The History of the College and Its People

N.B. Much of the Archives' material is NOT YET on FRANCIS; this means that one must check both FRANCIS and the card catalog in the Archives' reading room to locate sources. The Archives' card catalog has separate sections for published material, unpublished documents (manuscripts and archives), photographs and prints, theses, and artifacts. Detailed inventories, research guides and indexes are available for many of our archival and manuscript collections.

I. History of the College

General histories -- (call #: 31 - 35) various published histories of the College, of particular buildings on campus, specific time periods or topics; some of our favorites include Spring's History of Williams College (1917), Fred Rudolph's Mark Hopkins and the log (1956), the College's pictorial history (1993), and Perry's Williamstown and Williams College (1899).

Williams Alumni Review -- (call #: 62.W6) 1909 - present; the Alumni Review is indexed.

Williams Record -- (call #: 533.R2) 1904 - present; there are precursors to the Record that also report on general College news; some of these student publications are indexed, others are not.

II. Administration

College laws -- (call #:22.W6) 1795 - present; earlier editions of the laws include broad descriptions of the curriculum, admission policies, etc. Reports -- (call #: 23 - 24) of various offices such as the President, Treasurer, Librarian, Director of Admissions, Office of Career Counseling, Director of the Williams College Museum of Art, and Financial Aid; some of the reports go back to the 1870s.

Minutes of the Board of Trustees -- 1785 - present, although minutes from the past 50 years are restricted; indexed.

Papers of Presidents -- unpublished correspondence, speeches, etc. of 18th and 19th century presidents; a database providing access to surveys of the 20th century records can also be searched by Archives staff.

III. Curriculum

College bulletins -- (call #: 25.W6) 1822 - present; these provide descriptions of the curriculum as well as College facilities Program descriptions -- (call #: 26) publications, beginning in the 1960s, covering science, art, women's studies, etc.

Examinations -- (call #: 26.W6) 1860s - 1910s

Syllabi -- (call #: 264.Sy) 1970s - present; specific courses may not be included as not all faculty have donated their syllabi.

Textbooks -- some of these are located under call number 264.W6; if a course description or syllabus mentions other specific textbooks, you may be able to locate them in our collections or order them on Interlibrary Loan.

Writings of faculty -- (call #: 69, in closed stacks) we have not collected all publications of faculty, but do have an interesting array of material.

Faculty manuscript collections -- faculty collections may contain unpublished correspondence, lecture notes and essays concerning their fields.

Student essays and theses -- (call #: 54, most are in closed stacks) these include undergraduate theses (from 1938 to the present), CDE theses (beginning 1960), some MA theses (beginning 1896), and prize essays.

Student manuscript collections -- student collections may contain lecture notes, essays, or correspondence describing a particular course of study; check our 'Manuscripts Regarding Undergraduate Life' guide for a listing of materials.

IV. Student life

Student publications -- (call #: 532 - 533) these include address books, the Gul, student handbooks, literary magazines, humor magazines, etc. from 1831 to the present; use the 'Undergraduate Publications' guide to help determine which publications may be of use to you; some publications are indexed, others are not.

Student manuscript collections -- these primary sources may include letters, diaries, account books and reminiscences documenting living conditions, social life, extracurricular activities, etc.; check the 'Manuscripts Regarding Undergraduate Life' guide for collections of possible interest.

Student groups -- (call #: 51 - 52) a variety of published pamphlets, histories, etc. concerning fraternities, student societies, athletics, class days, etc.

Records of student societies -- minutes, correspondence and other materials from such organizations as the Lyceum of Natural History (science), the Adelphic Union (literary/debating), Cap and Bells (theatre), and various religious societies.

Photographs and prints -- images of the town and campus, buildings, events and people; check the 'Photographs' drawers in the lower half of the Archives card catalog; images are organized by individual, place, and group.

V. Alumni

Alumni directories -- (call #: 411 - 412) these directories generally are organized either alphabetically or by Class, although they may also include listings of alumni by occupation, geographical region, etc.; one of our favorites among these is the 1930 General catalogue of the officers, graduates, and non-graduates of Williams College.

Biographical annals -- (call #: 41.D9) this volume contains obituaries or general news concerning alumni from the Classes of 1795 to 1865; also includes biographical sketches of early trustees, presidents, major donors, and faculty members.  It is also available through Google Books.

Collected obituaries -- (call #: 413.W6) a set of obituaries that covers most alumni who died between 1865 and 1952.  Several volumes are available through the Genealogy Today Directory.

Biographies/autobiographies -- (call #: 42) a range of books and articles dealing primarily with alumni although some faculty are included.

Reunion publications -- (call #: 63) from the Class of 1825 to more current Classes; includes current news of graduates and sometimes reminiscences of student years.

Alumni biographical files -- these files, originating in the Alumni/Development Office, contain clippings, articles, and other materials relating to deceased alumni.

Oz Wyckoff papers -- biographical information collected by Wyckoff on alumni and faculty in World War II.

Lewis Wright's Compendium of notable alumni -- a listing of alumni recognized in college publications and national biographical dictionaries to the 1980s; it is organized by profession (authors, politicians, jurists, etc.).

Writings of alumni -- (call #: 68, in closed stacks) not all alumni have been documented in this collection.

V. Miscellaneous --The Archives' collections also feature various artifacts, blueprints, oral history tapes, scrapbooks, programs and pamphlets.