D. Roger Howlett ’66, left Hamilton to go east, to Cooperstown where he completed a master’s degree in Museum Studies and Folk Life History with the SUNY Cooperstown program. He continued east to New Haven, where he became a staff member of the Garvan Collection at the Yale University Art Gallery. After entering a PhD Program at Yale, he was offered a job in Boston and so went east again. He became an assistant at the Childs Gallery on Newbury St. in 1970, a partner and Vice President in 1972, President and sole owner in 1983 and gave the gallery and his title to two employees in 2009. They graciously appointed Roger “Senior Research Fellow.”
Senior Research Fellows do pretty much what they want, and Roger has been doing a lot of it. He is Chairman of the Program Committee at the venerable St. Botolph Club. As their impresario, he organizes more than 100 events each year in music, science, literature, history, and fine arts.
After the death of his youngest brother, David, in 2011, Roger became responsible for care and maintenance of the family farm in the town of Eaton, Madison County, N.Y. Although this is a seasonal farm and is “asleep” in the winter, the opening, gardening, logging, beekeeping, scraping, painting, rebuilding, and closing the farmhouse keep Roger busy.
Since 1974, Roger has maintained an apartment in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He purchased his current apartment in Old San Juan in 1979. He claims it has “the second most beautiful view in the world.”
While at Hamilton, Roger made beer and pizza money from the sale of small watercolors (mostly of the Hamilton College Chapel). He continues to do watercolors today. He has had two one-man exhibitions at the St. Botolph Club and participates in group shows at the Boston Athenaeum and the St. Botolph Club. Not selling watercolors these days for beer money, he has taken up home brewing to fill the gap.
Roger is the author of four books and numerous museum exhibition catalogues and journal articles. He has lectured extensively on American art.
Today, Roger cannot continue to go east without crossing the ocean. Although he often traveled to Europe for business and pleasure while president of Childs Gallery, the trips have increased in number and duration since he became Senior Research Fellow.
Roger is or has been a member of many arts organizations, having served as trustee of the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, a Proprietor of the Boston Athenaeum, and, since 2005, an elected Fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society. He is also a member of the Society for Propagating the Gospel among the Indians and Others in North America (1787); the Society granted money to Samuel Kirkland to help establish Hamilton in the 1790s. The Society has continued this relationship with recent grants.