S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Howard, Mr Charles Walter ( entomology, mycology)

Born: 1882, United States.
Died: 1 March 1928, Wheaton, Illinois, United States.

Charles Walter Howard, entomologist, obtained the degree Bachelor of Arts (BA) in entomology at Cornell University in 1904 and in April 1905 assumed duty as assistant entomologist in the Department of Agriculture of the Transvaal Colony in Pretoria, under C.B. Simpson*. After the latter's death in January 1907 Howard succeeded him as government entomologist. Around this time he became a Fellow of the (British) Entomological Society. At the end of May 1908 he was appointed government entomologist in the Department of Agriculture of Mozambique, stationed in Lorenco Marques (now Maputo).

During his few years in southern Africa Howard contributed significantly to local entomological knowledge and participated in the activities of scientific societies. From 1906 to 1908 he contributed 13 entomological notes, most of them dealing with agricultural insect pests, to the Transvaal Agricultural Journal. A major paper by him, "A list of the ticks of South Africa", was published in the Annals of the Transvaal Museum (Vol. 1(2), pp. 73-169) in 1908, followed the next year by three entomological notes from Mozambique. Papers by him on the distribution of Tsetse flies (1911) and other insects injurious to humans and animals in Mozambique (1912) appeared in the Bulletin of Entomological Research. He donated a collection of Diptera and Coleoptera from the Victoria Falls to the Transvaal Museum in 1906/7. In 1908 he presented a number of identified or described mosquitoes from the Transvaal to the South African Museum in Cape Town, followed the next year by an important insect collection submitted for identification.

Howard's wider interests in science are shown by his participation in the activities of scientific societies. He became a member of the South African Ornithologists' Union in 1905. By the next year he was a member also of the South African Association for the Advancement of Science, serving on its council during 1909/10 and as joint vice-president for 1910/11. In 1907 he became a member of the South African Philosophical Society, remaining a member when it became the Royal Society of South Africa the next year. And in December 1907 he convened a meeting in Pretoria at which it was decided to establish the Transvaal Biological Society. During the next two years he read several notes at its meetings. His wife, Mrs A.B. Howard*, also made some contributions to natural history while they were in southern Africa.

One of Howard's more specific interests was mycology. While in Mozambique he collected a number of fungi, mainly at Umbeluzi, Quelimane and along the Maputo and Zambesi Rivers. Some of these, including six new species, were listed by Sydow in Annales Mycologici in 1909. Many years later, during the nineteen-twenties, he made a substantial contribution to the mycological herbarium in Pretoria.

Howard returned to the United States in 1911 and became Professor of Entomology at the University of Minnesota (1912-1917). During this period he produced several papers on the insects of Minnesota. He also served as special assistant in the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research and was a member of the American Society of Economic Entomologists for many years.

Howard moved to Canton, China, during the early nineteen-twenties as Professor of Biology at the Canton Christian College. There he studied the Chinese silkworm industry. In 1923 a pamphlet by him, The sericulture industry of south China, was published by the institution's College of Agriculture. This was followed by a book, A survey of the silk industry of south China (Hong Kong, 1925), in collaboration with K.P. Buswell, plus several entomological papers relating to China (1922-1925). Shortly after his return to the United States he died as a result of being struck by a train.

List of sources:
Annals of the Transvaal Museum, 1908-1909, Vol. 1: Papers by Howard.

Bottomley, A.M. The development of South African mycology and of the Mycological Herbarium at Pretoria. South African Journal of Science, 1929, Vol. 26, pp. 326-331.

Cape of Good Hope. Report of the trustees of the South African Museum, 1908, 1909.

Doidge, E.M. South African fungi and lichens to the end of 1945. Bothalia, 1950, Vol. 5, pp. 1-1094 (see p. 39).

Google scholar. http://scholar.google.co.za Publications by C.W. Howard.

[Haagner, A. et al]. The Transvaal Biological Society. South African Journal of Natural History, 1918, Vol. 1(1), pp. 24-32.

Janse, A.J.T. A short history of the South African Biological Society. South African Biological Society Pamphlet, 1939, No. 10, pp. 49-58.

Journal of the South African Ornithologists' Union, 1909, Vol. 5(3): Roll of members.

Lounsbury, C.P. The pioneer period of economic entomology in South Africa. Journal of the Entomological Society of Southern Africa, 1940, Vol. 3, pp. 9-29.

National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System (NAAIRS). http://www.national.archives.gov.za/naairs.htm Documents relating to Howard, C.W.

National Union Catalogue, pre-1956 imprints. London: Mansell, 1968-1980.

Obituary: Charles Walter Howard. Journal of Economic Entomology, 1928, Vol. 21, pp. 440-441.

Royal Society of South Africa. Transactions, 1908-1910, Vol. 1: Lists of fellows and members.

South African Association for the Advancement of Science. Report, 1905/6, 1910, 1913: Lists of members and office bearers.

South African Philosophical Society. Transactions, 1907, Vol. 17: List of members.

Transvaal Agricultural Journal, 1906-1908, Vol. 4-6: Articles by Howard.

Transvaal [Colony]. Civil service list, 1906.

Transvaal [Colony], Department of Agriculture. Report, 1907/8.

Transvaal Museum. Annual Report, 1906/7 (National Archives, Pretoria, Vol. TKP 196).

Compiled by: C. Plug