For preservation purposes, patrons must use digital copies in place of the original recordings.Use Restrictions
There are no restrictions.Preferred Citation
Henry Howell Audiovisual Collection, 1969-1977. Accession 42931. Personal papers records collection, The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia.Acquisition Information
This collection, donated by Norfolk Public Library (Kirn Library, Sargeant Memorial Room Norfolk, Virginia 23510), is a gift to the Library of Virginia.Alternative Form Available
Digital audio compact discs, VHS videocassette, and DVDs of files are available. Digital transfer (audio files in .WAV format, video in .MPEG 2 - MPEG-2) produced from original tapes in 2007.Descriptive Summary
This collection includes promotional audio and video clips created as part of Henry Howell's campaigns for the Virginia governorship in 1969, 1973, and 1977. Included are radio and television advertisements, speeches, and scripted television broadcasts.Biographical Information
Henry Howell was born in Ghent, a suburb of Norfolk, Virginia, on 5 September 1920. Following his graduation from high school, Howell attended the Norfolk division of the College of William and Mary (now Old Dominion University) for two years before transferring to the University of Virginia. Upon completion of a year of study there, he entered the University of Virginia law school graduating in 1943. Following brief tenures practicing law in West Palm Beach, Florida, and as a law clerk serving federal judges in Norfolk, he opened up his first law practice in partnership with Arthur Jett (Jett, Sykes, Howell) in 1950. In 1959, Howell left the firm but remained in Norfolk as a founding partner in a new law practice (Howell, Anninos, and Daugherty). He married Elizabeth McCarty of Portsmouth and the couple eventually had three children.
Howell began his career in politics as a campaign worker in the Democratic primary supporting Colonel Francis Pickens Miller's 1949 bid for governor of Virginia against John S. Battle. He later served as campaign co-manager in Norfolk during Miller's 1952 senatorial primary against Harry F. Byrd Sr. A candidate in 17 primary elections and 6 statewide campaigns, Howell first sought political office in 1953 but failed to capture the Democratic nomination for one of Norfolk's seats in the House of Delegates. In the years following that first unsuccessful campaign, Howell established himself on Virginia's political landscape and campaigned successfully as a Democrat for the House of Delegates in 1959 and 1963, the State Senate in 1965 and 1967 and, following the untimely death of J. Sergeant Reynolds, as an Independent in the 1971 special election to finish Reynolds' lieutenant governor term.
A fiery populist, Howell also made three attempts to win the Virginia governorship. His first campaign failed to secure the 1969 Democratic nomination as he narrowly lost to William C. Battle, the son of former governor John S. Battle. Undaunted by the loss, Howell continued to speak out against what he and others perceived as injustice. With his unwavering support of civil rights issues that appealed to black voters as well as promises to help the middle class through the reduction of taxes and fees on common items such as food and power, Howell managed to build a coalition of voters that had never existed before in Virginia politics. He succinctly put his message out to voters by introducing simple and catchy slogans into his campaigns such as "Keep the Big Boys Honest" and showed open disdain for the influence of the Byrd Machine on Virginia politics by stating "Get Virginia out of the 'Byrd' Cage." In conjunction with the clever slogans and traditional politics including rallies and road trips, Howell also augmented his message by means of television and radio broadcasts that included scripted town hall meetings, interviews and commercials featuring Virginians voicing support for his ideas.
Falling short of his goal in 1969, Howell's gubernatorial campaigns in the 1970's were much more successful. His second attempt in 1973 brought him closest to the governorship. With the Democrats not fielding a candidate, Howell ran as an Independent against former governor Miles Godwin, a conservative Democrat campaigning on the Republican ticket. Backed by organized labor, blacks, urban and suburban liberals, and a large youth contingent, Howell took the lead in the early polling before Godwin surged ahead for good in the final weeks before the election. The final outcome was determined by less than 15,000 votes.
His third and final attempt at the governorship came in 1977. Although being outspent 3-to-1, he managed to narrowly defeat Andrew Miller in the Democratic primary only to lose to Republican candidate John Dalton in the general election. The race was considered very close until the end with Howell capturing a respectable 43 percent of the vote. The 1977 race for governor was the final one of his political career. Following the campaign Howell retired from Virginia politics and returned once again to practice law in the Norfolk firm of Howell, Daugherty, Brown and Lawrence. Henry Howell died on 7 July 1997 from complications relating to cancer.Contents List