Fourth of July Readings

The Chapin Library of Rare Books at Williams College will host its annual July 4th reading of historical documents by actors from the Williamstown Theatre Festival at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 4, 2023. Readers at this year’s event include actors Kevin O’Rourke & TL Thompson, and President of the Stockbridge Munsee Community Shannon Holsey, offering excerpts from a speech by nineteenth-century Mohican leader John Quinney.

The event is free and open to the public.

Visitors are invited to gather on the college’s Library Quad to hear the readings delivered from Sawyer Library’s second floor outdoor balcony. The program includes:

  • The Declaration of Independence and Preamble to the U.S. Constitution read by stage, film and television actor Kevin O’Rourke
  • Excerpts from Frederick Douglass’ “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” read by actor, writer and voiceover talent TL Thompson
  • Excerpts from John Quinney’s Fourth of July, 1854, Address at Reidsville, New York, read by Shannon Holsey, President of the Stockbridge-Munsee Community

In the event of heavy rain, visitors will be invited to gather in Sawyer Library for an indoor reading. Limited seating will be available.

The Declaration of Independence and draft of the U.S. Constitution are currently undergoing conservation treatment and will not be on display for this year’s event.