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A Guide to the Papers of Nathaniel Howell, Howell, Nathaniel, Papers of 12815 -c

A Guide to the Papers of Nathaniel Howell,

A Collection in
Special Collections
The University of Virginia Library
Accession Number 12815 -c


Special Collections, University of Virginia Library

Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, Virginia 22904-4110
Phone: (434) 243-1776
Fax: (434) 924-4968
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© 2008 By the Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. All rights reserved.

Processed by: Special Collections Staff

Special Collections, University of Virginia Library
Accession Number
12815 -c
Papers of Nathaniel Howell
Physical Characteristics

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

See the University of Virginia Library’s use policy.

Preferred Citation

Papers of Nathaniel Howell, Accession #12815 -c, Special Collections, University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.

Acquisition Information

These papers were given to the University of Virginia Library by W. Nathaniel Howell, Director of the Arabian Peninsula and Studies Program, University of Virginia, on August 25, 2005.

Biographical/Historical Information

Nathaniel Howell was born in Portsmouth, Virginia, on September 14, 1939, to Wilson Nathaniel Howell, Sr. (1909-1982) and Josephine E. Howell. He attended Norfolk County schools including Churchland High School, Norfolk, Virginia, where he graduated in 1957. Howell then attended the University of Virginia, receiving a B.A. degree in Foreign Affairs with Honors in 1961 and a Ph.D. in Foreign Affairs in 1965. At the University, he also served as a part-time instructor in the Woodrow Wilson Department of Government and Foreign Affairs, 1964-1965.

Howell entered the Foreign Service in 1965, attending the State Department Foreign Service Institute's Basic Foreign Officers' Course from August through October, 1965 as part of the 68th Class. He first served abroad in Cairo, 1966-1967 as the Executive Assistant to the Ambassador. He was then assigned to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in Paris and Brussels, Belgium, as a Political Officer with the U.S. Mission (1967-1968) and in the Department as Egyptian Analyst in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (1968-1970). After completion of his Arabic language study at the Foreign Service Institute in Beirut, Howell became the Deputy Principal Officer and Chief of the Economic/Commercial Section in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (1972-1974) before his return to Beirut as Political Officer (1974-1976). Beginning in 1976, Howell served as Country Officer for Lebanon, Deputy Director of the Office of Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria Affairs (NEA/ARN), 1977-1979, and Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State for Near East and South Asian Affairs.

Beginning in 1980, he served as the Director of the Office of Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria Affairs (NEA/ARN) in the Department of State. He left in July 1982 to attend the National War College in Washington, D.C. where he co-authored an award-winning strategy essay. In August 1983, he assumed his position as Deputy Chief of Mission in Algiers, where he remained until August 1985. Following his service in Algiers, Howell became Political Advisor (POLAD to the Commander-in-Chief, Central Command (USCENTCOM), McDill Air Force Base, Florida. Howell served as Ambassador to Kuwait 1987 August until December of 1990, during the time of the Iraqi Invasion. Howell and Roberta Culbertson have written a book about that arduous time in his career, called Siege.

Howell retired from the Foreign Service of the United States in December 1992. During 1991-1992, he was assigned to the University of Virginia as Diplomat-in-Residence in the Woodrow Wilson Department of Government and Foreign Affairs. Howell became the John Minor Maury Jr. Professor of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia, where he also serves as the Director of the Institute for Global Policy Research and the Arabian Peninsula and Gulf Studies Program.

Nathaniel Howell has been awarded the Department of State Superior Honor Award (1967), the Meritorious Honor Award (1976), the Secretary of State Award for Valor (1977 and 1991), the Presidential Meritorious Service Award for members of the Senior Foreign Service (1991), and the Secretary of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Medal (1988). In 1992, he was awarded the Kuwait Decoration with Sash of the First Class by the Amir of Kuwait for his actions during and after the Iraqi invasion. He married Margie Anne Saunders and they had two sons.

Scope and Content

This collection consists of the papers of U.S. Ambassador W. Nathaniel Howell, 1956-2004, ca. 2,685 items (10 boxes, ca. 5 linear feet) and chiefly contain activities and correspondence files from his tenure at the University of Virginia, 1992-1999. His foreign service papers include daily calendars, 1979-1989; speeches and public statements; photographs from diplomatic receptions in Kuwait, photographs of Beirut during the Lebanese Civil War, 1975-1976, and photographs of activities at the U.S. embassy during the Iraqi occupation, 1990-1991.

The papers also contain two audiocassettes taped shortly after Howell returned from the 1991 siege of the U. S. embassy in Kuwait. An interview and a global press conference with KQV news in Pittsburgh discuss the siege, Saddam Hussein, and the future of Kuwait. At the Highlands International Issues Forum he discusses ethnic and religious conflicts in the Middle East; cyclical religious fundamentalism; nomads versus city dwellers; Kurds; Saddam Hussein and the invasion of Kuwait; the interests of the U.S. in Israel, the prevention of conflict, and oil access; and the goals of the U.S. in the Gulf War .

The papers also contain videocassettes of interviews including a March 2005 episode of the TV show "Tout en Français" in which Howell as Director of the Institute for Global Research Policy discuss the twinning of Charlottesville with a French city; an untitled video contain a 2003 interview with Kuwaiti businessman Aadul Husain Marafie; and "What's at stake?" a Virginia Currents election special, October 2004, discussing key political issues, particularly Iraq.

In addition there are calling cards; photographs of family trips, 1975 and 2001, and of student days at the University of Virginia.


This collection is arranged in three series: Series I: Activities/Correspondence and Topical Files (Boxes 1-6); Series II: Memoranda Books (Box 6); and Series III: Photographs and Photograph Albums (Boxes 7-10). Folders are arranged alphabetically by heading within each series and then by date within folders.

Contents List

Series I: Activities/Correspondence and Topical Files
  • Box-folder 1:1
    Activities/ Correspondence, 1990 August-1991 January
  • Box-folder 1:2
    Activities/ Correspondence, 1991 February
  • Box-folder 1:3
    Activities/ Correspondence, 1991 March - April 17
  • Box-folder 1:4
    Activities/ Correspondence, 1991 April 18 - May 10
  • Box-folder 1:5
    Activities/ Correspondence, 1991 May 13 - June 28
  • Box-folder 1:6
    Activities/ Correspondence, 1991 July 5 - December
  • Box-folder 2:1
    Activities/ Correspondence, 1992 January - February
  • Box-folder 2:2
    Activities/ Correspondence, 1992 March - June 11
  • Box-folder 2:3
    Activities/ Correspondence, 1992 June 17 - December
  • Box-folder 2:4
    Activities/ Correspondence, 1993 January - February 22
  • Box-folder 2:5
    Activities/ Correspondence, 1993 February 25-May 8
  • Box-folder 2:6
    Activities/ Correspondence, 1993 May 12-December
  • Box-folder 2:7
    Activities/ Correspondence, 1994 January - May
  • Box-folder 3:1
    Activities/ Correspondence, 1994 June-December
  • Box-folder 3:2
    Activities/ Correspondence, 1995 January - May
  • Box-folder 3:3
    Activities/ Correspondence, 1995 June-December
  • Box-folder 3:4
    Activities/ Correspondence, 1996 January -August
  • Box-folder 3:5
    Activities/ Correspondence, 1996 September-1997 April
  • Box-folder 3:6
    Activities/ Correspondence, 1997 May-1998 February
  • Box-folder 4:1
    Activities/ Correspondence, 1998 March - December
  • Box-folder 4:2
    Activities/ Correspondence, 1999 January - December
  • Box-folder 4:3
    Activities/Correspondence, n.d.
  • Box-folder 4:4
    Activities/Correspondence at the University of Virginia, 1991 February-1992 October
  • Box-folder 4:5
    Activities/Correspondence at the University of Virginia, 1993 February-1999 December
  • Box-folder 4:6
    Address Book, 1991
  • Box-folder 4:7
    Address Book, 1992
  • Box-folder 4:8
    Address to American Muslims, 1985 December 4
  • Box-folder 4:9
    Arabian Peninsula and Gulf Studies Program (APAG) Annual Report, 1995-1997
  • Box-folder 4:10
    Article from the Jerusalem Post, 1979 May 27
  • Box-folder 5:1
    Birthday Cards, 1991-1995
  • Box-folder 5:2
    Birthday Cards, 1996-1998
  • Box-folder 5:3
    Correspondence Regarding Continuing Education, 1995 September -1999 August
  • Box-folder 5:4
    Correspondence with Ghulam Haider, 1991-1998
  • Box-folder 5:5
    Correspondence with the Gulf Cooperation Project, 1991 November-1993 October
  • Box-folder 5:6
    Correspondence with the Jefferson Scholars Committee, 1995 June-1999 May
  • Box-folder 5:7
    Correspondence with Monticello, 1997
  • Box-folder 5:8
    Correspondence with the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations, 1996
  • Box-folder 5:9
    Correspondence with the National Defense University, 1995 November-1997 January
  • Box-folder 5:10
    Correspondence with Roanoke County Schools, 1995-1997
  • Box-folder 5:11
    Correspondence with Robert Johnson, 1991-1995
  • Box-folder 5:12
    Correspondence with the Undergraduate Admissions Committee, 1993-1995
  • Box-folder 5:13
    Correspondence with US Central Command (CENTCOM), 1997
  • Box-folder 5:14
    Diplomatic Contacts, A-D, Business Cards, n.d.
  • Box-folder 5:15
    Diplomatic Contacts, F-H, Business Cards, n.d.
  • Box-folder 5:16
    Diplomatic Contacts, I-L, Business Cards, n.d.
  • Box-folder 5:17
    Diplomatic Contacts, M-O, Business Cards, n.d.
  • Box-folder 5:18
    Diplomatic Contacts, P-Y, Business Cards, n.d.
  • Box-folder 6:1
    Documents related to the American Embassy in Kuwait, 1990-1993
  • Box-folder 6:2
    Invitations from the White House, 1991 - 2000
  • Box-folder 6:3
    Letter to the President of Israel, 1980 July 10
  • Box-folder 6:4
    Palestinian (PLO) Briefing, n.d.
  • Box-folder 6:5
    Peacekeeping Conference, 1997-1998
  • Box-folder 6:6
    Potentially Sensitive Words and Phrases to be avoided when addressing Israelis, n.d.
  • Box-folder 6:7
    Telegrams to the Department of State, 1978-1982
  • Box-folder 6:8
    The Jefferson Scholars Program Annual Report, 1998
  • Box-folder 6:9
    University of Virginia President's Report, 1997-1998
  • Box-folder 6:10
    Virginia: The University of Virginia Alumni News, 2002 Summer
Series II: Memoranda Books
  • Box-folder 6:11
    Office of Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria Affairs [NEA/ARN], 1979
  • Box-folder 6:12
    Office of Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria Affairs [NEA/ARN], 1980-1981 August 20
  • Box-folder 6:13
    Office of Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria Affairs [NEA/ARN], 1981 August 27-1982 June 22
  • Box-folder 6:14
    Embassy in Algiers, Algeria, 1983-1985 February 9
  • Box-folder 6:15
    Embassy in Algiers, Algeria, 1985 February 13 - August 11
  • Box-folder 6:16
    Embassy in Algiers, Algeria, 1985 February 23-June 16
  • Box-folder 6:17
    United States Central Command [USCENTCOM], 1986 January - April 15
  • Box-folder 6:18
    United States Central Command [USCENTCOM], 1986 July-September
  • Box-folder 6:19
    United States Central Command [USCENTCOM], 1986 October-December
  • Box-folder 6:20
    United States Central Command [USCENTCOM], 1987 January-March
  • Box-folder 6:21
    Embassy in Kuwait, 1987 September-1988 January
  • Box-folder 6:22
    Home-leave, 1989 August-September
  • Box-folder 6:23
    Russia Trip, n.d.
  • Box-folder 6:24
    Untitled Notes, n.d.
Series III: Photographs and Photograph Albums
  • Box-folder 7:1
    Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 1971-1972
  • Box-folder 7:2
    American College of Psychoanalysts, San Diego, 1997 May
  • Box-folder 7:3
    Arabian Peninsula and Gulf Studies Program [APAG] Gatherings, n.d.
  • Box-folder 7:4
    Beirut Civil War, 1975-76 [folder 1], 1975 July-1977
  • Box-folder 7:5
    Beirut Civil War, 1975-76 [folder 2], n.d.
  • Box-folder 7:6
    Cairo, 1966-1967
  • Box-folder 7:7
    Camp Kuwait Reunion, 1992 July
  • Box-folder 7:8
    Charleston, South Carolina Visit, 1998 November
  • Box-folder 7:9
    Churchland High [School?] Reunion Cruise, 1997 September
  • Box-folder 7:10
    Critical Incident Analysis Group Conference, 2003-2004
  • Box-folder 7:11
    Dated Photographs- Miscellaneous, 1989-2001
  • Box-folder 7:12
    Dinner at house of Dr. Mohd. Al-Nageeb in Kuwait, 1980s
  • Box-folder 7:13
    Enactment of Confederate South, n.d.
  • Box-folder 8:1
    Family Trip to Syria, Jordan, and Jerusalem, 1975 August
  • Box-folder 8:2
    Kuwait Diplomacy Institute, 1997
  • Box-folder 8:3
    Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Services, n.d.
  • Box-folder 8:4
    Kuwait Trip to Receive Decoration/ Reception, 1992
  • Box-folder 8:5
    Kuwait Visit to KU Handicapped Society, 1992
  • Box-folder 8:6
    Lithuania: Center for the Study of Mind and Human Interaction Project, 1992 April
  • Box-folder 8:7
    Meeting among Kuwaitis, Ambassador Grehm, and Ambassador Howell, n.d.
  • Box-folder 8:8
    National War College Homeroom, 1983
  • Box-folder 8:9
    Office Expansion and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony in Kuwait, 1989 November
  • Box-folder 8:10
    Peru Visit, 1998 April
  • Box-folder 8:11
    Photographs from the University of Virginia, 1960-1965
  • Box-folder 8:12
    Photographs from Diplomatic Functions, 1980-1987
  • Box-folder 8:13
    Photographs taken at the American Embassy in Kuwait during the Iraqi Occupation [folder 1of 3], 1990 August-December
  • Box-folder 9:1
    Photographs taken at the American Embassy in Kuwait during the Iraqi Occupation [folder 2 of 3], 1990 August-December
  • Box-folder 9:2
    Photographs taken at the American Embassy in Kuwait during the Iraqi Occupation [folder 3 of 3], 1990 August-December
  • Box-folder 9:3
    Photographs- Miscellaneous, n.d.
  • Box-folder 9:4
    Prom: Churchland High School, Norfolk County, 1956 Spring
  • Box-folder 9:5
    Qatar with President John Casteen, III, 1998 May
  • Box-folder 9:6
    Reception at the State Department, 1990 December
  • Box-folder 9:7
    Reception in the Embassy Garden in Kuwait, 1988 September 29
  • Box-folder 9:8
    Scrapbook on Hostage Situation in Kuwait, formally in a 3-ring binder and including copies of the Hostage Herald, 1990
  • Box-folder 9:9
    Signed Photograph of class in front of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, n.d.
  • Box-folder 9:10
    Sicily, Firenze, 1992
  • Box-folder 9:11
    Silver Seas Cruise to Middle East, 2001
  • Box-folder 9:12
    Trip to Kuwait, 1996
  • Box-folder 9:13
    Trip to Latvia, 1993
  • Box-folder 9:14
    Umm Qasn, Iraqi Port, 1992 July
  • Box-folder 9:15
    United States Central Command [USCENTCOM] Political Advisor [POLAD] in Dhofar, Oman 1988
  • Box-folder 9:16
    Visit to see MFA Sulaiman Majed Al-Shaheen, n.d.
  • Box-folder 9:17
    Visits with Kuwaitis, n.d.
  • Box-folder 10:1
    Photograph Album- Howell at the University of Virginia, 1957-1965
  • Box-folder 10:2
    Photograph Album - American Embassy in Cairo, where Howell served as the Executive Assistant to the Ambassador, 1966 - 1967
  • Oversize
    Photograph Album- Howell's Welcome Party to Kuwait, late 1980s
  • Box-folder 10:4
    Photograph Album- Howell's Visit to Kuwait to see the new F-18 A's, 1992 August
  • Box-folder 10:5
    Photograph Album- Mina Saud Briefing, n.d.