Biography of John C. Howland

Native and lifelong resident of Warren, Rhode Island, John C. Howland is now manager of the Duitt Manufacturing Company, an enterprise established originally by his father. Though still in his ’twenties, Mr. Howland has proved himself a capable executive and business man, and his services have been of real value to his company which ranks among the largest manufacturers of handkerchiefs in the United States.

Mr. Howland was born at Warren, Rhode Island, on November 12, 1901, a son of Henry P. Howland, born at Sandwich, Massachusetts, who was engaged as a manufacturer until his death, and of Annie M. (Wheaton) Howland, born at Brooklyn, New York, who is still living.

John C. Howland received his education in the Warren public schools, and later attended Rhode Island State College, from which he was graduated in 1922, with the degree of Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering. Thereafter he took a post-graduate course at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and at the completion of his educational training, became associated with the Duitt Manufacturing Company, at Warren. This enterprise was established about 1899 by Henry P. Howland, Mr. Howland’s father, and Charles M. Wheaton, and was known originally as the Howland and Wheaton Company, being the first company to manufacture handkerchiefs in the State of Rhode Island. Very soon after its establishment it had become one of the largest enterprises of its kind in the country, and the passing years brought still further demands on its services, as its business expanded under the capable direction of its executives. This organization continued until the year 1918, when Mr. Wheaton disposed of his interest, and Henry P. Howland established what is known as the Duitt Manufacturing Company, of which he was manager and directing spirit until his death in 1926.

It was this organization which John C. Howland joined in 1922. After the death of his father he succeeded him as manager, and has continued at the head of the business until the present time with every success. His company produces about a million and a half handkerchiefs a year, and employs about one hundred and seventy-five hands. The handkerchiefs are made of cotton and all work is done by the most modern machinery. Today the Duitt Manufacturing Company ranks about third among the manufacturers of handkerchiefs in the United States.

Aside from his business interests, Mr. Howland has been active in other phases of Warren life. He is a consistent Republican in politics, although never blindly following party leadership, while he worships in the Episcopal faith, being a member and vestryman of St. Mark’s Church of this denomination at Warren. He is affiliated with the Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity, and is also president of the Warren Lions Club. Mr. Howland is fond of horses, and his favorite diversion is horseback riding.

Source: Carroll, Charles. Rhode Island: Three Centuries of Democracy, vol 3 of 4. New York: Lewis historical Pub. Co., 1932.

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