Born on May 2, 1870, in Peoria, Illinois, Benjamin Parsons Bourland was awarded Bachelor of Arts in 1889 and Master of Arts in 1890 by the University of Michigan, and, Doctor of Philosophy by the University of Vienna in 1897. As Instructor in French at the University of Michigan, he attained the rank of Assistant Professor in 1899. He accepted the position of Associate Professor of Romance Languages in Adelbert College of Western Reserve University in 1901. In 1905 he was made full Professor of Romance Languages, in which position he remained until his retirement, as Professor Emeritus, in 1940. He married Gertrude Louise Thayer in 1902. Bourland enjoyed a reputation as an outstanding scholar, a patron of the performing arts, a wine connoisseur, and, as a bibliophile noted for his active leadership of the Rowfant Club of Cleveland, Ohio. He died on January 12, 1943.
From the guide to the Benjamin Parsons Bourland Rowfantia Collection, 1909-1936, (Case Western Reserve University Kelvin Smith Library Special Collections)