Charles Pickering Bowditch

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Charles Pickering Bowditch

Birthdate: (79)
Death: 1921 (79)
Immediate Family:

Son of Jonathon Ingersoll Bowditch and Lucy Orne Bowditch
Husband of Cornelia Livingston Rockwell
Father of Katharine Putnam Bowditch
Brother of Maj. Henry Pickering Bowditch M.D.; Alfred Bowditch and Alice Frances Bowditch

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About Charles Pickering Bowditch

Charles Pickering Bowditch (30 September 1842 – 1 June 1921) was an American financier, archaeologist, cryptographer and linguistics scholar who specialized in Mayan epigraphy.

Bowditch was born in Boston into the Massachusetts Bowditch family of mathematician Nathaniel Bowditch, his grandfather, and physiologist Henry Pickering Bowditch, his brother, son of Jonathan Ingersoll Bowditch and Lucy Orme Nichols. He received his undergraduate degree in 1863 and his master's in 1866, both from Harvard University. During the American Civil War he served as an officer in the 55th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, a colored regiment, rising to the rank of captain, and then served as a captain in the 5th Massachusetts Volunteer Cavalry, also a colored regiment. In 1866, he married Cornelia L. Rockwell who bore him four children who survived him. He died in 1921 in Jamaica Plains, Massachusetts, and was buried with a Unitarian service.

As a businessman Bowditch participated unsuccessfully in the Pennsylvania oil rush and returned to Massachusetts to manage the estate of Mrs. William Wadsworth, which gave him experience as a financial trustee. He went on to manage many trusts, was a director of the Massachusetts Cotton Mills and the Pepperell Manufacturing Company, the Boston and Providence Railroad Company, American Bell Telephone Company, and a director and later president of the Massachusetts Hospital Life Insurance Company. For three years he was vice-president of the American Bell Telephone Company.

In 1888, Bowditch took a trip to the Yucatán and southern Mexico and became interested in the Mayan culture. While he funded much Mayan research, his own Mayan work focused on deciphering Mayan epigraphy and their calendar system. He was one of the founders of the American Anthropological Association.

Harvard and the Peabody Museum

Harvard and the Peabody Museum[edit]

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Charles Pickering Bowditch's Timeline

Age 28
Age 79