Illinois Authors

The Illinois Center for the Book banner

Helen Howe

Born: 1927 in Mt. Vernon, Illinois
Died: October 1, 2013 in New Jersey

Pen Name: None

Connection to Illinois: Howe was born in Mt. Vernon and lived in Robinson for many years. She graduated from Lincoln Trail College in Robinson and Eastern Illinois University in Charleston. She also taught English at Lincoln Trail College.

Biography: Helen Howe was a published author and member of the James Jones Foundation and founding member of the James Jones Literary Society. She graduated from Lincoln Trail College in Robinson, Illinois with a B.A. in Linguistics and American Literature and from Eastern Illinois University and her Masters M.A. in English. She was English Professor and taught composition and creative writing at Lincoln Trail College for 14 years before retiring. Howe's husband, Sylvanus “Tinks” Howe, was a close childhood friend of Illinois author and actor, James Jones, and they were both instrumental in forming the James Jones Literary Society.Along with the book Howe wrote listed below, she also edited [ ''The Writings From the Handy Colony''] with George Hendrick and Don Sackrider.


Primary Literary Genre(s): Fiction; Non-Fiction

Primary Audience(s): Adult readers

Helen Howe on WorldCat :

Selected Titles

  James Jones and the Handy Writers' Colony
ISBN: 39015050546731 OCLC:

SIU Press 2001

This story of James Jones and the Handy Colony is a popular account of one of the most unusual writing colonies ever established in the United States. Between his Army enlistment in 1939 and the wound that sent him to a Memphis hospital in 1943, James Jones suffered the loss of both his mother and his father, a victim of suicide. Psychologically precarious, Jones drank heavily, often brawling in bars. Concerned about his erratic behavior, his aunt took Jones to meet Lowney Handy, who took virtual control of his life, securing his discharge from the army and, with her husband Harry, inviting him into their home. Lowney became Jones’s writing teacher—and his lover. An aspiring but unpublished writer when she began the Handy Writers’ Colony in Marshall, Illinois, Lowney Handy developed a reputation as an inspirational teacher of writing. Her husband, an oil refinery executive from nearby Robinson, supported her in this endeavor, which proved quite successful. The Handy colony achieved national attention through the success of Jones, its most celebrated member and the author of From Here to Eternity and Some Came Running.