Born in Shanghai of American parents, Marvine Henrietta Howe had desired to return to her home country from a young age. Having traveled between the United States and Europe since the age of six, she ultimately realized she could return to China through a career in journalism. She did get back to China in the late 1980s, reporting to The New York Times on a visit by the Chinese-American deputy police commissioner and his family. A freelance writer since retiring from The New York Times in 1995, she began her professional career as a news broadcaster at Radio Maroc in Rabat, Morocco, in 1951, remaining in this position for four years while also contributing to the British Broadcasting Corp. between 1952 and 1955. Ms. Howe then served as a part-time reporter for Time-Life and The New York Times between 1956 and 1971, reporting from Algiers, Algeria; Rabat, Morocco; and Lisbon, Portugal. During this time, she contributed to McGraw-Hill World News for four years.
When the New York Times accepted women on the foreign staff for the first time, Ms. Howe began working full-time for The New York Times as a bureau chief in Rio de Janeiro from 1972 to 1975 before briefly returning to serve as a correspondent between Portugal and Angola for one year. She then served the publication as bureau chief in Beirut from 1977 to 1980; Ankara, Turkey, from 1980 to 1984; and Athens, Greece, in 1984. Arriving in the United States, Ms. Howe most recently served The New York Times as a Metropolitan staff reporter in New York for one decade. Prior to the start of her career, she matriculated in the School of Journalism at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, obtaining a Bachelor of Letters in 1950.
In addition to this tenure, Ms. Howe was a lecturer at the French school in Fez, Morocco, from 1950 to 1951, in University Center, Virginia, in 1959, and in the Journalism and Media Studies Department of the Rutgers School of Communication and Information in 1991. She also served as a delegate at the International Women’s Media Conference in Washington in 1986. An Adalaide Zagoren fellow of Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey in 1991, Ms. Howe considers journalism her entire life. She ultimately chose not to marry as no accessible person appeared in her life who could distract her from her profession. Overall, she desires to be remembered as a human being, not specifically as an American, woman, or journalist.
As a writer, Ms. Howe has authored multiple books on Muslim culture: “The Prince and I” or “One Woman’s Morocco” in 1956, “Turkey Today: A Nation Divided Over Islam’s Revival” in 2000, “Morocco: The Islamist Awakening and Other Challenges” in 2005, and “Al-Andalus Rediscovered – Iberia’s New Muslims” in 2012. Additionally, she has contributed numerous travel articles to guidebooks, as well as articles to professional journals such as The Monitor, Scholastic, the Middle East Journal, The Nation, New Republic, the Africa Report, the International Herald Tribune, the World Policy Journal, and the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.
A recipient of the Poetry Award from Douglass College in 1950, Ms. Howe has maintained involvement with numerous related organizations including the American Association of University Women, the Society of Silurians, and the Lisbon Foreign Press Association. Now in retirement from daily journalism, she resides half the year in Virginia, where she enjoys the benefits of a small university town. She also keeps an overseas base in Portugal and is currently working on a book on the Algerian Resistance. She been known to enjoy theater, classical music, ballet and traveling. Ms. Howe is thankful for all the support she received from her family and mentors throughout the years. She attributes much of her success to her immediate boss, Tom Brady, who inspired her and gave her a chance and many pointers. Her main inspiration came from her mother, who was a talented writer, painter and dancer. She also credits her brother, who was a lawyer, and her father and grandfather, who were both chemists.
When she first started in journalism, Ms. Howe was determined to travel overseas and defy the odds, as most women at the time were not given the opportunity to. After getting involved with the independence movements in North Africa, she was able to break through the back door of the industry, whereas many women were not put onto the staff until 1972. Ms. Howe’s most memorable moments thus far have been learning and meeting new people; for her, her education has been a constant journey.