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This biography is from Landmarks of Albany County, New York, edited by Amasa J. Parker of Albany, N. Y., Syracuse, N. Y.; D. Mason & Co. Publishers, 1897.

George Rogers Howell

George Rogers Howell, State archivist, was born in the town of Southampton, Long Island, N.Y., June 15, 1833, and is a son of Charles and Mary (Rogers) Howell, highly respected citizens of that place. The first American ancestor of the family was Edward Howell, of Marsh Gibbon, Buckinghamshire, England, who came to Boston with his family in 1639 and soon afterward became one of the earliest settlers of Southampton, the first town settled by the English in the State of New York. The old stone manor house of Edward Howell is still standing at Marsh Gibbon and inhabited as a residence.

Professor Howell first attended the district school and the Southampton Academy, and very early manifested a great love for books and a strong desire to master various languages. In 1851 he entered the sophmore class of Yale College, then under the presidency of Theodore Woolsey, D.D., and was graduated from that institution with honor in 1854. He then spent several years in teaching in academies, but continued in private those studies which proved most congenial, especially the sciences and languages. Deciding finally upon the ministry he matriculated in September, 1861, at Princeton Theological Seminary, from which he was graduated in 1864. For about two years he was engaged in ministerial work in Western New York. An incident now occurred which turned his attention to more purely literary pursuits.

The 225th anniversary of the settlement of Southampton was to celebrate in 1865, and Mr. Howell, who had already gained a high scholarly reputation, was invited by his townsmen to deliver the address on that occasion, to which he consented. This effort was so well received that in 1866 it was enlarged and printed under the title of "The Early History of Southampton, Long Island, with Genealogies." A second edition, of 473 pages, was published at Albany in 1887. In 1863, on the recommendation of Dr. Macauley, of Philadelphia, Mr. Howell was offered a professorship of Latin or Greek in a college in Iowa, but his engagements compelled him to decline. As a further inducement to obtain his scholarship in the West the presidency of the same college was offered and declined for the same reason. In 1872, on the suggestion of Dr. S. B. Woolworth, he was engaged, on account of his linguistic attainments, as assistant librarian in the New York State Library at Albany, and during the illness and on the death of Dr. Homes in November, 1887, he was acting librarian of the general library. His connection with this immense collection of books embraces a period of nearly twenty-five years. He possesses acknowledged ability in classification, cataloguing, and arrangement, a most intimate knowledge of books in all departments, and a rare discrimination in selecting suitable or desirable volumes. He has been also for several years secretary of the Albany Institute, before which he has read many able papers on scientific subjects, some of which have been published in the "Transactions."

Professor Howell was married on the 18th of August, 1868, to Miss Mary Catherine Seymour, daughter of Norman and Frances Hale (Metcalf) Seymour, of Mount Morris, N. Y. They had one son, George Seymour Howell, who died at the close of his junior year in Harvard University, in March, 1891.

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