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Alice O. Howell papers

Identifier: SSC-MS-00660

Scope and Contents

Collection includes personal papers and materials pertaining to Howell's career as an astrologer and teacher and practitioner of Jungian cosmology/psychology: a lengthy oral history of Alice O. Howell conducted by Nancy Parker in July 2007 (audiorecording); teaching materials; published and recorded interviews with Howell; diaries; a written draft of her autobiography and other writings; extensive correspondence with colleagues, friends and students; publicity materials; subject files; and memorabilia.

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: 1930 - 2011


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

Alice O. Howell retains copyright to her unpublished works. Copyright to materials authored by others may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. Permission must be obtained to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use." It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Biographical / Historical

Alice Orcutt Howell was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the daughter of Penelope King and Reginald Wilson Orcutt. From the age of five, she lived abroad with her parents, traveling through thirty-seven countries on four continents by the age of eighteen. They lived in hotels and boarding schools, never staying more than three months in one place, and Howell became fluent in English, French, German and Italian. She earned a Deutsch Diploma at the Buser Institute in Switzerland with a major in German literature and a minor in World History, and later took postgraduate courses at the New York School for Social Research. Disillusioned with traditional Christianity and searching for spiritual meaning, beginning at age thirteen Howell read the holy books of many of the great religions, including the Bible, the Koran, the Upanishads, the Dhammapada, and the Tao Te Ching, as well as Greek and Norse mythology. She also studied the work of Jung, Freud, St. Ignatius and William James, as well as that of prominent astrologers. In 1944 she began a serious study of astrology under Marc Edmund Jones. She married Douglass Morse Howell and with him raised four children. She taught English and History in private schools on Long Island, New York for eighteen years, and also worked as a secretary to several people, including Norman Cousins, Editor of the Saturday Review of Literature, and Walter Russell, sculptor and physicist. During World War II, Howell worked in the U.S. Office of Censorship, censoring German and French mail in New York City.

Beginning in mid-life, Howell's interests in religion, astrology and psychology coalesced and her life took a different turn. Her most important professional contribution has been to "prove astrology a useful diagnostic adjunct to Jungian psychology", and for many years she taught the subject to analysts at the Jung Foundation and at the C. G. Jung Institutes in Chicago and Los Angeles. Howell has traveled the world, lectured widely, led many seminars, and is the author of nine books: Jungian Symbolism in Astrology (1987), Dove in the Stone: Finding the Sacred in the Commonplace (1988), Jungian Synchronicity in the Astrological Signs and Ages: Letters From An Astrologer (1990), How Like An Angel I Came Down: Conversations With Children on the Gospels (1991), Web in the Sea: Jung, Sophia, and the Geometry of the Soul (1993), Beejum book (2002), Lara's First Christmas (2004), Heavens Declare: Astrological Ages and the Evolution of Consciousness (2006), and From the Archives of the Heart: Collected Poems (2010). In 1980 she married her second husband, Walter A. Anderson, who died in 1998. Alice Howell died in Monterey, MA, on October 28, 2014.

[source: interview with Howell by Kate Scholly in the Dec/Jan 2009 issue of Mountain Astrologer]


18.647 linear feet (20 containers)


Teacher; Author; Astrologer. Collection includes personal papers and materials pertaining to Howell's career as an astrologer and teacher and practitioner of Jungian cosmology/psychology: a lengthy oral history; teaching materials; diaries; writings; correspondence; publicity materials; subject files; and memorabilia.


This collection has been added to over time in multiple "accessions." An accession is a group of materials received from the same source at approximately the same time.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Alice Howell, 2010-2012.

Existence and Location of Copies

The oral history interview has been digitized but is not available online. Please consult with Special Collections staff or email to request access to digital copies.

Processing Information

Accessioned by Kathleen Banks Nutter, 2010

Processing Information

Between September 2022 and February 2023, Smith College Special Collections renumbered many boxes to eliminate duplicate numbers within collections in order to improve researcher experience. A full crosswalk of old to new numbers is available.



Alice O. Howell papers
Finding Aid
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (
  • 2017-07-26T17:48:22-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
  • 2019-05-01: Added accession #10S-35
  • 2021-06-10: Added content listings from accession inventories.

Repository Details

Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063