Carl Howard

Physical Description

The Carl Howard Papers consist of four document boxes and two record cartons, approximately 2 ½ linear feet. The collection is made up primarily of paper files, and also contains photographs, framed certificates, several small books, apparel, and a large framed board stored separately from the rest of the collection.

Biographical Sketch

Carl Howard (1907-2015) was a composer, organist, engineer, poet and philanthropist. An only child, Carl Chandler Howard was born in 1907 and grew up in Somerville. His father was on the board of the Handel and Haydn Society and his mother descended from the Adams family of Colonial times. He graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering in 1929 and 1930 respectively.

Howard then went on to pursue his passion for music, studying organ and composition at the New England Conservatory earning a degree in composition in 1936. While studying at NEC, Howard served as organist for the First Parish church in Watertown, MA. In 1931, he married Helen Lyndon, a musician who graduated from the BU School of Theology. Tragically, she died of cancer in early 1932. Carl never remarried.  Later in the 1930s, he returned to engineering work for two Greater Boston firms, initially at Stone and Webster, and for most of his career at Cram & Ferguson, from which he retired in the mid-1970s.

As a student at NEC, Howard won several prizes for his original compositions. He continued to compose music throughout his life including music for the Composers’ Forum-Laboratory sponsored by the Works Progress Administration. Howard also had a great passion for poetry and published several books of his works later in his life. Some of his poetry was influenced by his Irish heritage.

In 1993 Howard was awarded an honorary doctorate from NEC. In additional to his musical contributions, Howard was also a generous financial donor to NEC. The student lounge was named for him in recognition of his generosity over the years. Carl Howard passed away on January 22, 2015 in Carleton-Willard Village in Bedford, where he lived the past few decades of his life having previously lived in Lexington and Arlington. He was 107 years old!  -Source: The Boston Globe, March 24, 2015.


The Carl Howard Papers include materials which belonged to and created by Carl Howard, who attended the New England Conservatory from 1933-1937. The music manuscripts were donated to the library in 1991 and 1998 by Carl Howard.  Howard’s friend, Donna Maria Regis, a lifetime overseer and former trustee at NEC, donated the other materials and memorabilia to NEC after Howard’s death in 2015.


Access to the Carl Howard Papers is by appointment with the New England Conservatory Archivist. There are no restrictions pertaining to this collection.


All copyrights to this collection belong to the New England Conservatory. Permission to publish materials from this collection is granted by the NEC Archivist. This collection should be cited as: NECA 18.17. Carl Howard Papers, New England Conservatory Archives, Boston.

Finding aid compiled by Grace Wagner, Fall 2015

Scope & Content

The Carl Howard Papers, which date from 1900-2015 (bulk 1933-2008) are organized into seven series:

  1. Musical Compositions
  2. NEC Records
  3. Poetry
  4. Official Documents
  5. Correspondence
  6. Photographs & Publications
  7. Miscellaneous

The Musical Compositions series consists of musical compositions written by Carl Howard between the years 1933-2006. The various numbered compositions (1-59) cover the years 1933-1980 and contain compositions written for piano, organ, strings, brass, woodwinds, orchestra, and chorus. There are several church compositions. The unnumbered compositions cover the years 1990-2006 and contain a similar variety of pieces. There are also fragments and notes.

The NEC Records series consists of Howard’s correspondence with NEC between 1939-2015, concerning Howard’s compositions, financial contributions to the institution, and the Barone Collection, concert programs (1918-2015), NEC publications concerning Howard (1990-2006), and Howard’s music composition notes. It contains the Oral History correspondence, transcription, and tape recording from 2001 and a tape recording of a 2006 concert, where Howard’s Quartet in the Classical Style and Diptych for String Quartet were performed.  There is also a recording from the memorial concert celebrating Howard’s life which took place in May 2015.

The Poetry series consists of copies of five published books of poetry written by Carl Howard: Hibernian Fragments (2004), A Sampler of Short Poems (2004), The Way Along (2004), Suite Anapestical (2003), and Wee Ginty (2002). It also contains two unbound manuscripts, Sky Sparkle and Nursery Nonsense Nonplussing (2006). There are other manuscript materials, rejected writings, and inspirational ephemera. The series also contains poetry written by Henry Adams Hersey in 1943, sent to Carl Howard by Helen Hersey Dick in 1972.

The Official Documents series consists of Howard’s parents’ birth and death records, Howard’s birth records, his marriage certificate (1931), social security card (1938), will (1980), and legal correspondence. It also contains Howard’s senior year Somerville High School yearbook (1925) and an invitation to Howard’s high school commencement ceremony. There are also several certificates and awards, including two plaques: one conferring the honorary degree of Doctor of Music to Howard from NEC (1993) and a “Happy 100th Birthday!” message from George W. Bush and Laura Bush (2007).

The Correspondence series consists of personal correspondence (letters dated between 1977-2015) and ephemera (cards from 2007-2015). There is correspondence between Carl Howard and the Carleton-Willard Village dated 1996-2003.

The Photographs & Publications contains photographs and newspaper articles focusing on the accomplishments of Carl Howard and his ancestors. There are three folders: newspaper articles (1934-2008), family and childhood photograph (c.1900-c.1918), and other photographs (1929-2012).

The Miscellaneous series contains a number of different items. There are two folders containing Howard’s wallet, a pocket calendar, several small books (Symbolism of the Three Degrees Parts 1, 2, & 3 and Masonic Trestle-Board), and miscellaneous documents. There is a framed illustration of a house and Carl Howard’s graduate degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the New England Conservatory of Music. There are several apparel items, including Howard’s commencement hood, a hat, a wristwatch and a pocket-watch.


Container List

Series 1: Musical Compositions

Box 1 - Folder 1

  • Music Fragments and Notebook

Box 1 - Folder 2

  • Quartet in the classical style for strings

Box 1 - Folder 3

  • Choral and Fugue in free style
  • Nocturne and Pavane
  • Octet for strings & woodwind
  • Tonal Fugue, for organ        

Box 1 - Folder 4

  • Kyrie Eleison for chorus and orchestra
  • Prelude (Sextet)
  • Little Symphony for chamber orchestra
  • Three Fantasies on English Airs

Box 1 – Folders 5 and 6

  • Piece for orchestra

Box 1 - Folder 7

  • Psalm 109:1-4 and Psalm 69: 1-3
  • Prelude on the Hymn to St. Anthony

Box 1 - Folder 8

  • Sonatina 1
  • Short Quartet for Brass
  • Sonatina 2
  • Dialog

Box 1 - Folder 9

  • Six Motets

Box 1 - Folder 10

  • Devotional Songs
  • Blessed!

Box 1 - Folder 11       

  • Variations for Piano                                                              
  • Four Piano Pieces                                                                   
  • Contrapuntal Abstractions for Piano

Box 1 - Folder 12

  • Romantic Variations
  • Variations No. 2
  • Three Pieces

Box 1 - Folder 13

  • Sonatina 3
  • Rhapsody
  • Caprice
  • Diptych
  • Chaconne

Box 1 - Folder 14

  • Sonata: Violin and Piano

Box 1 - Folder 15

  • Pastiche
  • Pieces for Piano
  • Lyric Preludes
  • Six Nocturnes

Box 1 - Folder 16

  • Suite of Seven (1996)
  • Aliquot Propria Opera (1997/1998)

Box 1 - Folder 17

  • Mea Propria (1998)

Box 1 - Folder 18

  • Sonatina I (1998)
  • Phantasmal Duo (1998)

Box 1 - Folder 19

  • Diptych for String Quartet (2003)

Box 1 - Folder 20

  • Verbum ex Sepulcro

Box 1 - Folder 21

  • Paean [Carleton-Willard Village version] (2006)

Series 2: NEC Records

Box 2 - Folder 1

Oral History (May-July 2001)

Box 2 - Folder 2


  1. Reminiscences of NEC (May 2001)
  2. Carl Howard, Quartet in the Classical Style and Diptych for String Quartet (May 2006)
  3. A Memorial Concert Celebrating the Life of Carl Chandler Howard, Carleton-Willard Village, May 11, 2015

Box 2 - Folder 3

Music Composition Notes (1936-1997)

Box 2 - Folder 4

NEC Programs (1935-2015)

Box 2 - Folder 5

Other Programs (1918-2015)

Box 2 - Folder 6

NEC Publications (1990-2006)

Box 2 - Folder 7

NEC Correspondence (1939-2013)

Box 2 - Folder 8

Barone Collection Correspondence (2000)

Series 3: Poetry

Box 3 - Published Books of Poetry

  • Wee Ginty (2002)
  • Suite Anapestical (2003)
  • Hibernian Fragments (2004)
  • A Sampler of Short Poems (2004)
  • The Way Along (2004)

Box 3 - Bound Manuscripts

  • Matrix Forma Fabulaque: Book 1
  • Wayward Baggage: Book 2
  • Versiculi in Viginti: Book 3
  • Hibernian Fragments: Book 4

Box 3 - Folder 1

  • Sky Sparkle [unbound manuscript]

Box 3 - Folder 2

  • Nursery Nonsense Nonplussing [unbound manuscript] (2006)

Box 3 - Folder 3

  • Manuscript Rejects

Box 3 - Folder 4

  • Poetry Inspiration and Ephemera

Box 3 - Folder 5

  • Hersey Poetry (1943-1972)

Series 4: Official Documents

Box 4 - Folder 1

Birth/Death and Marriage Papers (1931-1960)

Box 4 - Folder 2

Carl Howard Will & Legal Correspondence (1980-2011)

Box 4 - Folder 3

Yearbook, Somerville High School (1925)

Box 4 - Folder 4

Certificates & Awards (1993, 1999, 2007)

Carl Howard Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the New England Conservatory of Music Graduate Degrees (Oversize, located in Box 5)

Series 5: Correspondence

Box 4 - Folder 1

Personal Correspondence [letters] (1977-2015)

Box 4 - Folder 2

Personal Ephemera [cards] (2007-2015)

Box 4 - Folder 3

Carleton-Willard Village Correspondence (1996-2003)

Series 6: Photographs & Publications

“Repaying his debt to music” [oversized framed article, stored with collection] (July 16, 1993)

Box 4 - Folder 1

Newspaper Articles (1934-2008)

Box 4 - Folder 2

Family and Childhood Photographs (c.1900-c.1918)

Box 4 - Folder 3

Photographs (1929-2012)

Series 7: Miscellaneous

Box 5

Framed Illustration

NEC Doctor of Music Plaque (1993)

“Happy 100th Birthday!” from George W. Bush and Laura Bush (2007)

Books [Symbolism of the Three Degrees Parts 1, 2, & 3 and Masonic Trestle-Board] Apparel [commencement hood, hat, wristwatch, and pocket-watch]

Box 5 - Folder 1

Miscellaneous Documents

Box 5 - Folder 2

Wallet and Calendar