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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 789

Papers of Marion Angeline Howlett, 1880-1983


Correspondence, writings, photographs, etc., of Marion Angeline Howlett, world traveler, lecturer, social worker, and journalist.


  • 1880-1983

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Unrestricted.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Marion Angeline Howlett as well as copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. The collection may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


1.88 linear feet ((4+1/2 file boxes) plus 12 photograph folders, 1 folio folder, 1 folio+ photograph folder, 1 oversize folder)
The collection includes family genealogies, photographs, and correspondence and diaries of her grandparents; Howlett's correspondence, photographs, biographical information including clippings documenting her travels and lecturing; diaries, lectures and radio broadcasts; and printed material, clippings, correspondence, etc., from her work at the South End Boys' Club and the South Boston Boys' Club. Several of the boys kept in touch with her over the years. Folder headings in quotations are those of Marion Angeline Howlett. She regularly used corporate reports as folders for her research; some of these have been retained to serve as illustrations of this practice.

Series I, Photographs,1880-1977 (#PD.1-PD.13f+), contains photographs of Howlett and family members, her travels, and her work at the South End Boys' Club and the South Boston Boys' Club.

Series II, Family history, 1888-1974 (#1.1-1.14, FD.1), includes correspondence and diaries of her paternal grandfather, Enoch James Howlett, and maternal grandmother, Elsie Jane Perkins Weare; a Masonic certificate, wills, affidavits; genealogies and notes; clippings, etc., re: the Howlett, Towne, and Weare families.

Series III, Marion Angeline Howlett, 1889-1983 (#1.15-5.2, OD.1), includes biographical information such as report cards, certificates, clippings regarding her travels, writing, and lectures; diaries; correspondence; lectures and writings; radio broadcasts; and flyers, correspondence, etc., concerning her work with boys' clubs in Boston.

Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be digitized and available online.


World traveler, lecturer, social worker, librarian, and journalist Marion Angeline Howlett was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on December 21, 1889, the daughter of Clarence and Melvina Weare Howlett. She had a sister Elsie and two brothers: C. Weare and Ralph. Her family traced its roots back to the Mayflower through her paternal grandparents, Enoch James and Angeline Shaw Mower Howlett. Her maternal grandparents were Theodore and Elsie Jane Perkins Weare.

Howlett attended the Cambridge public schools and took courses at Radcliffe College (1918-1919), Brown University extension program (1924), and elsewhere, including the study of Japanese, Spanish, Arabic, Hindustani, Russian, and Polish during her travels abroad. From 1920 to 1923 she traveled around the world, working as a hostess at the Los Angeles Military Academy, teaching western etiquette classes in Hawaii and the Philippines, writing as a free-lance journalist, and lecturing about her travels. Returning home, she worked for the Pung Chow Company in New York City promoting the game of mah jong (1923-1924), and for the R.H. White Company in Boston, Massachusetts, as editor of The White Star, the store's magazine, and as manager of two departments (1924-1926). Between 1928 and 1933 she continued her worldwide travels and lectures on international current events, good will among nations, etc., including radio broadcasts from WCAH in Columbus, Ohio. Her work in theater began in 1937 as director of productions for the Amateur Theatre Guild in Boston and Providence, and as publicity director for the Boothbay Playhouse in Boothbay, Maine (1940-1941). She also worked for Warren Kay Vantine Studios, organizing senior portraits at New England colleges (1941-1942). In the mid-1940s she began work as librarian and social worker at the South End Boys' Club in Boston and, later, at the Charles Hayden Memorial Clubhouse of the South Boston Boys' Club where she inaugurated a successful junior book awards program. She resigned in 1959. Howlett had an avid interest in family history and kept in regular touch with members of her far-flung family. She died in Boston in July 1983.


The collection is arranged in three series:
  1. Series I. Photographs, 1880-1977 (#PD.1-PD.13f+)
  2. Series II. Family history, 1888-1974 (#1.1-1.14, FD.1)
  3. Series III. Marion Angeline Howlett, 1889-1983 (#1.15-5.2, OD.1)

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 73-73, 94-M154, 97-M86, 97-M140

This collection was given to the Schlesinger Library by Marion Angeline Howlett in 1973 and by the New England Historic Genealogical Society between 1994 and 1997.


Donors: Marion Angeline Howlett and New England Historic Genealogical Society

Accession numbers: 73-73, 94-M154, 97-M86, 97-M140

Processed by: Anne Engelhart

The following items have been removed from the collection:
  1. The Modern Letter Writer: Being a Complete Guide for Ladies and Gentlemen in their Epistolary Correspondence, Boston: A.J. Wright, n.d., was transferred to the Schlesinger Library book division
  2. Two scrapbooks containing clippings from national newspapers (mostly the New York Times) re: Russia, 1930-1934, were disposed of
  3. Publications from Plimoth Plantation were disposed of
  4. Issues of Time and other magazines containing cover stories (often of political or historical figures) of interest to Howlett were disposed of
  5. A box containing her mother's wedding cake (lid retained) was disposed of

Processing Information

Processed: March 2014

By: Anne Engelhart
Link to catalog
Howlett, Marion Angeline. Papers of Marion Angeline Howlett, 1880-1983: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future.

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