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Alleen Havens Howard 1909-2003


Posted By: Toni Sly (email)
Date: 1/4/2004 at 11:35:14

(Column in Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier?)
(Date? approximately 1977)

(A drawing by Herb Hake: Alleen recording at desk)

Alleen Howard
As reported by Herb Hake

If a plane roars overhead, or a siren screams on Eighteenth Street, or the telephone rings, Alleen stops the recorder, backs up the tape and starts over. She is recording a book for the blind, and there must be no extraneous noises to distract the listener's attention.

Alleen Havens was born in Boone, Iowa. After attending the public schools there, she went to ISTC and took a teaching job in Greeley, where she met Don Howard, the high school principal. Havens and Howard accepted offers of teaching positions in Lamont, where they were married. World War II separated the couple, and Alleen taught in Manchester while her husband was in the army. In 1947, Don joined the History staff at ISTC, and Alleen began her active public service in Cedar Falls.

During the past 30 years, she has been president of the Cedar Falls Woman's Club, Chapter R of PEO, and the Nineteenth Century Club. She has been a Girl Scout Leader, and has served on the Boards of the Goodwill Auxiliary, the Sartori Hospital Auxiliary, and as a volunteer probation officer in Judge Eastman's Municipal Court. She was also a member of the first Black Hawk County Crime Commission.

Her degree in Library Science sparked her interest in reading for the blind. Alleen sent an audition tape to the Library of the Iowa Commission for the Blind in Des Moines. The administrators of the Library liked her voice and her reading style, and they sent her the tapes on which to record her first book: "How to Use the Library."

Books for the blind are read as for a sighted person, but all pictures must be described, and unfamiliar words must be spelled out. Alleen spends from one to two hours per day on her reading. A book of two to three hundred pages is usually recorded in two or three months -- making allowances for retakes and corrections.

Alleen continues to be active in good works locally, but she feels a special satisfaction in extending her voice beyond the limits of Cedar Falls, and performing a service for people whom she may never see and who will never see her.

Bio. of Donald F. Howard

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