Howard Williams
Howard Williams vegetarian.png
Born(1837-01-06)6 January 1837
Whatley, Somerset, England
Died21 September 1931(1931-09-21) (aged 94)
Aspley Guise, England
EducationSt John's College, Cambridge (BA, 1860; MA, 1863)
OccupationHumanitarianism and vegetarianism activist, writer
Notable work
The Ethics of Diet (1883)
Eliza Smith
(m. 1860; died 1906)
FamilyHenry John Williams (brother)

Howard Williams (6 January 1837 – 21 September 1931) was an English humanitarianism and vegetarianism activist, and the author of The Ethics of Diet, a history of vegetarianism.


Williams was a born in 1837, in Whatley, Somerset.[1] He was the son of an Anglican minister[2] and the older brother of Henry John Williams.[3][4] He was home educated,[1] then went on to study history at St John's College, Cambridge;[2] he earned his BA in 1860 and MA in 1863. Williams married Eliza Smith on 20 November 1860;[1] she died around 1906.[5]

Williams' first book was published in 1865, entitled The Superstitions of Witchcraft. Williams became a vegetarian in 1872, as well as an anti-vivisectionist; he published The Ethics of Diet, a history of vegetarianism in Europe, in 1883.[1]

Williams was the inspiration for and one of the founding members of the Humanitarian League, in 1891, which "opposed all avoidable suffering on any sentient being".[2][6] He remained on the board for several years.[1] He also served as the Vice-President of the London Vegetarian Society[5] and was a board member of the Animal Defence and Anti-Vivisection Society.[2]

Williams died in Aspley Guise, in 1931.[1]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Williams, Howard". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/41000. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ a b c d Preece, Rod (2011). Animal Sensibility and Inclusive Justice in the Age of Bernard Shaw. Vancouver: UBC Press. pp. 167–168. ISBN 9780774821124.
  3. ^ Grumett, David; Muers, Rachel, eds. (2011). Eating and Believing: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Vegetarianism and Theology. London: A&C Black. p. 126. ISBN 978-0-567-57736-8.
  4. ^ Gregory, James. (2007). Of Victorians and Vegetarians: The Vegetarian Movement in Nineteenth-Century Britain. Tauris Academic Studies. p. 109. ISBN 978-1-84511-379-7
  5. ^ a b "Mr. Howard Williams". Bedfordshire Times and Independent. 25 September 1931.((cite news)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ "Humanitarian League". Henry S. Salt Society. Retrieved 28 February 2020.

Further reading