Williamsiana: supporting historical materials

The department acquires a wide variety of historical material, or “Williamsiana,” to support and augment the official records of the College. This material may include, but is not limited to: manuscripts, student theses, visual materials, oral histories, artifacts, works published by faculty and alumni, student newspapers and periodicals, local history collections, and published reference works.


The department collects manuscript material, including:

  • students’ personal papers, especially those that illuminate life at the College
  • personal and professional papers of Williams faculty and administrators that document their teaching, administrative and/or research careers and the development of the College’s curriculum
  • records of clubs, societies and institutes established and maintained by Williams students and other College personnel
  • papers of select noted alumni, especially those who have been active in the areas of missionary work and the ministry,
  • international affairs, art history, and higher education
  • course syllabi
  • materials relating to the Williams family, the French and Indian War in our extended geographic area, and the founding of the College
  • Bachelor’s theses in all disciplines, Master’s theses in Art History, and the major papers of students in the Development Economics course. Papers in other undergraduate courses are ordinarily not acquired unless they document Williams College, the history of our region, or a significant shift in curricular trends.
Visual Material

The department acquires a variety of visual material, including photographs in all formats, slides, negatives, films, videos, prints, scrapbooks, albums, postcards, and letterheads. Subject matter must relate to Williams College, our geographic area, or the lives of our students, staff and faculty. Every effort is made to forward offers of fine art, such as oil portraits and exclusive printings of intaglio or lithographic processes, to the Williams College Museum of Art.

Oral Histories

The Archives maintains the recordings, transcripts, and records produced by the College’s Oral History Program, and may accept oral histories of Williams individuals produced by other Williams College students, faculty or staff, or by other colleges and universities.


Artifacts are acquired for the College’s historical collections if the Archives judges it can properly preserve and provide access to them. Priority is given to items that document College life. Due to storage and preservation issues, offers of fine and decorative arts are normally forwarded to the Williams College Museum of Art.

Published Works

Acquired and/or made available are published works, regardless of format, which concern the history of the College, its alumni, faculty and staff, and our geographic area. These may include:

  • newspapers, journals, magazines, handbooks and yearbooks produced by the student body, student clubs, and alumni classes
  • material pertaining to the history of our local geographic area, especially that which supports inquiries into the relations between the College and its community (in this area, every effort is made to complement rather than compete with the Williamstown House of Local History)
  • works authored by tenured members of the faculty
  • works by Williams alumni, especially if they relate to missionary work or the ministry, international affairs, higher education or the history of Williams College
  • biographies and autobiographies of Williams alumni, staff, faculty and donors
  • reference works and databases that support research performed with primary sources.