Howard Brode was born in Osceola, Illinois on August 28, 1866. He graduated from the University of Illinois where he continued to work in the zoology research lab. He married Martha Catherine Bigham (who went by Catherine) in Chatsworth, Illinois, on August 30, 1893. They had met in college where Catherine had been studying education. In 1896 he completed a Ph.D., in zoology, at the University of Chicago. After teaching at Beloit College, in Wisconsin, for three years he came to Whitman in the fall of 1899.When he came to Whitman he was the most highly educated faculty member and was appointed to be Professor of Natural Sciences.
Brode had a great influence during his time at Whitman. He was very involved with the science department as he taught General Biology, General Physiology, Sanitation and Hygiene, Embryology, Biology and Present Day Problems, Field and Experimental Biology, Anatomy and Histology, and Evolution. He served as the chairman of the natural sciences department and was a major advocate for funding, especially during the Great Depression. He was also the advisor of the pre-medical association, on the committee that selected members of Phi Beta Kappa, and the advisor of the biology club. As a long-standing member of the faculty he was in close contact with the presidents of the college. During his time at Whitman some significant changes included the construction of two brick buildings, the establishment of the endowment, the adoption of the major subjects system, and the expansion of the natural sciences department.
Brode was appointed to be the curator of the museum upon his arrival at Whitman in 1899. He collected items for the museum that would be of interest to people who studied the Bible, such as artifacts from Babylonian cities mentioned in the Bible. But the focus of the Whitman Museum was on early settlers to the Walla Walla Valley and regional history. He received many of the documents and artifacts for the museum from local residents. He helped with the class "History of the Pacific Northwest" in which students "were required to do considerable research and planning in order intelligently to handle the materials." These new exhibits (done in the museum's first year) added considerable value to the museum considering the lack of equipment and facilities. The class and project continued on after that first year.
For over thirty years Brode was superintendent of Sunday schools and also served as Clerk of the Church, Social Service Commissioner, Trustee, and Leader of Men's and Young Men's classes in the Walla Walla Christian community. He often lectured to the Farmers' Union and other groups introducing the new advances in biology such as the new Mendelian principles of heredity to the breeding of better crops, control of smut in wheat, insect control and meat and dairy inspection. He was a committed volunteer for the American Red Cross and member of the Anti-Tuberculosis League. He played a critical role in bringing the tuberculosis control and treatment center to the Walla Walla Valley. Within the community he was also a leader of the Naturalist's Club and a member of the Round Table (a men's discussion group). As a member of the Archaeological Society he was named an Institute Lecturer in the Archaeological Institute of America. Clearly he was a prominent figure in religious, cultural, social and educational activities in Walla Walla.
Howard and Catherine had four sons. Their oldest son, James Stanley (who went by Stanley), was born in 1895. They had triplets, Wallace, Robert and Malcolm, in 1900. All of their sons graduated from Whitman and went on to earn doctorate degrees and enjoyed distinguished careers. Dr. Wallace R. Brode was appointed to be the science advisor for the State Department in January of 1958. At that time, as president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, his main goal was to match Russian advances in science and technology. Wallace had been a chemistry professor at Ohio State University for twenty years prior. He was also president of the American Chemical Association during the Eisenhower presidency. J. Stanley taught in Pendleton for several years and then taught life sciences at Santa Monica City College for twenty years and was the committed community member to Santa Monica that his father was to Walla Walla. Malcolm was a naturalist and professor of biology. He died in 1943. Robert was a professor of physics at the University of California for almost 30 years.
Brode taught for almost forty years at Whitman and retired in 1936 as Professor Emeritus of Biology. He continued to work as the curator of the Whitman College museum until 1940 and then moved to California. He died on December 11, 1955 in Santa Monica, California. He had been living with his son Stanley since the death of his wife Catherine in 1946.
This collection documents the life and activities of Howard Stidham Brode who was a professor at Whitman College for 37 years and includes his involvement with the college, the Whitman College Museum, the Anti-Tuberculosis League, the American Red Cross, the Walla Walla Christian community, the Archaeological Institute of America, the Smithsonian Institute, the Walla Walla Naturalist Society and the men's discussion group known as the Round Table. The collection consists of correspondence, classroom materials and course outlines, photographs, newspaper clippings, mailing lists, postcards, glass negatives and the published works of Dr. Brode.