Louie Howland, editor and award-winning maritime historian, dies at 81Historians in the News
tags: obituaries, Louie Howland
“A bookman I have been,” Louie Howland wrote in 2004, “a bookman I shall remain.”
Best known in boating circles as an award-winning writer and historian of all things maritime, Mr. Howland was borne through life across an ocean of books — so many that of late he moved from Boston to roomier quarters in Wenham, in part to gather his 20,000 volumes in one place.
Mr. Howland was 81 when he died at home on June 21 of lung cancer, and though he sold textbooks early on, he later charted a memorable path as an editor and antiquarian bookseller in Boston’s literary world.
“Mine has been a life in books: buying and selling, editing and publishing, agenting, packing and shipping, appraising and cataloguing, reviewing, and, on occasion, even reading,” he wrote in 1999 — the last clause a characteristically wry twist.
He read “occasionally” the way a famous conductor might occasionally listen to music. As a former longtime senior trade editor at Little, Brown in Boston, he filled his days and nights with books and marked-up manuscripts.
“He had this ability to sit in a chair when there was noise all around him, editing with those little red pencils and scratching his head, working at it,” said Bill Phillips, a former Little, Brown editor-in-chief.
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