Williams Presidential Records processing

Over the past eight weeks the presidential records interns for summer 2019 arranged and described the papers of William College’s ninth and tenth presidents, Tyler Dennett and James P. Baxter III. Though our primary goal was to make these papers accessible by standardizing titles, delineating the papers into series, and rehousing the records in stable containers, we also wanted to draw out the records that touch on issues of gender and race. Those records are now more discoverable, with titles that better reflect their contents. We hope that these papers will help facilitate conversation about Williams College’s institutional history.

As I spent five weeks with Tyler Dennett’s papers, I’m most excited to see what comes out of research into that collection. Despite Tyler Dennett’s short three-year tenure, his papers touch on a range of themes with modern interest. As just a few examples: the collection includes correspondence with The American Eugenics Society, touching on issues of racism and anti-Semitism in college admissions, and discusses a 1935 student protest at Williams that invoked a Nazi flag.

The Tyler Dennett papers are currently accessible at Special Collections. The James P. Baxter III papers are still being processed, but will be accessible soon. As both collections will be held in off-site storage, contact Special Collections to make an appointment if you’d like to see them.

–Patrick Doyle is entering his second year at the Simmons MLIS program, concentrating in Archives Management.