John Bowen’s areas of research have been many and varied, ranging from William Steinway’s instrumental role in the development and operation of North Beach Amusement Park to the troubled life of his eldest son, George; New York’s centennial celebration of George Washington’s inauguration to America’s Cup yacht races; and Hans von Bülow's jealous tantrums to the warmth of William's alpaca coat.
At times, Mr. Bowen’s assignments have led him down a macabre path, making him the Steinway Diary Project’s resident expert on subjects such as the cremation movement in America, death by Broadway cable car, the Eddie Kreischer suicide/murder mystery, the assassination of Chicago’s mayor at its 1893 Columbian Exposition, and the 1891 New Orleans “Mafia Trial” riot in which nine Italians who were acquitted in the murder of the city’s police chief were killed. More happily, Bowen also has had the opportunity to research the careers of several prominent pianists with whom his grandmother once studied, including Xaver Scharwenka, Rafael Joseffy, and Theodor Leschetizky.
Bowen is a native of Rochester, New York, and a graduate of Yale University, where he majored in economics. His graduate work was at Vanderbilt University, from which he holds a PhD in economics with a minor in American history. He has served on the faculties of Princeton University and, for many years, Ripon College in Wisconsin. His principal areas of concentration within economics include industrial organization and public policies toward business, with particular emphasis on antitrust policy. In addition to his work on the Steinway Diary Project, Bowen volunteers as a docent at the National Museum of American History and occasionally leads discussion groups for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Maryland in College Park, including a 2010 course on William Steinway’s life and times. He lives with his wife, Marcella, in Beltsville, Maryland. They have six children and, currently, an equal number of grandchildren.