The College has just issued a new Report from Williams, which focuses on the Stetson-Sawyer project and displays the current plans. The Williams Record just published a tour of the North and South Academic Buildings, as they are approaching completion for opening next September, and recent construction photos are online. By June the off-site Library Shelving Facility is expected to open on schedule. Chapin Library and College Archives have closed, with most of their collections going into storage until the new library building is finished in 2011, though interim spaces will open in the old Southworth Elementary School next September.
Architectural historian Witold Rybczynski presents a slide show on Slate.com called “Borrowed Time,” which observes the new horizons of library building, and notes the recovery of key spaces like the grand reading room, which Stetson Hall had and will have, but which the existing Sawyer Library consciously omitted from its design.
Before setting off on my expeditions through the history and future of libraries at Williams, I wish to acknowledge my sources. Neither student nor professor, but merely a humble blogger, I do not intend to offer full bibliographic apparatus. I take my cue from T.S. Eliot, who noted that while immature poets borrow, mature poets steal. Though no poet, I am mature — or at least old, which will do for the sake of argument — so I will steal freely in these pages. But beforehand I thank those from whom I steal. I will acknowledge direct pilferings of phrase, but declare right off — I wouldn’t know anything without the guidance of the following fellow alumni:
First and foremost is the esteemed historian of the College, Frederick Rudolph ’42, Mark Hopkins Professor of History, emeritus, whose Mark Hopkins and the Log is not just a foundational text but an entertaining read.
Similarly entertaining and edifying are the Reflections on the Architecture of Williams College by Whitney S. Stoddard ’35, who as Amos Lawrence Professor of Art was one of the College’s legendary lecturers.
In Williams’ bicentennial year, R. Craigin Lewis ’41 edited a valuable volume, Williams 1793-1993: A Pictorial History, which evokes the sweep of the centuries at the College in a comprehensible context.
I will continue to credit these three authors, and others as they come up, but make it plain that my entire knowledge of the subject is founded on these books.
In a similar manner, I will continue to thank my interview sources in passing, but here I want to acknowledge two who unleashed me onto the subject: David M. Pilachowski, College Librarian, and Robert H. White, Director of Communications for Alumni Relations & Development. I thank Dave and Rob for access and outlet, and hope they are mostly pleased with the result, though responsibility for the words and opinions herein resides with me — Steve Satullo ’69.