Howard D. Briggs
Howard Denison Briggs, Epsilon, 1902, Phi Alpha 1915-1916
Howard Denison Briggs, Epsilon, 1902, was a well-regarded insurance claims professional who was a vital cog in the success of the Zeta Psi Association of Rhode Island. Brother Briggs followed his older brother Walter A. Briggs, Epsilon, 1900 into the chapter and came from a prominent, “old line” Rhode Island family and served as senior class Treasurer and Secretary/Treasurer of the Brown University Yacht Club as an undergraduate.
After graduation, Briggs joined the Traction Company of Providence for five years as the
assistant general claim agent. In 1907, he joined the Public Services Corporation of
New Jersey in Newark as the assistant claim agent and was later promoted to general
claim agent. The company controlled the street railways, electric lighting and heating
properties in most of New Jersey. In his position, Brother Briggs was in charge of the
general negligence litigation of the company. In the 1919, he served as president of the
New Jersey Claims Officers Association and in 1925 as vice president of the American
Association of Claim Professionals.
In 1916-1917, the Zeta Psi Association of Rhode Island determined that it needed a
house for the chapter. A favorable site was identified in December 1916 and “largely
through the efforts of Brothers A.K. Potter, Fred A. Otis, Howard D. Briggs, George
Briggs and past Phi Alpha, Brother W.A. “Bill” Comstock, Xi ’99, an almost omnipresent good angel…. the sum of $13,000 was raised within four weeks” and on January 11, 1917, title passed to
the association. (The Story of Zeta Psi, 1931)
During his term as Phi Alpha, the Fraternity watched the significant call up of Canadian
brothers to military service for World War I and it published its third pocket-sized
membership directory in 1916.