Jack Howard

Photo of Jack Howard

Jack Howard

Librarian - Retired, June 2015

Phone: 416.586.5718 ext.2


B.A., French, LeMoyne College, 1967
M.L.S., University of Toronto, 1973
M.A., Japanese Studies, University of Toronto, 1982

In 1977, Jack Howard joined the ROM as the librarian for Japanese materials in the historic H.H. Mu Far Eastern Library (founded 1933); in 1985, he became Head of that library.

Although Jack enjoys the responsibility for the library collections on the sixth floor of the Curatorial Centre (East Asia, West Asia and ancient Egypt), his abiding interest is the history of books, publishing and libraries in pre-modern Japan. Jack has spent time in Japan and Korea to gain a fuller appreciation of their rich cultures.

Jack has published articles on the history of the Far Eastern Library in Rotunda, the Bishop White Committee newsletter and elsewhere. Some of the Far Eastern Library's rare books have been exhibited at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto; Jack contributed the annotations for the exhibition catalogues.

The ROM has many rich programs for its members and visitors. Jack has been delighted to be part of talks on Bishop William Charles White for the Currelly Society and others, the ROM's popular Fact? or Fiction? fundraiser, as well as many more intimate gatherings, such as RPC and YPC Behind-the-Scenes where he showcases some of the Far Eastern Library's remarkable rare books.

One of Jack's favourite books in the Far Eastern Library is Nihon Mukashibanashi, or Tales of Old Japan. It is a 1971 reprint of a collection of small books first printed in 1903; the set includes twenty-four stories in four boxes, six stories in each box. These classic Japanese folktales that every Japanese boy and girl grew up with include: Peach Boy, Little Inchling, Tanuki, and Urashima Taro. It is one of the small treasures of the library.

Jack's avocation is storytelling, especially the traditional stories of Japan, Korea and China. In the 1990s he organised March Break and Halloween storytelling gatherings for ROM visitors (especially children). Jack and other storytellers told stories from around the world. He continues to tell traditional tales at the ROM and other venues, always well received by his listeners.