Stewart S. Howe Collection

Stewart S. Howe helped created the founding organizations for the Student Life and Cultural Archival Progam at Illinois

Illinois alumnus Stewart S. Howe provided the impetus for the development of the Student Life and Culture Archival Program at the University of Illinois Archives. Howe was founder of the Stewart S. Howe Alumni Service, which provided management, public relations, and fund-raising assistance to fraternities, sororities, and institutions of higher education. He had a life-long interest in higher education and was a dedicated collector of material dealing with fraternal organizations and other areas of college life.

Howe was a long-time friend and supporter of the University of Illinois and a frequent user of the Library and the University Archives. When he passed away in 1973, his collection of material dealing with student life, along with his personal and business papers, were willed to the University Archives. The collection contains over 350 cubic feet of material, dating from 1810 to the present, including books, journals, newsletters, clippings, correspondence, and photographs. It includes files on student life at over 300 American colleges and universities.

As a Kappa Sigma, Howe had a special interest in the American fraternity system and his collection demonstrates his emphasis in that area. He built the world's largest collection of materials dealing with fraternities and sororities. Supported by a gift from the Stewart Howe Foundation, the Student Life and Culture Archival Program is dedicated to building and maintaining this unique and outstanding collection.

The Howe Collection contains quarterly journals, histories, directories, catalogs, song books, handbooks, pledge manuals, and subject files for over 230 fraternities and sororities (active and defunct). It also contains material on interfraternity organizations such as the National Interfraternity Council, College Fraternities Secretaries Association, College Fraternities Editors Association, Interfraternity Research Advisory Council, National Panhellenic Conference, Professional Interfraternity Conference, and Professional Panhellenic Association. In addition, college and university subject files hold information on individual organizations and the fraternity system at a large number of institutions throughout the nation.

The Stewart Howe Collection was reprocessed into the following record series thanks to a 2007 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities:

26/21/1 Stewart S. Howe Foundation Records, 1938-42, 1958-97
26/21/2 Stewart S. Howe Personal Papers, 1865-1972, 2010, 1965-1972, 2010
26/21/3 Stewart S. Howe Alumni Service Files, 1929-1972
26/21/4 National Fraternity Reference Files, 1810-
26/21/5 National Fraternity Publications, 1810-
26/21/6 National Fraternity Journals, 1880-
26/21/7 Fraternity and College Book Collection
26/21/8 Banta's Greek Exchange and The Fraternity Month, 1913-1973
26/21/9 Fraternity Reference Files, 1888-1972
26/21/10 Inter-fraternity Files and Publications, 1895-1975, 1979-1994, 1998
26/21/11 College and University Reference Files, 1766-1997
26/21/12 Administrative Reference Files, 1855-1978
26/21/13 Subject Files, 1837-1972
26/21/14 Research Card Files