59 School Street, Box 1310, Edgartown MA 02539 - 508.627.4441
Martha's Vineyard Museum MV Museum

A Finding Aid to the John W. Howland Papers, 1835-1888

Descriptive Summary

RepositoryMartha's Vineyard MuseumGale Huntington Research Library
59 School Street
P.O. Box 1310
Edgartown, MA 02539
Call NumberRU 489
Creator Howland, John W., 1814-1896
TitleJohn W. Howland papers
Extent1 box (0.252 cubic feet)
LanguageThe materials are in English.
AbstractThe collection includes contracts, letters, licenses, and receipts concerning John W. Howland's business transactions. John W. Howland (1814-1896) was a builder, lumber dealer, highway surveyor, and tax collector in Tisbury, Massachusetts.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions to access.

Use and Reproduction Restrictions

Requests to reproduce material from this collection should be directed to museum staff. Reproduction fees may apply.

Preferred Citation

Martha's Vineyard Museum, RU 489, John W. Howland Papers.

Acquisition Information

Agreement for building schooner Smack gift of Mr. and Mrs. Douglas C. Fonda in 1972. (Accession no. 1972.033). The immediate source of acquisition and date of accession for the rest of the material is unknown.

Publication Information

Martha's Vineyard Museum

Gale Huntington Research Library
59 School Street
P.O. Box 1310
Edgartown, MA 02539

Processing Information

Finding aid prepared by Lara J. Ullman in August 2014. Finding aid machine-encoded by Nathaniel Janick, August 2014.

 Creation of this finding aid was sponsored by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Related Materials

Related Material

See also, account book "Day Book of John W. Howland 1847", accession no. 2012.001.093 (Account book no. 88).

Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Dukes County Court House (Edgartown, Mass.)
  • Smack (Schooner)
  • Wesleyan Grove Camp Meeting (Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.)


  • Contracts
  • Correspondence
  • Licenses
  • Receipts

Geographic Name(s)

  • Dukes County (Mass.)
  • Edgartown (Mass.)
  • Homes Hole (Mass.)
  • Oak Bluffs (Mass.)
  • Tisbury (Mass.:Town)


  • Building
  • Construction workers

Biography/Historical Note

John Wing Howland was born on August 10, 1814 in Westport, Massachusetts. John moved to Martha's Vineyard and worked as a builder and lumber dealer. On February 7, 1837, John married Rebecca Luce Crowell (1821-1916) of Tisbury, Massachusetts. The couple lived in Tisbury and had six children: Adelaide (1840-1928), Mary (1842-1899), Ann Eliza (1849-1880), Charlotte D. (1854-1921), Carrie Russell (1860-1944), and John Everett (1862-1939). John was a surveyor of highways for the Town of Tisbury, was a tax collector, worked on the Dukes County Court House front stairs, and built the Methodist parsonage, along with many other buildings. John W. Howland died on April 9, 1896.

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains contracts, legal documents, letters, licenses, and receipts concerning John W. Howland's business transactions on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.


The collection is arranged alphabetically by folder title and therein chronologically.

Collection Inventory


Affidavit Concerning John W. Howland, 1862 July 15 


Agreement between Bradford Howland, John W. Howland, and Timothy Daggett to Build the Schooner Smack, 1835 November 28 


Bill of Lading for Building Materials, 1859 April 30 


Contract between John W. Howland and Thomas N. Hillman, 1856 June 24 


District Warrant from the Assessors to John W. Howland, Collector of Taxes, 1855 


Letters, 1871, undated 


Letters and Papers about Construction Plans for Alterations to the Dukes County Court House (Howland was the contractor), 1858 June 21-July 28, undated 


Letter Commissioning Care of Certain Tisbury Roads, 1862 April 19 


License for One Family Tent at the Wesleyan Grove Camp Ground, 1860 


License to Carry on the Business of Stable Keeper, 1865 May 1 


Receipts, 1847-1861 


Receipts, 1862 


Receipts, 1863 


Receipts, 1864 


Receipts, 1865-1866 


Receipts, 1867-1869 


Receipts, 1870-1873 


Receipts, 1874-1802 


Receipts, undated 


Sons of Martha's Vineyard Circular Letter, 1888 March 28