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MS Am 2624

Williams, Samuel, 1743-1817. Samuel Williams family papers, 1723-1995: Guide.

Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: b
Call No.: MS Am 2624
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Williams, Samuel, 1743-1817.
Title: Samuel Williams family papers
Date(s): 1723-1995
Quantity: 3.5 linear feet (8 boxes)
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English.
Abstract: Family papers of American Samuel Williams (1743-1817), clergyman, naturalist, and for a time, the Hollis Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy at Harvard College. Includes manuscripts of Williams's friend, Count Benjamin Thompson Rumford.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

2006M-89. Purchased with the Bayard Livingston and Kate Gray Kilgour fund from The Antiquarian Scientist, Southampton, Massachusetts 01073; received: 2007 June 1.


Formerly owned by Frank W. Oliver (lawyer) of Chicago, then Miami. Bulk of collection was passed down the Samuel Williams line of the Williams family to Oliver. See biographical note below for further information.

Processing Information:

Processed by: Bonnie B. Salt

Conditions Governing Access:

There are no restrictions to physical access for the bulk of this material. Some items are marked restricted, as they are fragile and access to those require the permission of the curators. See Houghton Public Services for details.

Preferred Citation for Publication:

Samuel Williams Family Papers, 1723-1995 (MS Am 2624). Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Related Materials

Additional Williams materials available at:

Biographical / Historical

Includes materials concerning, but not limited to, the following persons:


Arranged into the following series:

Scope and Contents

Collection includes correspondence of: Loammi Baldwin (1745-1807); Jonas Fay (1737-1818); Harvard College; Chauncy Landgon (1763-1830); Count Benjamin Rumford (1753-1814); Isaac Tichenor (1754-1838); Timothy Todd (1758-1806); Charles Kilborn Williams (1856-1920); Charles Langdon Williams (1821-1861); Lucy Langdon Williams Wilson (1864-1937); Samuel Williams (1743-1817), and many others. There is also substantial correspondence with the Williams family from repositories and individuals interested in acquiring the Williams family collection for their institution or in doing research using these papers.
Autograph manuscript compositions and documents include sermons by Warham Williams (1699-1751) and Samuel Williams (1743-1817); an essay by Count Benjamin Rumford (1753-1814); two natural history journals by Samuel Williams (1743-1817), titled: Vermont - No. 1. Notes on the state of Vermont (1792), and Natural History (ca. 1783-1786); journals of voyages taken by various Williams family members; and other items. Manuscript documents relating to the Williams family include: financial records; wills; deeds; genealogical charts and lists; estate inventories; transcripts of historical documents on the Williams family from various repositories; and certificates and diplomas.
There is a large series of images of Williams family members, the majority of which are modern prints made of historic photographs. The collection also includes a substantial number of original photographs, such as tintypes, silhouettes, cartes-de-visite (card photographs), daguerreotypes, and a photograph album. Also in this collection are some objects formerly belonging to the Williams family: Comb (hair ornament) mount with detachable frontlet, ca. 1800-1840; man's knee buckles (strap accessories), 17??; sliding-temple spectacles, said to have been worn by Samuel Williams; 19th century? silk woman's lace-up boots and pumps (shoes)); as well as numerous folders of printed materials collected about various Williams luminaries.

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