The Chapin Library welcomes gifts of books within the scope of our collecting activities, which primarily support learning and teaching at Williams College. Despite the wide range of the Library’s holdings, some books offered to us may be out of scope, or duplicates of material already here; however, such items may be useful in the general collections of the Williams Libraries, or in College Archives and Special Collections, or can be sold or traded for the benefit of the Chapin Library. The Chapin Librarian will gladly inspect individual volumes, collections, or lists of potential gifts, and advise on how best to proceed.
The Chapin Library collects manuscripts ranging from Egyptian papyri and Civil War letters to artists’ archives and drafts of modern literary works. The uniqueness of such materials, which capture and illuminate moments in history, makes them particularly welcome as primary sources for student and faculty research. As a general rule, space does not permit the Library to accept the extensive collections of papers now typically formed by public officials, corporations, and social organizations, but we are always happy to discuss donations of any kind.
The Chapin Library also accepts gifts of prints, drawings, posters, photographs, and other graphic materials which would complement the Library’s books and manuscripts or otherwise would aid its educational mission. For instance, the Library owns original paintings, a typewriter, and other artifacts in its collection of Samuel “Erewhon” Butler; designs by illustrators C.B. Falls and Pauline Baynes; portrait prints of George Washington; a cannonball from the Battle of Bunker Hill; and thousands of stereo views (stereoscopic photos). Library staff consult with the Williams College Museum of Art and the College Archives about art donations of interest to more than one College department.
The Library welcomes cash gifts, whether one-time donations or endowed funds in support of purchases, operations, and special initiatives. While unrestricted gifts meet the widest variety of needs, the Chapin Librarian will be happy to suggest specific activities or acquisitions to which gifts may be applied, and to tailor these to the donor’s interests. In cooperation with College development officers, the Chapin Librarian can also discuss options for giving such as bequests and annuities. Endowed funds for the Chapin Library are managed through the College’s general investment pool, but income is used in careful observance of the intentions of the donor.
The Library’s named gift funds presently include (with special purposes noted):
- The H. Richard Archer Fund for modern fine printing
- The W. Edward Archer Fund for acquisitions and conservation of rare materials
- The Pauline Baynes Fund in support of the artist’s archive and library
- The Tobias Cabot Fund for natural history books
- The Class of 1940 Americana Fund for acquisitions in the history of the Americas and their conservation
- The Robert A. DeVilbiss Fund for angling literature
- The Field Family Fund for Field books and manuscripts and subjects of interest to the Fields
- The Arthur Foote Music Collection Fund
- The Thomas A. Frank, Class of 1963 Memorial Americana Fund for materials of interest to Thomas A. Frank
- The Bruce Healy, Class of 1968 and Alice F. Healy Fund for rare books in the field of French cuisine
- The J. Brooks Hoffman, M.D., Class of 1940 Americana Fund
- The John S. Van E. Kohn, Class of 1928 Fund for American literature
- The Hugh M. MacMullan, Class of 1928 Fund for works by or about T.S. Eliot, Rupert Brooke, and James Elroy Flecker, or for significant early works in English literature
- The Ronald B. Moir, Class of 1951 Fund to support publicizing the Chapin Library, through publications and events
- The Mary L. Hurt Richmond Fund for acquisitions such as Alfred Clark Chapin would have approved
- The Herman Rosse Collection Fund in support of the artist’s archive
- The Leonard B. Schlosser, Class of 1946 Fund for binding and conservation
- The John T. Snyder Library Fund for purchases of works by or about Edwin Arlington Robinson and literature of Robinson's era
- The Willem Willeke Music Collection Fund
Each volume added by gift to the Chapin Library is marked with a special label bearing the donor’s name or with other language appropriate to the donation. Books and manuscripts, and special funds such as those listed above, also serve as lasting memorials to loved ones, friends, and classmates. Letters of gratitude are sent from the Chapin Library to all donors and honorees.
Gifts to the College for the benefit of the Chapin Library are tax deductible as allowed by law. Tax deductions for gifts-in-kind of larger value may require an independent appraisal. In accordance with the Internal Revenue Code, Williams College, as an interested party (the donee), may not provide a statement of value to the donor, and in accepting an appraisal takes no position as to whether it is a “qualified appraisal” under IRS regulations. The cost of an appraisal is the responsibility of the donor and itself may be tax-deductible. In all such matters, donors are encouraged to seek guidance from a professional accountant or other tax adviser.
In general for tax purposes, the effective date of a gift is the date on which it is physically received by the donee and title is transferred. Donors making gifts at the end of the calendar year should ensure that the items are conveyed in time to be received at Williams College before the end of December, taking into account special hours for holidays and Williams’ energy-saving winter shutdown.
As a matter of policy, Williams College cannot recommend individual appraisers, but suggest that donors consult local directories, or websites through which appraisers may be found, such as those of the Southern New England Antiquarian Booksellers and the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America. Book and manuscript appraisers in Berkshire County include:
- Second Life Books, Lanesborough, Massachusetts, (413) 447-8010
- Howard S. Mott, Inc., Sheffield, Massachusetts, (413) 229-2019
- John Waite Rare Books, Ascutney, Vermont, (802) 674-2665
Appraisers of art, antiques, and artifacts may be found through websites of the Berkshire County Antiques and Art Dealers Association, the National Antique and Art Dealers Association of America, the Appraisers Association of America, and the American Society of Appraisers.
Among those located in western Massachusetts are:
Potential gifts to the Chapin Library are considered according to the guidelines of its collection development policy, and as appropriate, in consultation with members of the faculty. The Special Collections Committee acts as a vetting body for the acquisition of larger collections.