Archbishop Howard served for decades in Oregon
By Barb Arland-Fye
A portrait of the Davenport Diocese’s only auxiliary bishop, Edward Howard, who served more than 80 years ago, now hangs among portraits of the eight other bishops who’ve served the diocese.
After the other bishops’ portraits were hung following renovation of the chancery, diocesan leaders realized they were missing Bishop Howard’s portrait. Perhaps there hadn’t been time for him to sit for one.
Appointed in 1924 to assist Bishop James Davis, who was in declining health, Bishop Howard received an appointment two years later to serve as archbishop of the Diocese of Oregon City, Oregon (now Diocese of Portland). Archbishop Howard served in Portland for 40 years, from 1926-1966, and died at the age of 105, the oldest prelate in the world, according to the archdiocese’s website.
Father George McDaniel, chancellor and archivist for the Davenport Diocese, contacted the Portland Archdiocese about obtaining an early portrait of Archbishop Howard. Daniel Haskins, the archdiocese’s archives records manager, found a colorized print portrait in storage that may have been produced shortly after Archbishop Howard arrived in 1926. But that’s a guesstimate because no identifying information appears on the portrait. “It looks early on, judging from his appearance,” Haskins said. “It’s a great portrait.”
At Fr. McDaniel’s request, Haskins took the portrait to Jim Dittmer at JDA Creative Services in Portland to reproduce it for the Davenport Diocese. “Our part was to re-create the existing art,” Dittmer said. That was accomplished with a high-resolution scanning camera and a process called “giclée,” which creates a fine-art digital print made with ink jet printing on archival paper. “This kind of reproduction work is almost industrial, but it takes an artist’s eye looking at the image to make sure the colors turn out right,” Dittmer said.
The reproduction — 32 inches long and 24 inches wide, framed — is slightly smaller than the original in order to dovetail with the portraits of Archbishop Howard’s brother bishops in Davenport.
Archbishop Howard distinguished himself throughout life. Born in 1877 in Cresco, Iowa, he was ordained a priest in 1906, taught Greek and Latin in the high school at St. Joseph (now Loras) College in Dubuque, became its principal and then dean of the college. He served as dean from 1920-24 before his appointment as auxiliary bishop of the Davenport Diocese.
“Bishop Howard’s administrative talents did not go unobserved, and he was promoted once again, to the Metropolitan See of Oregon City on April 30, 1926,” states the Portland Archdiocese website. “He was installed in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (known as St. Mary’s) in Portland on Aug. 25, 1926, having made the journey west by rail in the company of his devoted mother.”
Made an archbishop a month later, he went on to centralize archdiocesan government, secured the archdiocesan newspaper from private ownership and succeeded in establishing a Catholic high school toward the end of the Depression. On May 2, 1939, Pope Pius XII named Archbishop Howard as an assistant at the Pontifical throne. The archbishop later attended the Second Vatican Council in Rome.
“Howard never forgot his brief service as Auxiliary Bishop of Davenport,” Fr. McDaniel said. “In November 1977, Bishop Gerald O’Keefe traveled to Oregon to help celebrate the 100th birthday of Archbishop Howard. Upon his return to Davenport, Bishop O’Keefe received a note from Archbishop Howard, ‘It is a great joy for me to recall the years it was my good fortune to spend in the Diocese of Davenport. The priests and the people of that area were kind and gracious to me and it is a joy for me to relive in memory my years there.’”
Bishops who have served the Davenport Diocese
Portraits of nine bishops hang on a wall on the third floor of the Davenport Diocese headquarters in Davenport. The bishops and the dates they served:
Bishop John McMullen, 1881-1883
Bishop Henry Cosgrove, 1884-1906
Bishop James Davis, 1906-1926
Bishop Edward Howard, auxiliary bishop, 1924-1926
Bishop Henry Rohlman, 1927-1944
Bishop Ralph Hayes, 1945-1966
Bishop Gerald O’Keefe, 1967-1993
Bishop William Franklin, 1994-2006
Bishop Martin Amos, 2006 –
Company glad to get photos
Jim Dittmer of JDA Creative Services in Portland, Oregon, was delighted to receive photographs of a portrait of Archbishop Edward Howard that his business reproduced for the Diocese of Davenport, where the archbishop had served as an auxiliary bishop many years ago.
On his blog, Dittmer wrote: “I was happy to hear from Fr. George McDaniel recently in regards to a portrait of the late Archbishop Howard that we photographed and reproduced on behalf of the Catholic Diocese in Iowa. He was kind enough to send along some pictures of the installation! As we don’t often get to see where our work ends up in its final form, I thought I’d share it with you!”