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R. Bedford Watkins, Works from 1945-2005

Identifier: 14-3: Watkins, R. Bedford

Scope and Contents

This collection is organized into the following series:

    1. Keyboard

    2. Solo/Feature

    3. Ensembles

    4. Orchestral & Band

    5. Mass / Dedications

    6. Poetry

    7. Dissertation

    8. Correspondence/Misc. Writings

    9. Uncatalogued pieces/Fragments

    10. Media


  • Works from 1945-2005


Biographical / Historical

R. Bedford Watkins served as a corporal with the 7th Army in World War II as a gunner in the 515th Field Artillery Battalion. After the war, he earned a bachelor of music degree from Rhodes College (where he met his future wife, see below), a master of music degree from the University of Michigan (1951), and a doctorate from the University of Iowa. Watkins taught at Rhodes College, Winthrop University, and Illinois Wesleyan University. He was a member of IWU’s School of Music faculty from 1956 to 1988, serving as the chair for the keyboard department for 10 years. Watkins performed solo recitals on harpsichord and piano at colleges and universities in 25 eastern, southern, and Midwestern states. He has composed and published works for instrumental solo, chamber music, orchestra, and band, vocal solo, and choral music, and served as organist at First Baptist Church in Bloomington, IL.

Watkins’ poetry has been published in IRIS, an IWU journal of poetry and art; in Eternity Magazine; and in IWU faculty member Fred Brian's fine press imprint, the Pilot Rock Press. In 2000, Watkins published a complete book of poetry titled Remembering Armageddon: Reflections on a Century of War.

Watkins married Eugenia Harris Bowles in 1946. They met at Southwestern at Memphis (now Rhodes College) where both were attending on the GI bill. Her majors were music and English. She attended Officers Training School at Smith College as one of the first WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service), and was a Lieutenant JG in the Navy. She directed church choirs throughout her adult life. She was born August 23, 1921 and died in 2018.


6 Linear Feet : 8 boxes

Language of Materials


Physical Location

This collection is located in Special Collections.

Repository Details

Part of the Illinois Wesleyan University Archives Repository

P.O. Box 2899
Illinois Wesleyan University
Bloomington IL 61701 US