William W. Howells

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For other people of the same name, see William Howells (disambiguation).
William W. Howells
Born William White Howells
November 27, 1908
New York City
Died December 20, 2005
Fields anthropology
Institutions Harvard University

Dr. William White Howells (November 27, 1908 – December 20, 2005) was a professor of anthropology at Harvard University. His most notable research concluded that modern humans are of one species.

Howells, grandson of the novelist William Dean Howells, was born in New York City, the son of John Mead Howells, the architect of the Chicago Tribune Tower, and Abby MacDougall White.[1] He graduated with an S.B. in 1930 and obtained a doctorate from Harvard in 1934 and worked for the American Museum of Natural History. He lectured at the University of Wisconsin–Madison from 1937 to 1954, serving as a lieutenant in the Office of Naval Intelligence during World War II. He taught at Harvard from 1954 until his retirement in 1974.

He was president of the American Anthropological Association in 1951. In 1998, with his wife Muriel Seabury, Howells endowed the directorship of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard. "Professor Howells had a moderating effect" over the origins of modern humans as he "tended toward the Noah's Ark theory."[2]


  • Howells, William W. (1944). Mankind So Far. 
  • Howells, William W. (1948). The Heathens; Primitive Man and his Religions. 
  • Howells, William W. (1954). Back of History. New York: Doubleday & Co. 
  • Howells, William W. (1959). Mankind in the Making. 
  • Howells, William W. (1992). Getting Here. Washington, D.C.: The Compass Press. 


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ William W. Howells, Leading Anthropologist, Dies at 97 ; New York Times December 30, 2005 [2]

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