Frederick A Pottle ’17

Frederick Albert Pottle (1898-1987) was born in Center Lovell, Maine. As a student at Colby, he was a member of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity and elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He served in France from 1917 to 1919 and began graduate work in English at Yale University in 1920. He received a master’s degree in 1921 and a PhD in 1925. His long career on teaching and scholarship at Yale, beginning in 1925, lasted well beyond his formal retirement in 1966.

F A Pottle - 1987

Frederick Pottle in 1987. His steadfast efforts to build the collections in the Treasure Room were highly respected by fellow CLA members and greatly appreciated by Curator Carl Weber.

Pottle was considered an eminent scholar of lawyer-diarist-biographer James Boswell. He served as chief editor, and then chairmen emeritus, of the Yale Boswell Papers, a project that published Boswell’s personal papers. He was also an active researcher of  Samuel Johnson, the subject of Boswell’s well-known biography published in 1791.

Pottle died in New Haven, Connecticut in 1987, age 89.


Pottle served Colby College as a trustee, 1932-1959. Among other awards, he became the first recipient of the college’s Distinguished Alumnus Award, in 1977.He was a frequent contributor to the Colby Alumnus.

Pottle founded the Colby Library Associates in 1935 and served as CLA president until 1960. In 1951, he presented Special Collections with a copy of his highly-regarded 1950 publication on the London journal of James Boswell.

Pottle contributed numerous articles to the Colby Library Quarterly. His reflections on the first ten years of the CLA appeared in the June 1945 issue of the Colby Library Quarterly.

Additional works consulted:

Frederick A Pottle donor file. Colby College Special Collections.

Frederick A Pottle file. Colbiana Collection. Colby College Special Collections.