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August 28, 1894: Publisher, Diplomat William Cooper Howells Dies at 87

e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

Publisher and diplomat William Cooper Howells died on August 28, 1894, at age 87.

The native of Wales emigrated as a child with his family to Wheeling.

At 21, Howells began working as an apprentice typesetter at the Virginia Statesman, a Wheeling newspaper. Before starting two Wheeling newspapers of his own, he worked at the print shop of Alexander Campbell, founder of Bethany College and the Disciples of Christ religious denomination.

In 1831, Howells was financially ruined after producing the book The Rise, Progress and Downfall of Aristocracy by Wheeling eccentric William Mathers, who failed to pay for the printing. Howells then worked at various newspapers in nearby Ohio before again launching papers of his own. He used his columns to support the abolition of slavery and equality for African-Americans.

Howells left Wheeling in 1834 and became active in Ohio politics. His early advocacy of future President James Garfield led to Howells being named U.S. consul at Quebec City and later Toronto. He retired from diplomacy in 1883.

He was the father of William Dean Howells, a noted author and editor of The Atlantic Monthly.

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