John Mead Howells, an American architect and architectural historian, was the son of the novelist William Dean Howells and Elinor Mead. His sister Mildred Howells was a painter and poet.
Howells studied architecture at Harvard University from 1891 to 1894 and at the École des Beaux-Arts from 1895 to 1897. In 1897 he formed a partnership in New York with I. N. Phelps Stokes whom he had met in Paris.
Whistler was in correspondence with Howells from 1891 to 1895. In 1891 Whistler was encouraged by Howells, John Sargent and E. A. Abbey to submit a design for the decoration of a panel for Bates Hall. W. D. Howells, perhaps with his daughter, visited Whistler early in 1894. Either then, or later in the year whilst Mildred was visiting her brother, Whistler drew her portrait, A Portrait: Mildred Howells c112. Howells was then living very close to the Whistler residence at 110 rue du Bac.
Howells, J. M., The Verticality of the Skyscraper, New York, 1928; Howells, J. M., Lost Examples of Colonial Architecture, New York, 1931; Howells, J. M., The Architectural Heritage of the Piscataqua, New York, 1937; Howells, J. M., Works, New York, 1938; 'John Mead Howells', The Grove Dictionary of Art Online, ed. L. Macy, http://www.groveart.com (accessed 12 April 2002).