Preliminary Guide to the James C. Howland Papers

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Overview of the Collection

Creator: Howland, James C.
Title: James C. Howland Papers
Dates: 1860-2008 ( inclusive )
1934-2005 ( bulk )
Quantity: 4.5 cubic feet, including 630 photographs and 1 videotape (8 boxes, including 5 oversize boxes)
Collection Number: MSS Howland
Summary: The James C. Howland Papers consist of materials generated and assembled by Howland as an Oregon State College student in the 1930s, during his military service in World War II, as an engineer and founder of CH2M, and as a community and civic leader in Corvallis, Oregon. Howland graduated from Oregon State College in 1938.
Repository: Oregon State University Libraries, Special Collections & Archives Research Center
Contact Information: Special Collections & Archives Research Center
121 The Valley Library
Oregon State University
Corvallis OR
Telephone: 541-737-2075
Fax: 541-737-8674
Languages: Materials in English. 

Biographical Note

James C. Howland earned an engineering degree from Oregon State College in 1938 and attended graduate school at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After serving with engineering units in Hawaii and Saipan during World War II, he returned to Corvallis, Oregon, in 1946. With fellow Oregon State alumni Holly Cornell, T. Burke Hayes, and Fred Merryfield, Howland founded CH2M, an engineering consulting firm, in 1946. Howland served as general manager for 20 years and chairman of the board in 1974-1977.

Howland married Ruth (Meisy) Meisenhelder in 1941 and they had four children: Mark, Joyce, Eric, and Peter. Howland was active in the Madison Avenue Task Force to beautify the avenue which connects the Oregon State University campus with downtown Corvallis and was instrumental in the development of the Riverfront Park project in downtown Corvallis in the 1990s. Howland was an active member of the Oregon State College Class of 1938 and participated in reunion planning beginning in 1963. Howland was also an accomplished artist, focusing on silk-screen printing. Howland was born in Oregon City on June 2, 1916; he died in Corvallis on August 28, 2008.

Content Description

The James C. Howland Papers consist of materials generated and assembled by Howland that document his student years at Oregon State College, military service during World War II, engineering career, community involvement and civic leadership, family, and role as an artist. The Papers include certificates, class notes, correspondence, meeting minutes, notes, photographs, posters, publications, scrapbooks, student papers, sketch books, a videotape, and drafting tools.

The collection includes several scrapbooks. They include clippings, brochures, correspondence, greeting cards, programs, memorabilia, and photographs. Several of the scrapbooks pertain to Howland's family, CH2M engineering projects, Howland's artwork, and awards he received. One of the scrapbooks was prepared to commemorate the Howlands' 50th wedding anniversary in 1991. Another scrapbook includes about 115 color photographs of the 50th reunion of the Class of 1938, held in 1988. Two of the scrapbooks document Howland's military service in Saipan during World War II; they consist predominintly of photographs (about 220 images) and sketches by Howland. Loose photographs in the collection depict Howland's military service during World War II (20 photographic prints and Oregon bridges (154 color slides), which were the subject of much of Howland's artwork. A videotape recording (VHS format) of a presentation by Howland about CH2M Hill is included in the collection.

Materials from Howland's student years at Oregon State include papers and class notes, a survey map for a student project, and posters promoting student dances.

Howland's records of the work of the Corvallis Riverfront Commission and the Riverfront Enhancement Task Force are part of the collection as well as the Oregon State Class of 1938 reunion committee for 1963-2003.

Use of the Collection

Restrictions on Access :  

Collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation :  

James C. Howland Papers, Oregon State University Archives, Corvallis, Oregon.

Administrative Information

Additional Reference Guides :  

Preliminary container list available online.

Processing Note :  

This collection is not fully processed; this guide is preliminary.

Acquisition Information :  

The papers were donated to the Archives by Howland's family in 2010.

Related Materials :  

The OSU Archives' holdings also include the papers of CH2M co-founder Fred Merryfield; the Horner Museum Oral History Collection (OH 10) includes oral histories with Howland and the other CH2M founders. The Alumni Association Records (RG 035) include additional materials pertaining the Class of 1938 reunions. The Helen M. and Alan B. Berg Papers include substantive materials pertaining to the Corvallis Riverfront Commission.


  • Corporate Names :
  • CH2M Hill, inc.
  • Oregon State College. Class of 1938.
  • Oregon State College. School of Engineering.
  • Oregon State College--Students.
  • Oregon State University--Alumni and alumnae.
  • Subject Terms :
  • Bridges--Oregon.
  • Engineering--Study and teaching--Oregon--Corvallis.
  • Urban beautification--Oregon--Corvallis.
  • Geographical Names :
  • Corvallis (Or.)
  • Saipan
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Maps.
  • Photographic prints.
  • Scrapbooks.
  • Slides.
  • Videotapes.

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