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Arthur Howland (1908-1978) Papers

Identifier: 11/3/14/3

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

Boxes 1-13, 20-21:

The Arthur Howland Papers comprise 15 boxes including one half-size box. They are arranged in seven major categories: biographical, correspondence, professional organizations, course-related materials, consulting, research files, and publications. Course related materials and research files form the bulk of the collection. These two categories reflect Howland's major interests throughout his career. Howland's original arrangement of his papers was largely retained.

The first folder of this series contains biographical materials spanning 1930 to 1978. Included in this material are curricula vitae and newspaper clippings arranged chronologically that illuminate Howland's professional life. The second folder contains Howland's journal from 1936 through 1947. In this journal are personnel and supply lists for the U.S. Geological Survey of the Bureau of the Mines; lists of income Howland earned during 1942-1943 from his work with U.S. Geological Survey; a daily log for 1941 through 1943 summers at Stillwater, Montana; and travel routes for 1936 through 1947 to Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Pennsylvania, and other places.

Howland's correspondence, spans the years 1931 to 1978. It provides an insight into his professional and personal activities and includes letters from his colleagues, teachers, students, and relatives. Of special interest are letters from U.S. Grant, longtime professor of geology at Northwestern. Grant was an instructor and later, a colleague of Howland. The letters from Howland's mother provide a glimpse of his early years, which unfortunately are not well-documented in his papers.

Following Howland's general correspondence, there are six folders of correspondence relating to specific matters. The first contains correspondence pertaining to the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association. The second contains materials about Howland's work with the Geological Education Orientation Study project that studied the quality of undergraduate education in geology at various colleges in the United States. The third folder includes correspondence and related material concerning Northwestern Mineral Collection (1965 through 1978), and Howland's role as curator of the Collection. In 1968 Howland wrote a grant proposal for the National Science Foundation to support a program of advanced teaching and research in quantitative methods used in the study of geology and analysis of geological problems. The proposal and pertinent correspondence is filed in the National Science Foundation Grant Proposal folder. The last of subject correspondence includes Howland's letters of recommendations from 1969 through 1978 for students and colleagues.

The third category in the papers consists of twelve folders containing material relating to Howland's memberships in professional organizations, arranged alphabetically by the name of the organization. Within each folder the material is arranged chronologically. Professional organizations represented include the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1963), American Gem Society (1953-1969), American Geological Institute (1963-1976), American Institute of Professional Geologists (1973-1977), Association of Geology Teachers (1964-1975), Chicago Academy of Sciences (1955-1978), Delta Phi (1936-1940, 1953), Geological Society of America (1946-1974), Mineralogical Society of America (1944-1975), Society of Economic Geologist (1964 and 1972), Sigma XI (1930-1933 and 1969-1978), and the State Microscopical Society (1967). Letters of recommendation supporting Howland's membership, copies of his resumes, correspondence, and material relating to his committee work are contained in these files. The letters of recommendation and resumes provide valuable information about Howland's teaching, research, consulting, and professional affiliations. Also, included are certificates affirming that Howland was accepted as a fellow, honorary or regular member in the various organizations.

Four and one half boxes of course-related materials document Howland's teaching career from 1933 through 1976. The material is arranged in three sections; courses held on campus; miscellaneous materials relating to course topics; and field courses. Courses held on campus include general geology, mineralogy, crystallography, and petrology. General reading lists for unidentified courses are grouped together in a folder preceding the numbered courses. The material relating to each course is arranged by types of materials: syllabi, reading lists, lectures and notes, laboratory exercises and notes, and examinations. Within each category the material is arranged chronologically. Also included are student papers, doctoral examinations, and related course notes pertaining to the Great Lakes, plate tectonics, and x-ray diffraction. The two folders on field courses contain notes relating to the exploration and analysis of important geological areas in Montana, Wisconsin, and Missouri. Material is arranged by the region where the field work occurred.

There are one and a half boxes of correspondence, petrographic analyses, maps, survey work, and bills documenting Howland's consulting work. This material is divided into two sections: general correspondence and related materials, and Harza Engineering Company correspondence and related materials. The correspondence and materials from 1953 through 1977 include consulting work for Bear Creek Mining Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Rockford Blacktop Construction Company, Loves Park, Illinois; Molten Metal Engineering Company, Hinsdale, Illinois; U.S. Gypsum Company, Chicago; Armour Research Foundation of the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago; Anson Mining, New Mexico; and several other firms.

The second section includes Howland's correspondence and related materials documenting his work for Harza Engineering Company from 1957 through 1978. Most of the consulting Howland did concerned petrographic analyses of areas in the United States and South America. The correspondence (1954-1960) between Howland and the Bear Creek Mining Company reveal that he made studies of copper-nickel sulfides in Minnesota and Oklahoma. Correspondence (1957) with the Armour Research Foundation reflects Howland's studies of iron-ores in Brazil. For Harza Engineering Company, Howland made petrographic analyses of rocks found in various areas in North and South America, and the Philippine Islands.

Almost half of the Howland Papers consist of research files. Although most of this research material pertains to the Stillwater Complex in Sweet Grass County, Montana, six folders concern other areas of research. The research files are divided into two major sections: Stillwater research and miscellaneous research. The files relating to the Stillwater Complex are divided into correspondence and research materials. The correspondence consists of three sections: general correspondence and correspondence with J. W. Peoples and Everett D. Jackson. Each section of correspondence is arranged chronologically. The general correspondence from 1934 through 1976 includes letters from Harris, Stark, Sampson, Jones, Garrels, Dreyer, and other geologists who worked with Howland at the Stillwater Complex in various branches of the U.S. Geological Survey (1940-1954) and on special research projects. The correspondence from 1933 through 1964 between J. W. Peoples and Howland, concerns the types of field work and research they did together in the Stillwater region particularly their chromite, nickel, and platinum studies. In 1951, E. D. Jackson joined Howland and other geologists for a special U.S. Geological Survey study of chrome deposits at Stillwater, marking the beginning of the correspondence between Jackson and Howland pertaining to special projects at Stillwater.

The research materials for the Stillwater Complex include Howland's U.S. Geological Survey employment forms (1930-1954) and press releases (1940, 1942, 1952). The bulk of the Stillwater research materials are arranged alphabetically by subject. Included are geological maps, detailed analyses of specimens, manuscripts, and miscellaneous field notes from Benbow Hill, Boulder River, Mountain View, Nye Basin, and other areas. Of special interest are the original manuscripts and notes on chromite deposits, igneous and tectonic structures, nickel and platinum group metals, and other topics that formed the basis of articles or major publications by Howland. Howland's Masters' Thesis "The Metamorphic Rocks" (1931-1932) is contained in these files.

The second section of the miscellaneous research category contains field notes, note cards, and maps of the structure of Calumet Stock in Colorado, the Society Islands including Raiatea and Borabora; and the Samoan Islands. Many of these notes formed the basis of later articles that appeared in the Proceedings of the Geological Society of America and American Mineralogist. Also included is a Northwestern Masters' Thesis by Thomas Thayer and Arthur Howland about the Geology of Gabenmichigamme Lake written in 1931 under the supervision of U.S. Grant and J. T. Stark. All of the materials in this section are arranged alphabetically by subject.

The last category in the Howland Papers consists of Howland's publications. Most are jointly authored by Howland and other geologists. The first folder includes three works about chromite deposits in Sweet Grass County, Montana, while the second folder contains the miscellaneous publications.


  • 1930-1978


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is stored off-site and requires two business days advance notice for retrieval. Please contact the McCormick Library at or 847-491-3635 for more information or to schedule an appointment to view the collection.


21 Boxes

Language of Materials



Arthur Howland worked as a geology professor at Northwestern University, as well as serving as a geologist for the United States Geological Survey and as a consultant for various mining companies. His primary research interests were in mineralogy, igneous and metamorphic petrology, and field geology. His papers comprise 13 boxes including one half-size box. They are arranged in seven major categories: biographical, correspondence, professional organizations, course-related materials, consulting, research files, and publications. Course related materials and research files form the bulk of the collection.


The Howland papers are arranged in seven major categories: biographical, correspondence (arranged by date or by topic), professional organizations (arranged by organization name), course-related materials (chiefly organized by course, plus a few topical folders), consulting (in two sections, each arranged by date), research files, and publications (arranged by date). Howland's original arrangement of his papers was largely retained.

Method of Acquisition

Transferred to the Northwestern University Archives by William F. Ramien, Curator of the Geology Department on May 3, 1980 as Accession #80-68.

Separated Materials

5 linear feet of extraneous and duplicative material was discarded.

Processing Information

Elizabeth Agard, Summer 1981.

Guide to the Arthur Howland (1908-1978) Papers
Elizabeth Agard
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Library Details

Part of the Northwestern University Archives Repository

Deering Library, Level 3
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston IL 60208-2300 US