Perry H. Howard

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Perry Holbrook Howard​

(American sociologist and
Louisiana political researcher)​

Born February 7, 1922
Maine, USA
Died November 19, 2009 (aged 87)​
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Spouse Katie Parker Howard​

Rebecca Shieber
​ Brook Howard
​ Benjamin Howard (deceased)​ ​

Religion Unitarianism​

Perry Holbrook Howard (February 7, 1922 – November 19, 2009) was a sociologist known for his research in the field of Louisiana politics. He was a long-term professor at Louisiana State University in the capital city of Baton Rouge, from which he received his Ph.D. in 1954.​

Life and career

A native of Maine,[1] Howard served for three years in the United States Navy in the South West Pacific Theater of Operations during World War II. Thereafter, he attended Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 1964, he returned to LSU a decade after his graduation and remained on the faculty for nearly thirty years.[1]​ ​ In 1963, Howard joined William C. Havard and Rudolf Heberle in co-authorship of the work, The Louisiana Elections of 1960, which focuses on (1) the 1959–1960 gubernatorial campaign, won by Jimmie Davis for his second nonconsecutive term, and (2) the following presidential contest, in which John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson easily won Louisiana's then ten electoral votes. Topics covered include social and political background and socio-economic factors in voting. The authors determined, for instance, that Kennedy won in the state because he ran more strongly among the working class in South Louisiana, and Richard M. Nixon lost North Louisiana to Independent electors pledged to U.S. Senator Harry Flood Byrd, Sr. (1887-1966) of Virginia. Kennedy also ran considerably ahead of deLesseps Story "Chep" Morrison, Sr. (1912-1964), Davis's opponent in the gubernatorial runoff election among key Democratic constituency groups. The authors also found that several sugar-producing parishes in south Louisiana which had backed Dwight Eisenhower in 1956 switched to Kennedy-Johnson in 1960.[2]

Howard also studied Morrison's three gubernatorial campaigns, 1956, 1960, and 1964, from a sociological standpoint and found that the former New Orleans mayor improved his showing in each race but still fell short of victory, having been defeated by Earl Kemp Long, Jimmie Davis, and John J. McKeithen.[3]​ ​ In 1971, Howard published through LSU Political Tendencies in Louisiana, a 476-page scholarly study of his adopted state's political climate from statehood through 1970. Chapters include "Two-Party Politics, Louisiana Style, 1834–1852", "Another Look at Reconstruction," "The Rise of Longism," "The Long Era, Bifactional Politics, 1928–1956", and "The Issue of Civil Rights and Presidential Elections."[4]

In 1972, Howard wrote a review of Politics of Southern Equality: Law and Social Change in a Mississippi County (1970), by Frederick M. Wirt, an examination of how civil rights laws passed between 1957 and 1965 changed the political, social, and cultural fabric at the local level in Panola County, Mississippi.[5] In 1978, Howard published a review of John Dittmer's Black Georgia in the Progressive Era, 1900–1920, in which he noted that the spirit of the black community coupled with some interracial cooperation at the time provided the thrust for the later dismantlement of segregation.[6]

In 1975, Howard joined Mark Thomas Carleton (1935-1995) and Joseph B. Parker in the publication of the anthology, Readings in Louisiana Politics.[7]


Howard died at his Baton Rouge home at the age of eighty-seven. He was survived by his wife, the former Katie Parker; a son and his wife, Brook and Ann Howard, and their children, Caitlin, Chelsea, and Madeleine; a daughter and her husband, Rebecca and William Shieber, and their children, Driftwood and Alexander; a brother, Emery Howard; a sister, Carolyn Grant, and a brother-in-law and his wife, Joseph and Theresa Parker. He was preceded in death by a son, Benjamin Howard.

Howard was a member of the Unitarian Church in Baton Rouge, where a memorial service in his honor was held on January 9, 2010.[1]​ ​


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Perry Holbrook Howard. Retrieved on February 9, 201; no longer on-line..
  2. The Louisiana Elections of 1960. Retrieved on February 9, 2010.
  3. Mark Thomas Carleton. The Gubernatorial Campaigns of deLesseps S. Morrison. 34. jstor. pp. 261–270. 
  4. Political Tendencies in Louisiana. Retrieved on February 9, 2010; no longer on-line..
  5. Review of Politics of Southern Equality: Law and Social Change in a Mississippi County. 50. pp. 541–542. 
  6. Review of Black Georgia in the Progressive Era, 1900–1920. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 439, No. 1, 173 (1978). Retrieved on February 9, 2010; no longer on-line..
  7. Readings in Louisiana Politics. Ascension Parish Library in Donaldsonville. Retrieved on February 9, 2010; no longer on-line..

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