Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Charles Boewe  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: March 11, 1924 in West Salem, Illinois

Died: January 1, 2016 in Pittsboro, North Carolina,

-- Charles Boewe on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Boewe was born in West Salem and graduated from High School in Albion.

Biographical and Professional Information

Charles Boewe served in the U.S. Army during World War II as a medic in training. Following the war he graduated from Syracuse University and went on to receive graduate degrees, including a Ph.D. in literature, from the University of Wisconsin, where he also taught.From 1964 to 1980 he served as the Executive Secretary of the United States Educational Foundation (the Fulbright Foundation) in Iran, India and Pakistan. He was also a Fulbright scholar in Norway and South India, and helped establish the American Studies Research Center in Hyderabad, India.Following his return to the United States Boewe was a scholar in residence at Transylvania University, in Lexington, Kentucky, before retiring to Louisville, Kentucky, then moving to Pittsboro, North Carolina in 1992. As an independent scholar he published articles and books on a variety of subjects, including ''Prairie Albion; An English Settlement in Pioneer Illinois''. His most notable research, publications and edited works concerned the life, work and letters of early botanist C.S. Rafinesque, for which in 2014 the International Association for Plant Taxonomy awarded him its Stafleu Medal. He also published a memoir about growing up in West Salem, titled ''The Town on the Square; Portrait of a Vanished World''. He was working on a memoir about his career in educational exchange when he died.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Prairie Albion: An English Settlement in Pioneer Illinois (Shawnee Classics)
ISBN: 0809322838

Southern Illinois University Press. 1999

Originally published in 1962, this story of the English Settlement in pioneer Illinois is compiled from the eyewitness accounts of the participants. The founders, Morris Birkbeck and George Flower, as well as their associates and the many visitors to their prairie settlement, wrote mainly for immediate and sometimes controversial ends. Charles Boewe has selected excerpts from letters, descriptions, diaries, histories, and periodicals within a chronological framework to emphasize the implicit drama of the settlers' deeds as they searched for a suitable site, founded their colony, and augmented their forces with new arrivals from England. No less dramatic is the subsequent estrangement of the two founders, the disillusionment of many of the English settlers, the untimely death of Birkbeck, and the financial ruin of Flower.

The Town on the Square: Portrait of a Vanished World
ISBN: 1604748419

PublishAmerica. 2008

After teaching for fourteen years in American universities and lecturing abroad both in Europe and the Far East, Charles Boewe took his family to live in South Asia, where he directed academic exchange programs for the U.S. government in Iran, in Pakistan, and in India during the next sixteen years. Following his retirement, he returned to his earlier interest in local history, believing that extensive foreign residence would now give added perspective to his writing about the recent past. Though he now lives in North Carolina, in this memoir the author profiles the Middle Western market town of his youth that, despite the rigors of the Great Depression, afforded a quality of life since vanished. Most small-town enterprises got spun off there to larger municipalities as an unintended consequence of post-Depression economic recovery. Since similar events occurred elsewhere, this detailed sketch of West Salem, Illinois, has relevance to many small towns in the region stretching from Wichita to Wheeling, from Minneapolis to Memphis. Ever in the interest of greater efficiency and economy of scale, the same centrifugal forces irrevocably altered village life in Middle America—not always for the better.