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Fr. Edward J. Dowling, S.J. Marine Historical Collection

About Fr. Edward J. Dowling, S.J.

Fr. Edward J. Dowling was a noted Great Lakes historian, an associate professor of engineering graphics at the University of Detroit, and a special lecturer in marine travel and commercial shipping on the Great Lakes. He authored Lakers of World, published by the University of Detroit Press in 1967 and numerous journal article on Great Lakes shipping.

A charter member of the Marine Historical Society of Detroit, Fr. Dowling served for many years as the group's president, secretary and monthly magazine editor of the Society's publication, The Detroit Marine Historian. He served as the president of the Great Lakes Maritime Institute, Detroit and vice president of the Steamship Historical Society of America. For ten years he served as Great Lakes Sectional Editor of Steamboat Bill writing approximately one column for each issue. In 1973, the Detroit Historical Museum bestowed on Fr. Dowling their Patriotic Award for his work.

Born in 1906, he received an A.B. in Classical Languages in 1930 from Loyola University (Chicago), an A.M. in Classical Language in 1933 from Xavier University, and a S.T.D. in Theology in 1941 from St. Louis University. Fr. Dowling joined the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) in 1930 and was ordained in 1940. From 1942 to 1973 he taught full-time at the University of Detroit and then served twenty years as University Archivist before retiring. Fr. Dowling passed away May 18, 1996.

An Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree was presented to Fr. Dowling in 1977. As noted in the citation read during the presentation of the award: "Your life-long interest in Great Lakes shipping and history has become, through the years, much more than an association. Thousands have learned from you of the magnificent ships which plied Michigan's waters. Through your beautiful paintings and photographs, your teaching and service to numerous marine organization you have shared your love for the lakes and her vessels with many. Your detailed and dedicated scholarly research has added tremendously to Michigan's history of its great waterways."

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