News and Exhibits

From First Edition to Second Wave

A selection of recent acquisitions on view in the Schow Gallery February 21-May 10, 2018 demonstrates the variety of material being acquired by Williams Special Collections through gift, transfer, and purchase. Highlighted here are materials ranging from a seventeenth-century work of natural history to twentieth-century products of Second Wave… Continue reading »

“Whiteman’s Burden”

The diets of contemporary celebrities are often the subject of much conjecture, with comments coming from “a source close to the star” and color photos featuring the “before and after” printed in countless magazines for sale in the supermarket. In the early 1930s, Paul Whiteman’s 100-pound weight loss made him the focus of such attention. Continue reading »

Alice in Williamstown

White Rabbit as herald

Honoring Williams Winter Carnival’s “Alice in Winter Wonderland” theme, editions of the “Alice” books and other works by Lewis Carroll are on view in the Special Collections Instruction Gallery, Sawyer 408. Choice items from the Chapin Library feature art by Sir John Tenniel, Salvador Dali, Pauline Baynes, John Vernon… Continue reading »

Does authority still matter?

The exhibit Claiming Authority: Do Authenticity, Reliability, and Authoritativeness still matter?, is on display during regular Special Collections Hours in the Chapin Gallery February 8-May 10, 2018. These artifacts, books, manuscripts, and visual works are collocated to pose the question: Are these elements of authority still relevant? Am I authentic? Am I reliable? Am I authoritative? How do you know? Continue reading »

Paul Whiteman to David Diamond

In a letter dated October 10, 1935 to Williams College President Tyler Dennett, Whiteman wrote that he was “still very much interested in the idea of a museum of American music at Williams College.” Whiteman had been collecting arrangements, instruments, records, and instruments throughout his career, and believed this material should be accessible and available to the public for educational purposes. Continue reading »

Missing Books, Missing Voices (Claiming Williams 2018)

What are we missing in the Williams Libraries? The libraries’ collections and services have grown over the centuries and reflect that history and the needs of each generation of scholars and students who have formed Williams College. As our community has changed and become more inclusive, have the libraries kept pace? Are we standing with and sustaining our diverse community and supporting all members across differences? Stop by Sawyer or Schow and tell us! Continue reading »

Separation Anxiety

Processing a collection involves careful consideration and appraisal of materials. Unruly piles of paper are sorted into series and tucked carefully away into acid free boxes. The end result, a row of neat boxes sporting clear labels, is a joy. But often there is more to a collection than meets the finding aid. What the public will not see are the (sometimes) towering stacks of materials that are “separated” from the collection. These are often duplicate photographs, non-pertinent materials, or publications available from other sources. Continue reading »

A Paul Whiteman Collection Tangent

I will spend a year working on the Paul Whiteman collection, and during that year, I will process many parts of the 582 linear foot collection. I will process everything from photographs and personal files to scrapbooks and artifacts. But the boundaries of this wide-ranging collection are not clear-cut. Some materials came from Whiteman and his family, some from other sources. At this point, I will take a step to the side and address what began as a separate collection in the archives--the Carl Johnson records. Continue reading »

Breaking Down a Large Collection: The Photographs Series

The Paul Whiteman Collection is currently estimated to be 582 linear feet. Taken all at once, processing such a collection would be a daunting and seemingly impossible task. In fact, the collection is so large (it contains not only paper files, but also a door and a small piano--more on these artifacts later), that it cannot be housed in a single location. Continue reading »

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