Fonds LA.SC115 - A.H. Howard fonds

Identity area

Reference code



A.H. Howard fonds


  • 1880-1914 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

15 sketchbooks
85 drawings
2 albums
1 portfolio
11 bookplates
9 die impressions
8 photographs
1 folder of textual records
1 certificate
1 diploma
1 microfilm reel

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Alfred Harold Howard (1854–1916) was a British Canadian graphic artist, calligrapher and decorative designer in Toronto in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Born in Liverpool, England, he apprenticed as a lithographer with the Liverpool branch of the firm Maclure, Macdonald and Macgregor. In 1876 he immigrated to Canada and eventually opened an office of graphic design in the Temple Building in downtown Toronto. He received the Marquess of Lorne’s Medal for Design in 1881 and was made an academician of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 1883.
Howard’s commercial design work took the form of illuminated addresses of welcome, certificates and diplomas and addresses of condolence. In 1891 he produced the City of Toronto address of condolence presented to Lady Macdonald on the death of the Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald. Howard exhibited with the Ontario Society of Artists at their Applied Art Exhibition in 1900 and with the Canadian Society of Applied Art in 1905. He was a member of the Toronto Art Students’ League and the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto. When he died in Toronto in 1916 (26 February), the Art Museum of Toronto held a memorial exhibition of his work.
Howard’s artworks are in the collections of the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, the Toronto Reference Library, the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto and the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.

Archival history

The materials now constituting the A. H. Howard fonds, apart from the sketchbooks, were left unclaimed with the Art Museum of Toronto following its memorial exhibition for A. H. Howard in 1916. In 1921 they were given to the Museum, along with the sketchbooks, by the artist’s son, C.S. Howard. For several decades the materials were in the Canadian Historical Study Collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario. They were transferred to the AGO Research Library and Archives in 2007.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Gift of C.S (Clifford) Howard, the artist’s son, in 1921. — Miscellaneous items in series 5: Decorative designs and drawings were added to the fonds in 2010. — Microfilm reel (series 2 & 4) was deaccessioned from the Archives of Ontario in 2014 and transferred to the AGO.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Fonds consists of drawings, watercolours and designs of A. H. Howard produced in Toronto between 1880 and 1914, especially in the sketchbooks in which Howard drew Ontario landscapes and towns, flowers, trees, human figures, factory interiors and other subjects. Similar drawings and watercolours are contained in two albums and a portfolio. Also included are examples of his decorative and calligraphic work from illuminated presentation addresses, certificates, bookplates and other materials.
Contains series:

  1. Portfolio and albums
  2. Sketchbooks
  3. Decorative designs and drawings

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Open. Access to Special Collections is by appointment only. Please contact the reference desk for more information.

Conditions governing reproduction

Copyright has been transferred to the Art Gallery of Ontario.
Material in this fonds is in the public domain. Permission of the Art Gallery of Ontario is required for publication.

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Some materials are brittle and fragile.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Presentation books designed by A. H. Howard are in the United Church Archives at the University of Toronto and in the City of Toronto Archives.

Bookplates by A. H. Howard are in the Canadian Bookplate Collection (LA.SC020). — Presentation books designed by Howard are in the Grange collection. — Books (2) from the library of A. H. Howard are in the main collection of the AGO Research Library and Archives.

Related descriptions

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

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Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Art Gallery of Ontario

Rules and/or conventions used



Level of detail


Dates of creation revision deletion

August 9, 2013. Revised August 29, 2014, to reflect accrual of microfilm from Archives of Ontario.


  • English



Archivist's note

Prepared by Amy Marshall Furness with Gary Fitzgibbon, 2010, revised 2014.
Uploaded and adapted by Nirvana Chainani, 2019.

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