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COLLECTION Identifier: bMS 719

Howe, Charles A., 1922-. Papers, 1964-2007.


Diaries, ministerial writings, correspondence, and photographs of Charles A. Howe.


  • Creation: 1964-2007.


There are no restrictions on access to this collection.


8 boxes

This collection begins with biographical information, followed by Howe's self-titled Journals of Ministry, 1966-1997. He primarily recorded information about the churches he served and the work he did from day to day. Each journal covers approximately the span of a year, and they include records of items such as the budget, the amount of paper recycled, members gained and lost, and ceremonies performed. Also included are personal records, such as a list of books read and movies/plays seen that year, with Howe's own brief reflections on them.

The collection also includes newspaper clippings of articles and letters to the editor by and about Charles Howe and his wife Ann; published essays; materials he produced for a class on Unitarian Universalism; materials from his time as minister of the Universalist Church of Syracuse; materials from a 1996 research trip to Transylvania which include a diary and photographs; correspondence on the preparation of a history of community ministry; and sermons and student papers. Howe contributed many biographies to the online Dictionary of Unitarian Universalist Biography, and copies of those are included here.

Howe belonged to the Fraters of the Wayside Inn, an assembly of Unitarian Universalist ministers who held an annual weekend retreat. Howe began to write a history of this organization, but did not finish it. Howe’s draft of that history plus some of the records of the Fraters are included in this collection.

In his later years Howe participated in organized ministry to death row inmates, and correspondence and informational materials related to that are also included.

Biographical / Historical

Charles Alfred Howe (May 4, 1922-August 10, 2010) was a minister, theologian, advocate, scholar, and chemist. He was born in Utica, New York, received his AB from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, served in the Pacific theater at the end of World War II, and returned to Chapel Hill for an MA and PhD in chemistry. He worked for Merck & Co. before joining the faculty at Clarkson College in Potsdam, New York in the field of organic chemistry. While in Potsdam, Howe became interested in ministry through his membership in the Universalist (later Unitarian Universalist) congregation in Canton, New York under Rev. Max Coots, and his friendship with the faculty at the Universalist Theological Seminary at St. Lawrence University, including Max Kapp and David Parke.

In 1947 he married Ann Elizabeth Clark, a science educator and author. In 1964 the couple and their three children moved from Potsdam to Chicago. Howe graduated from the Meadville/Lombard Theological Seminary with a B. Div in 1966 and was later awarded an honorary Doctorate of Divinity in 1996.

Howe served congregations in Austin, Texas, 1966-1970; Syracuse, New York (First Universalist), 1970-1983; Charlottesville, Virginia (interim), 1983-1984; New York City (Fourth Universalist, interim), 1984-1985; Gainesville, Florida (interim), 1985-1986; and Wilmington and Kinston, North Carolina, 1986-1989. He also worked with the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) and the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association (UUMA) in a variety of capacities, includes membership on the UUA Commission of Appraisal, 1989-95 (chair, 1992-1994), and has taught courses in UU history and polity under the auspices of Meadville/Lombard Theological School, Wesley Theological Seminary, Duke Divinity School, and UU leadership schools.

Howe retired from the ministry in 1989, and moved in 1995 to Raleigh, North Carolina. He advocated for the end of the death penalty and participated in ministry to prisoners on death row.

Howe was the author of The Larger Faith (1993), For Faith and Freedom (1997), and numerous journal articles, as well as co-author and editor of Clarence R. Skinner: Prophet of a New Universalism (1999) and editor of The Essential Clarence Skinner (2004). In addition, he has edited two volumes of UUMA Selected Essays (1987, 1988) and three volumes of the John Murray Distinguished Lectures (1991, 1995, and 2004).

Acquisition Information

Gift of Ann Howe, 2011.

General note

The number after the slash in each entry in the following list indicates the box number, and the number in parentheses is the folder number.

Processing Information

Processed by Erin Binkley, 2012.

Howe, Charles A., 1922-. Papers, 1964-2007: A Finding Aid.
Andover-Harvard Theological Library
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Harvard Divinity School Library, Harvard University Repository

Special Collections at Harvard Divinity School Library preserves and makes accessible primary source materials documenting the history of religion and theology, with particular historical emphasis on American liberal religious traditions. Though the historical strengths of the collections have been in the field of Christianity, other religious traditions are increasingly reflected, in step with Harvard Divinity School's evolving focus on global religious studies. Known as Andover-Harvard Theological Library since 1911, it was renamed the Harvard Divinity School Library in 2021.

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