Williams College Timeline of Inclusion, Exclusion, and Restoration


Traditionally, timelines are linear and show one historical vantage point, often highlighting events that are part of a particular canon. At Williams, our well-known, often shared timeline highlights the foundation of Williams, beginning with Ephraim Williams’ will, and focuses on moments like the abolition of fraternities, coeducation, and the founding of buildings. Although these moments are undoubtedly important– what about the less-known stories? Documentation of histories in our libraries, museums, and archives hold vast knowledge, but this knowledge is no more important than the stories of those in our community.

Beginning in 2019, spurred by multiple students research projects in special collections, The Davis Center, in consort with the libraries, worked with these students to bring their Williams focused examinations into uncommonly known Williams histories of Jewish lives, women at Williams, stories of the Black community, amongst other voices into one timeline. This timeline, although not fully inclusive, as timelines are limited by nature, notes moments in the story of Williams that have previously been less documented or unknown. The timeline also denotes not only the stories of exclusion, inclusion, and complicated histories, but one of growth and collaboration. At this point, the timeline, as a work-in-progress, shows only the moments that are fact-checked. We intend the timeline to grow.

Please share suggestions for the timeline here.