John Purple Howard, 1883
A larger than life-size bronze portrait bust of Burlington philanthropist John Purple Howard by sculptor John Hartley was given by the citizens of Burlington to the University of Vermont in 1883. Executed in the style of Roman portrait sculpture with attention to detail and verisimilitude, the bust was appropriately placed in the niche of the newly (1883) rebuilt Old Mill, a renovation which was paid for by Howard. For a brief period of time Howard's bust was "mislaid" and placed in the attic of Old Mill, but restored to its original site in 1968.
UVM Professor and sometime historian Betty Bandel noted in a letter to the UVM student
newspaper The Cynic dated October 15,1968, that Howard was a "Burlington
boy born in 1814 who, having made a fortune in the hotel business in New York City,
returned to his hometown and devoted his substantial fortune to helping those who
needed a little extra 'good will toward men.' He gave the Howard Opera House and
Block so that its proceeds could be used for the local Home for Destitute Children,
and he put at the disposal of the University of Vermont several hundred thousand
dollars which made possible the repairing of the Old Mill, the building of a new medical
college, the establishment of a chair in 'Natural History and Zoology', and the
acquisition of the Lafayette statue and the fountain on the green."