A.B. Harvard, 1934; M.A. University of Wisconsin, 1941; Ph.D., 1948.
Teacher, Latin & biology, Brooks School (North Andover, MA), 1934-40; Latin, history, Pomfret (CT) School, 1942-8; asso. prof. University of Wisconsin, 1948-56; prof. 1956-82; chairman dept. 1954-68; chairman, Integrated Liberal Studies, 1975-80.
"The Epicureans of the Roman Republic" (Wisconsin, 1949).
“The Authenticity of the Letters of Chio of Heraclea,” TAPA (1942) xxix; “Amafinius, Lucretius, and Cicero,” AJP 72 (1951) 57-62; Classics in Translation, I, II: Greek Literature, Latin Literature, with Paul MacKendrick (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1952). REVS: CW XLVI 1952 37-38 Lind | CPh XLVIII 1953 109-112 Bassett | Phoenix VII 1953 122 Hardy | CJ XLVIII 1952-1953 272 Dorjahn | CB XXX 1954 70 Zellner; Medical Greek and Latin at a Glance, with Walter R. Agard, 3rd ed. revised (New York: P.B. Hombre, 1955; rev. 1971); “The religio of Lucretius,” CJ 52 (1957) 329-3; “The Gods and the Garden,” Vergilius 6 (1960) 24-8; “A Root of van Helmont's Tree,” Isis 56 (1965) 408-19; “The Dome of Clement,” TAPA 97 (1966) 261-73; Ancient Religion and the Early Church (Madison, WI: American Printing & Publishing, Inc., 1974); Barry B. Powell, Classical Myth, texts translated by Howe (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1995). REVS: CW 1996-1997 90, 4: 293-295 Henry V. Bender.
Herbert M. Howe filled his 98 years with scholarship and physical activity. Howe made a specialty of the classics-in-translation courses that were becoming rapidly popular after World War II. He taught Greek and Latin Medical Terminology, Ancient Religion and the Early Church, and the hugely popular Classical Mythology. To support his teaching, he developed textbooks, notably Classics in Translation with his colleague Paul MacKendrick. This two-volume work, still in print in paperback, is the all-time best selling book from the University of Wisconsin Press. With Walter Agard he wrote Medical Greek and Latin. With his wife Eve, who earned a Ph.D. at Wisconsin in 1946, he was a leader of the Integrated Liberal Studies Program at Wisconsin and in the 1950s served in loco parentis to the promising 15&16-year-old students who came to campus under a grant from the Ford Foundation. Graduates of this program later endowed the Herbert and Evelyn Howe Bascom Professorship for ILS professors. Herb once estimated that in his 34-year career in Madison that he had taught over 26,000 students, more than any other faculty member in the institution’s history.
To improve his teaching of medical terms he studied anatomy, which reinforced his ability to maintain his physical exercise regime, for physical as well as intellectual vigor characterized Herb. He and Eve never owned a car, but walked or bicycled everywhere. Herb held international records for his age group as a competitive Masters swimmer and at 88 was named Badger State Athlete of the Year in 2000. He once estimated that he had swum over 25,000 miles, the circumference of the earth at the equator. He and Eve were an inseparable couple throughout their nearly 70-year marriage, teaching, mentoring, hosting, walking, and biking all over Madison, when they were not working (Herb continued to contribute translations into his 90s and at 94 published an article on the anatomist Johannes Wepfer) in their great Gothic house. Two days after his death, his wife Eve, age 94, died.
WhAm 52 (1998) 2030; DAS 8, 3: 241.
AUTHORWard W. Briggs, Jr.