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Howe, Helen, 1905-1975. Additional papers of Helen Howe, 1872-1975: A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University


Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.
Call No.: 82-M96
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Howe, Helen, 1905-1975
Title: Additional papers of Helen Howe, 1872-1975
Date(s): 1872-1975
Quantity: 3.42 linear feet (3 cartons, 1 file box) plus 1 folio+ folder, 2 folio folders, 1 object)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Addenda to the papers (77-M218, 78-M104) of Helen Howe, monologuist and author.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession number: 82-M96
These addenda were given to the Schlesinger Library in May 1982 by Reginald Allen.

Processing Information:

Preliminary inventory: June 1982
By: Jane S. Knowles, Liza Vorenberg

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research, with the exception of folder #21, which is closed.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Helen Howe as well as copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.

Preferred Citation:

Helen Howe Additional papers, 1872-1975; item description, dates. 82-M96, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Helen Howe papers, 1872-1975 (77-M218, 78-M104).


Helen Howe, monologuist and author, was born in Boston on January 11, 1905, the daughter of Mark Anthony DeWolfe Howe, biographer and author, and Fanny Howe, essayist. She was the sister of Quincy Howe, editor and radio commentator, and of Mark DeWolfe Howe, professor of law at Harvard University. Howe attended Milton Academy and Radcliffe College x'27, and studied acting with Georges Vitray in France. She taught at the Fiske School in Boston for one year and then went to the New York Theater Guild in 1926. There her talent for monologues was encouraged and she began performing, at first for friends and then in public. She was acclaimed in London in 1936 and ranked with Ruth Draper and Cornelia Otis Skinner for her pungent satirical sketches. During World War II she toured the country for "Community Concerts." Her first novel The Whole Heart was published in 1943, followed by We Happy Few (1946), The Circle of the Day (1950), The Success (1956), and The Fires of Autumn (1959). The Gentle Americans, 1864-1900: Biography of A Breed, a family history that focused on her father, Mark Anthony DeWolfe Howe, was published in 1965. In 1946 Howe married Reginald Allen, Curator of the Gilbert and Sullivan Collection of the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York, and former administrator of the Metropolitan Opera and the Philadelphia Orchestra.


These addenda include business correspondence, accounts, programs, publicity, fan mail and clippings documenting Helen Howe's theatrical career, 1925-1961; correspondence from publishers and the public about her first books; short stories, drafts, working notes for novels and a play; family correspondence; engagement books and diaries; photographs of Howe and family.


Container List

Additional Index Terms

American literature--20th century
Authors and publishers
Fan Mail
Women authors, American
Allen, Reginald
Bancroft, Mary
Copeland, Charles Townsend, 1860-1952
Davis, Mabel Quincy, -1958
Howe family
Howe, Fanny Quincy, 1870-1933
Howe, Quincy, 1900-1977
James, William, 1882-1961
Radcliffe College--Alumni and alumnae
Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945
Skinner, Cornelia Otis, 1901-1979
Starr, Polly Thayer