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A Finding Aid for the Chauncey J. Howe Papers 1909-1975

Collection Summary

Collection Title: Chauncey J. Howe Papers

Creator: Howe, Chauncey J. b 1895.

Dates: 1909-1975

Abstract: Chauncy J. Howe, O.D., F.A.A.O. (b.1895), was a practicing optometrist and active member of Michigan optometrist associations from 1917-1972. He served on the Michigan Optometric Association and Michigan State Board of Examiners. The papers include materials relating to his association activities, and education as an optometrist. They span the dates 1909-1975.

Language: English

Quantity: 7.5 cubic feet; 4 records center boxes

Identification: MSS-2

Repository: Ferris State University Archives and Records Management Program

Historical Note

Chauncey J. Howe was born in Hillsdale, Michigan in 1895. After receiving a fellow optics degree from the Illinois College of Ophthalmology and Otology via correspondence, he attended Hillsdale College in 1914. In 1916, Howe entered the Northern Illinois College of Ophthalmology and Otology (Chicago, Ill.) and graduated with a degree of doctor of optics and masters of ophthalmology. He was following in the footsteps of his father who had a optometry local practice.

While at Northern Illinois, Howe joined the Omega Delta fraternity and the Wolverine Club. This was the beginning of Howe's active involvement with numerous professional optometric associations. He served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps during World War I, and was discharged at the rank of Master Hospital Sargent. He next went into practice with H.H. Rogers in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. In 1922, he returned to Hillsdale to start his own practice which he maintained until 1957.

In addition to private practice, Howe became involved with the Michigan Optometric Association (originally known as the Michigan Optical Society) which helped to pass the first Michigan law relating to optometry in 1909. By 1926, he served his first term as president, and was subsequently appointed by the governor to the Michigan State Board of Examiners in Optometry. He was to remain on the board until 1971- serving as secretary/treasurer from 1941-1971 and as acting president from 1938-1941. As a Board member, Howe was involved with licensing issues, accrediting optometry schools and writing a history of the organization. In 1956, he earned the Emil Arnold Scientific Award for his contributions to the field of optometry.

Scope and Content Note

Chauncey Howe served as the secretary and historian of the Michigan State Board of Examiners of Optometry. The Michigan Optical Society (which later became the Michigan Optometric Association) lobbied for the successful passage of the 1909 Optometry Law. This law gave the Governor Fred M. Warner the authority to appoint a Board of Examiners to handle the licensing of Michigan Optometrists. Peter Scholler served as the Board's first president, and Ernest Eimer as the first secretary at the first meeting on October 22, 1909. By 1910, there was 755 registered optometrists in Michigan.

The collection consists of primarily of professional papers relating to the Michigan State Board papers and other professional associations to which Howe belonged, including the Michigan Optometric Association. As the secretary of the Board from 1941, Howe developed a strong interest in documenting the history of the organization. He noted that "I have always been interested in what the past means to the present and future. Optometry has been good to me and therefore, I hope to record a tribute for those who made it possible for me to practice my chosen profession and make the profession of optometry what it is in Michigan today." Records included in the Michigan Board of Examiners series include the official minute books of the organization and subject files relating to registration issues, board members and court cases in which the authority of the State Board of Examiners was challenged and defined. There are not lists of membership or extensive correspondence with the general membership.

Other topics of interest are records relating to the Michigan Optometric Association in the 1970s, and files relating to Howe's own optometry education which occurred out of state. There are files relating to the Demars College of Optometry and the Northern Illinois College of Optometry, both located in Chicago, Illinois. Howe retained a strong interest in the licensing of optometrists who trained out of state. He also examined the need for more in-state training and other legislative issues relating to optometry.

There are also various publications and tools related to the subject of optometry in the memorabilia series.


The papers are divided into three series.

Access Information

Conditions of Access

The Chauncey J. Howe Papers are open for research to all users in accordance with University Archives and Records Management access policies. It is available in the reading room of the Ferris State University Archives.

Conditions of Use

Requests for permission to publish material should be directed to the University Archivist. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Copyright interests for this collection have not been transferred to Ferris State University. For more information, contact the University Archivist.

Subject Headings

Below are a list of names, organizations and subjects relating to the collection. Names have been taken from Library of Congress Authority headings whenever possible.

Related Materials

None specified.

Administrative Information


Footnotes and bibliographic references should use the following format:
[Item], Folder, Box. Chauncy J. Howe Papers. Ferris State University Archives. Big Rapids, Michigan.

Provenance (Acquisition Information)

The Chauncey J. Howe Papers were donated by Chauncey Howe, Hillsdale, Michigan, to the Ferris State College Library in 1972.

Processing Information

The Chauncey J. Howe Papers were processed to the folder level by Shirley King and Larry Martin in September 1977. They were reprocessed by Nicole Vanderlaan in January 2004. A finding aid was prepared in a word processing format and converted to EAD 1.0. A revised finding aid was created in January 2008. A collection level MARC-format record was prepared and placed in the library online public access catalog. Description was based on Describing Archives: A Content Standard (Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 2004).

Separated Materials

During processing, duplicate materials were discarded. There were no other materials placed in other collections.

Technical Requirements

This collection consists of paper based materials. No specialized hardware or software is required for viewing.

Content Listing

Series 1. Subject Files. 1947-1974.

This series consists of 1.5 cubic feet of correspondence/topical files belonging to Dr. Chauncey Howe. Some materials are personal, such as his records from the student Wolverine club and his optometry education while others relate to associations such as the Michigan Optometric Association in which he played a prominent role.

Materials are arranged alphabetically by subject

Box Folder Contents
1 1 Biographies; nearprint. 1947-1976.
1 2 Blue Book of Optometrists. 1946; 1948.
1 3 Blue Book of Optometrists. 1950; 1952.
1 4 Blue Book of Optometrists. 1954; 1956.
1 5 Blue Book of Optometrists. 1958; 1960.
1 6 Blue Book of Optometrists. 1962; 1964.
1 7 Blue Book of Optometrists. 1966; 1968.
1 8 Blue Book of Optometrists. 1968; 1970.
1 9 Demars College of Optometry. Chicago (Ill.) 1974.
1 10 Doctor title for optometrists. 1921-1924.
1 11 Haisen, Ralph. Resolution; tribute. 1967.
1 12 House Resolution 118. Out of state optometrist licensing. 1971.
1 13 Michigan Optometric Association. Appreciation certificate. 1975.
1 14 Michigan Optometric Association. Awards. 1970.
Box Folder Contents
2 1 Michigan Optometric Association. Correspondence. 1970.
2 2 Michigan Optometric Association. Patient fee disputes. 1953.
2 3 Michigan Optometric Association. Statute rewrite committee. 1974.
2 4 Michigan Optometrist. 1967.
2 5 Michigan optometrists report re: numbers, exams. 1942; 1975.
2 6 Michigan Society of Optometrists. Correspondence. 1926-1927.
2 7 Michigan Society of Optometrists. Receipts. Eimer, Ernest. 1923-1926.
2 8 Monroe College of Optometry. Chicago (Ill.) 1945.
2 9 Northern Illinois College of Optometry. Chicago (Ill.)
2 10 Northern Illinois College of Optometry. Omega Delta fraternity. 1935-1971.
2 11 Northern Illinois College of Optometry. Wolverine Club. 1946-1954.
2 12 Optometry Weekly. 1925-1930.
2 13 Professional ethics. Correspondence. 1946-1948.
2 14 Reciprocity statement. Undated.
2 15 Society for the Conservation of Industrial Eyesight. 1927.
  16 Vision and Eye Care in Michigan. Report. 1974.

Series 2. Michigan State Board of Examiners Records. 1909-1975.

This series consists of 1.5 linear feet of the administrative files of the Michigan State Board of Examiners of Optometry. Howe served as secretary of the organization and records include correspondence, minutes, reports and court cases involving the association.

Materials are arranged alphabetically by subject and chronologically within a subject.

Box Folder Contents
2 17 Annual reports. 1941-1967.
2 18 Bayne Optical Inc. and Michigan Society of Opthamalic Dispensers vs. Michigan State Board of Examiners. 1973.
2 19 Bayne Optical Inc. and Michigan Society of Opthamalic Dispensers vs. Michigan State Board of Examiners. 1973.
2 20 Board membership 1909-1975.
2 21 Board appointments. 1969.
2 22 Certificate of registration. 1929-1975.
2 23 Equipment requirements. Correspondence. 1969.
2 24 Exam questions. 1917.
2 25 Feiler, Julian. Hearing. October 1955.
2 26 History written by Howe. Background research files. Undated.
2 27 Licensing procedures; optometrist shortage. 1970-1972.
2 28 Michigan's Need for an Optometry School. 1976.
2 29 Miliken, William. Governor of Michigan. Correspondence. 1973-1976.
2 30 Miliken, William. Governor of Michigan. Reports. 1971.
2 31 Minutes. Correspondence re: 1973.
Box Folder Contents
3 1 Minutes (bound). 1909-1936.
3 2 Minutes. 1939-1952.
3 3 Minutes. 1953-1957.
3 4 Minutes. 1958-1961.
3 5 Minutes. 1962-1966.
3 6 Minutes. 1967-1969.
3 7 Minutes. 1969-1971.
3 8 Monroe College of Optometry (Chicago, Ill.) vs. State Board of Examiners. 1943-1948.
3 9 Procedure manual. Undated.
3 10 Reitholz, Benjamin. 1955-1960.
3 11 Reitholz, Benjamin. 1955-1960.
3 12 Reports. 1909-1964.
3 13 Resignation letter. 1961.
3 14 Sanchik, Edwin L. vs. State Board of Examiners. 1954-1963.
3 15 Sanchick, Edwin L. vs. State Board of Examiners 1954-1963.
3 16 Sanchick, Edwin L. vs. State Board of Examiners. 1954-1963.
3 17 Scholler, Peter. 1939-1940.
3 18 State investigation into Board of Examiners. 1954.
3 19 State of Michigan. Auditor General. Correspondence; reports. 1941-1967.

Series 3. Memorabilia.

This series consists of 1 linear foot of textbooks/ objects and tools used by Chauncey J. Howe. Tools include eyeglasses and texts used while an optometry student.

The objects are in a single box

Box Folder Contents
4 1 Textbooks belonging to Chauncey Howe.
4 1 Eyeglasses.
4 1 Fitting set.
4 1 Interpupillary distance tester.
4 1 Light plug.
4 1 Measuring scales.
4 1 Podium.
Cabinet   Certificates.