Perry, Arthur Latham (1830-1905)

Arthur Latham Perry, Williams Class of 1852, was born on February 27, 1830 and died on July 9, 1905. He was raised in poverty in New Hampshire but was able to attend Williams College, where he was one of the founders and charter members of the Alpha Delta Phi Fraternity.

After graduating, he taught in Washington for a year but returned immediately when offered a position at Williams as professor of history and political economy. He taught these subjects from 1854 to 1891. While at the college he also taught German language and literature 1854-1868. As a professor of Political Economy, 1859-1899, he wrote many textbooks and monographs and was considered a leading expert in the field of free trade.

For several years he toured the country during his summer holidays, giving lectures on the principle of free trade for The American Free Trade League. He also wrote important history books on Williamstown and Williams College, Origins of Williamstown (1894) and Williamstown and Williams College (1898).

In 1891 Professor Perry retired and acted as a consultant to the governors of Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Connecticut. It was for his great devotion to Williams College that the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity house was named in honor of him.

Perry married Mary Brown Smedley, whose ancestors were some of the first settlers of Williamstown and famous leaders of the Revolutionary War.  With her he had five sons and one daughter: Bliss, Arthur, Walter, Carroll, Lewis and Grace.  Papers for years to come would describe the brothers as ?a member of an old and distinguished Williamstown family.”

By Patrick J. McCurdy (Class of 2002)