Passionate book collector and longtime library employee leaves $500,000 legacy to USM

Albert A. HowardIn 2018, the University of Southern Maine received a $500,000 legacy gift to its prestigious Special Collections at the Glickman Family Library from Albert A. Howard, a collector of rare books. Before his death in 2017, Howard served 35 years in the halls of the USM Libraries.

“The significance of gifts such as Albert’s most generous bequest cannot be stated strongly enough,” USM President Glenn Cummings said. “The faith that our alumni, former staff and faculty, and corporate partners from the community have shown through their charitable giving, illustrates their confidence in USM’s ability to provide an outstanding educational experience for the students of Maine and beyond.”

To say Howard loved books would be an understatement. A lifetime book collector, he began his library career at Brown University, serving from 1953-1965. From there, he cataloged rare books at Colby College and Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia before coming to USM.

Howard’s collection of 1,670 volumes is considered “priceless.”

Although Brown and Yale have such collections, Howard left the collection to USM because he felt that here, the collection would better serve the students, the university and the community.

USM Provost Jeannine Uzzi lauded Howard’s selection of USM Libraries to house the collection.

“The Albert Howard Collection includes a wide array of rare and historical texts of a quality ordinarily housed only at the most elite universities,” Uzzi said. “At USM, students from every corner of the state work directly with these special texts to learn about language, art history, and the history of publishing, writing and the book.”