials will also be on display during the Bowen Institute for Political Participation at the Ball State Indianapolis Center on March 23, 2007. An online exhibition and finding aid will be made available on the University Libraries’ Web site.

For more information on the Otis Bowen Papers, contact Maren L. Read, Assistant Archivist for Manuscript Collections, at, 765-285-5078.

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