Howard Austin touched many lives; most of whom are no longer with us. To give you some insight into who this man was, we've collected an assortment of personal observations and news articles for your view.
Since this is a new section to this web site, it will grow as we add more documents. Please enjoy and return to this page often to view updates.
Poet Laureates Named
It was Governor Henry Horner who designated the first Poet Laureate of Illinois. It was Howard's fondness for that Governor, that caused him to write the poem "Be It Resolved" for presentation to a Democratic Women's convention.
Governor Horner had always enjoyed Howard's poems; especially those poking fun at him or his administration. The above poem convinced him that this was a very gifted man, and deserved to be honored as such. He did so by designating him as Poet Laureate of Illinois. On January 14, 1936 one newspaper published the above poem in their article "Horner Names Austin State Poet Laureate After Latter Calls on Him to Take a Wife". Another included the wording of the designation certificate in their report of the honor.
Twenty six years later, a month before Howard succumbed to cancer, a news item was published when Carl Sandburg received that honor. It showed Howard examining his album with many photographs, clippings, and letters that he had collected throughout his exciting career.
Shortly after the death of Carl Sandburg in 1968, Gwendolyn Brooks was designated Poet Laureate of Illinois. After she died of cancer in December of the year 2000, The State Journal-Register published an article correcting an error often made by the press.
Unfortunately, in 1962 when a Governor Kerner aid was being interviewed about Carl Sandburg receiving the honor, he/she was quoted as saying "as far as is known" Sandburg was the first. That was, perhaps, due to the passing of 26 years since Howard received that honor.
Under the leadership of Kenneth Clarke, Executive Director of The Poetry Center of Chicago, an effort was launched to set guidelines to allow more authors gifted with poetic skills to be recognized. That dream became a reality when Governor Blagojevich set forth new guidelines in a news release on June 6, 2003. With today's technology, and shorter terms, it is hoped all those honored with the Poet Laureate of Illinois title will always be remembered for their rich contribution to our heritage in this great land.
During the 1930's and 1940's Howard Austin's name was well known throughout Illinois and surrounding states. Some are shown in the clippings page.
Howard's daughter, Betty Ruth, reflects on her thoughts in "MY DAD".
Howard's second son, William Roger, writes about his Dad.