Williams College Timeline
March 7th, 1715 Ephraim Williams Jr., Founder of Williams College, is born in Newton, Mass. more »
November 13th, 1735 Rev. Stephen West, first Vice President of Williams College, was born on this date at Tolland, Conn. more »
December 5th, 1753 Williamstown's first proprietors' meeting is held in Seth Hudson's house near Hemlock Brook.
July 22nd, 1755 Ephraim Williams, Jr. writes the will that leaves funds to establish the Free School that will later become Williams College. more »
September 8th, 1755 The college's founder, Ephraim Williams, Jr., dies at Lake George in the Battle of the Bloody Morning Scout. more »
June 21st, 1765 West Hoosac is renamed Williamstown, fulfilling the first condition attached to Ephraim Williams, Jr.'s funding of a school near Fort Massachusetts. more »
March 8th, 1785 The Massachusetts General Court grants the charter to establish the Free School in Williamstown. more »
April 28th, 1790 Advertisements announce the sale of lottery tickets to support construction of the schoolhouse that will eventually be named West College. more »
October 26th, 1791 The Williamstown Free School, precursor to Williams College, opens its doors to its first students. more »
May 22nd, 1792 The trustees of the Williamstown Free School write to the Massachusetts General Court asking to convert the School to a college named Williams Hall. more »
June 22nd, 1793 The Williamstown Free School becomes Williams College. more »
October 9th, 1793 Williams College first opens on this day in 1793. more »
September 2nd, 1795 Williams celebrates its first Commencement in the old town meeting house. more »
November 5th, 1795 The Adelphic Union--the first extra-curricular society at Williams--is officially established. more »
September 3rd, 1799 Williams College trustees abolish the position of professor of French. more »
February 4th, 1802 Mark Hopkins, Williams's fourth president, is born in Stockbridge, Mass. more »
September 1st, 1802 "Voted: That the Treasurer be directed to procure a New College Seal, and also a screw for the same." (Board of Trustees minutes) more »
February 8th, 1812 Gordon Hall (Class of 1808) and Luther Rice (Class of 1810) are ordained. more »
November 2nd, 1819 President Moore and the Trustees petition the Massachusetts General Court to move Williams College to Northampton. more »
February 1st, 1820 The Massachusetts Legislature refuses the petition of the President and Trustees to remove Williams College to Northampton. more »
July 17th, 1821 Zephaniah Swift Moore, second president of Williams College, resigns his presidency. more »
September 5th, 1821 Williams alumni approve the newly composed preamble and bylaws of the Society of Alumni, thereby forming the first alumni society anywhere. more »
April 17th, 1822 "It was directed by the Faculty that there shall be no instrumental music at Commencement . . . more »
December 22nd, 1824 Four members of the Class of 1827 are fined $5 for playing cards. (Faculty Meeting Minutes)
May 7th, 1828 Edward Clark (Class of 1831) is fined $5 and suspended for a term for firing off firecrackers. (Faculty Meeting Minutes)
May 25th, 1829 John R. Hickok (non-graduate of the Class of 1831) is fined 50 cents for attending a dancing school. (Faculty Meeting Minutes)
December 10th, 1829 Erasmus D. Towner (Class of 1833, non-graduate) is expelled for repeatedly setting a college out-building on fire. more »
November 19th, 1831 James A. Garfield, Williams Class of 1856 and the 20th President of the United States, is born in Orange Township, Ohio. more »
July 4th, 1832 July 4th riots result in the expulsion of several students. more »
October 29th, 1833 Kappa Alpha is the first fraternity established at Williams. more »
August 25th, 1835 The first expedition of Williams's Lyceum of Natural History sails . . . more »
November 10th, 1836 The faculty vote on the time the prayer bell will be rung. more »
June 12th, 1838 Hopkins Observatory is dedicated.
August 15th, 1838 Nathaniel Hawthorne attends Williams College's Commencement. more »
January 30th, 1839 Samuel Chapman Armstrong, Class of 1862 and founder of Hampton Institute, is born on the island of Maui. more »
October 17th, 1841 The original East College--featuring four floors--burns to the ground. more »
July 18th, 1845 Prof. Ebenezer Kellogg sells the West College garden plot to the college. more »
August 5th, 1850 David Dudley Field, Jr. (Class of 1825) gives a 'literary picnic' for Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville on Monument Mountain in Great Barrington, MA.
August 11th, 1851 Herman Melville, with a party of friends and relatives, stays overnight in the observatory on Mount Greylock. more »
August 15th, 1854 Ralph Waldo Emerson speaks before the Adelphic Union, the student literary-debating society. more »
August 14th, 1855 Members of the Lyceum of Natural History dedicate Jackson Hall, their new headquarters located in the Berkshire Quad. more »
July 1st, 1859 The first intercollegiate baseball game is held between Williams and Amherst. Amherst wins 66-32.
May 7th, 1861 "Third term begins at Williams and undergraduates form a battalion and drilled an hour daily." more »
October 9th, 1861 Williams faculty vote to allow students to go out of town without excuse . . . more »
May 2nd, 1863 The Alpine Club, the oldest mountain climbing organization in the country, takes its first walk to Birch and Prospect Glens. more »
September 23rd, 1863 The Williams faculty vote to require student attendance at military drill. more »
July 15th, 1864 A group of seniors and juniors meet to establish a provisional chapter of Phi Beta Kappa at Williams. more »
July 28th, 1867 Williams President Mark Hopkins dedicates the Mission Park Monument. more »
July 28th, 1868 The Soldier's Monument is dedicated on Alumni Day. more »
November 10th, 1868 Williams students rebel against a faculty ruling that awards a zero for any absence from recitation. more »
June 29th, 1871 The Society of Alumni appoints a committee to "examine into the expediency of admitting women as students to college." more »
October 28th, 1871 The student newspaper, the Vidette, announces that East College has been wired for telegraphic communication.
December 28th, 1871 One of Williams's favorite sayings is born: "The ideal college is Mark Hopkins on one end of a log and a student on the other." more »
July 2nd, 1881 James A. Garfield, Class of 1856 and 20th President of the U.S., is shot by a disgruntled office seeker in a Washington, D.C. railroad station. more »
July 3rd, 1883 A violent storm destroys the setting for the annual alumni dinner, smashing dishes, tables, and the building itself. more »
March 17th, 1896 Students vote 247 to 42 in favor of inaugurating a campus-wide honor code.
March 20th, 1896 A portion of the east side of (old) Clark Hall is loosened by the rain and tumbles to the ground. more »
May 28th, 1898 Cap & Bells offers its first production, a comedy "For one night only." more »
November 24th, 1904 With Morgan Hall ablaze, President Harry Hopkins calls in the North Adams fire department. more »
June 21st, 1905 President Theodore Roosevelt attends the dedication of Thompson Memorial Chapel during Commencement weekend.
November 3rd, 1908 The Williams Record posts Tuesday evening election returns in the office at Jesup Hall. more »
October 12th, 1912 The Williams Record reports that the Trustees have voted to demolish College Hall, best known for serving the worst food on campus. more »
November 7th, 1912 The "Apple Growing Committee" of the Good Government Club sets the date for Orchard Day. more »
January 24th, 1913 Eben Burt Parsons, secretary of the Faculty and Registrar of the College for 21 years, passes away. more »
March 17th, 1914 The cane contest is deemed so disorderly and raucous that the President and Dean abolish this Freshman-Sophomore rush. more »
November 11th, 1918 James Alexander, Jr. (Class of 1917) is one of the first Americans to hear of the signing of the Armistice. more »
December 6th, 1918 Charles W. Whittlesey (Class of 1905) is awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. more »
October 1st, 1919 The World War I Victory Celebration is held at the college. more »
January 6th, 1920 Dean Howes investigates the whereabouts of a distillery on campus. more »
June 20th, 1920 Ephraim Williams Jr.'s remains are reinterred at Williams College. more »
October 20th, 1920 The cornerstone of Stetson Library is laid. more »
March 11th, 1927 Carl Sandburg delivers a speech titled "An American Miscellany" before the Williams Forum in Jesup Hall.
April 19th, 1927 The Lawrence Hall Art Museum opens with an exhibit of paintings and drawings by the late Mrs. Asa Morton. more »
May 7th, 1927 The Williams Record reports on the new road over Petersburgh Mountain pass. more »
January 24th, 1935 The Steamship Mohawk disaster claims the lives of Prof. Herdman Cleland and three seniors bound to the Yucatan for a geological expedition. more »
March 2nd, 1935 The Williams Record reports that Latin will no longer be considered a requirement for admission to the college.
September 21st, 1935 The Williams Record reports that compulsory daily chapel attendance has been abolished.
March 13th, 1937 The Williams Forum announces that Andre Malraux has canceled his speaking engagement. more »
February 21st, 1938 The college seismograph records a 14 second "earthquake" as the 75 foot brick chimney of the Greylock Hotel falls. more »
February 4th, 1940 The Shakespeare first folio is stolen from the Chapin Library . . . more »
April 15th, 1941 Williams ambulance on its way to Africa more »
October 25th, 1945 The term ends and three seniors graduate. There are no Commencement exercises.
October 31st, 1945 The V-12 program at Williams, in which 1076 men were trained, ends.
March 27th, 1949 The Williams Glee Club broadcasts from Adams Memorial Theatre. more »
June 18th, 1950 Williams awards 328 B.A.s at the college's first outdoor commencement exercises. more »
January 2nd, 1951 A fire reduces West College to a sagging shell. more »
September 29th, 1951 Gelett Burgess, author of "Purple Cow" verses, dies at age 85 in Carmel, Calif. more »
September 27th, 1961 Hopkins Observatory begins its move to make room for Prospect. more »
June 30th, 1962 The Angevine Committee releases the report that will lead to the eventual demise of the Williams fraternity system. more »
December 3rd, 1966 Williams students attend the first annual Inter-Collegiate Conference of African-American students held at Columbia.
October 8th, 1967 Lady Bird Johnson speaks at Convocation and helps launch the Williams Center for Environmental Studies.
January 5th, 1968 The first Winter Study Program begins at Williams.
October 1968 A Trustee Statement abolishes fraternities at Williams. more »
April 5th, 1969 Members of the Afro-American Student Association take over Hopkins Hall to raise awareness of their demands to improve opportunities for African-American students.
October 8th, 1969 Pres. Sawyer announces that Williams will admit women as transfer students in fall 1970.
May 4th, 1970 In opposition to the Vietnam War, Williams students vote to strike. more »
July 1st, 1970 The first female Assistant Dean at Williams, Nancy McIntire, begins work.
October 1st, 1982 The Women's Center moves from Mears to Hardy House.
September 9th, 1984 Pres. Chandler announces the creation of the Williams-Exeter Programme with the purchase of four buildings in Oxford.
October 14th, 1990 The Jewish Religious Center is dedicated. more »
October 22nd, 2000 Morton Owen Schapiro is inducted as the 16th President of Williams College. more »
November 10th, 2007 Williams hosts the 150th Saturday morning edition of "ESPN College GameDay" more »
July 7th, 2008 College Archives and Chapin Library begin to move their collections out of Stetson Hall in anticipation of the renovation of Stetson Hall and the construction of a new library. more »