Nowadays, when I receive a new issue of the MBSI's "Mechanical Music"
or the COAA's "Carousel Organ" or AMICA's "AMICA Journal," I always
turn to the obituaries and in memoriam section to find out what people
I used to know are now gone.
This month it was Richard James Howe, PhD, the Texas oil magnate and
avid collector of mechanical music instruments and literature about
them. By the end of his life Dick Howe (as I and others knew him)
had assembled the world's largest collection of mechanical music
literature, which he donated to Stanford University, after considerable
consideration and planning, so as to prevent it from disappearing into
a "black hole" as he had seen other such collections disappear.
Dick Howe died March 20, 2018. He was one of the prime movers
in the publication of Charles Davis Smith's 1994 magnum opus, "The
Welte-Mignon: Its Music And Musicians," published by the Vestal Press
for the Automatic Musical Instrument Collectors' Association.
After Charles Davis Smith was unable to complete the editing and
assembly of his manuscript (which I was involved in for many months at
its early stage, being a more library- and computer-savvy person than
Charles) because of his age and health, Dick Howe stepped in to compete
the task, using the secretarial resources given him by Pennzoil as part
of his retirement golden parachute agreement.
Those were the days!
Irondequoit, New York