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Guide to the Howe Family Photograph Collection
circa 1890's-1900's
 PR 292

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400


© 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Susan Kriete

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on December 12, 2012
Finding Aid is written in English

Biographical/Historical note

Edward Howe appears to have settled in the Bronx in the early to mid-19th century. Born in Maine in 1820, he married Nannie (also given as Narrie) Mack, and they had three sons, all born in New York: Edward E. (1864), Frederick (1865) and Alfred (1872).

The Howes were a musical family. The elder Edward listed his occupation in census reports as "music teacher," and two of his three sons (Edward E. and Alfred) also became professional musicians. By 1900, Edward E. was married, had four children, and was living in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, where he taught music. Alfred, who also married, remained in the Bronx, and apparently worked as a musician in the theater and aboard ships. Alfred and his wife had one daughter and lived in what seems to have been the original Howe home at 575 Trinity Avenue.

Although Frederick Howe was also musically trained, he was employed as an architect and draughtsman in the Topographical Bureau of the Borough of the Bronx. Never married, Frederick lived with his mother at 565 Trinity Avenue in the Bronx, next door to Alfred. Described as "rather eccentric," Frederick engineered and built a series of small railroads on the Bronx property that the family used to haul coal. Frederick is also credited with originating the idea of a parkway linking the three boroughs, although his plan was never realized. He committed suicide in 1911.

The Howe family members were apparently all vegetarians and in 1887, Edward E. Howe published a vegetarian cookbook.

Alfred Howe sold the two Trinity Avenue homes in 1925.

The photographs in this collection were most likely taken by Alfred Howe, and were donated to the New-York Historical Society by Edmund Bramhall Child III, a collector and long-time Bronx resident. Child was himself a musician and amateur actor and may well have been a friend of the family.

Special thanks to N-YHS librarian Joseph Ditta for his invaluable assistance in researching the Howe family.