Williams Table Collection
The reassembled colonial library of Brown University. The "Distresses of our oppressed Country," as the American Revolution was described in a class petition, interrupted the College's course of instruction between December, 1776 and June, 1782. The College Edifice was used as a barracks and hospital for the American and French troops. The library, fortunately, was removed and stored in rural Wrentham, Massachusetts at the home of William Williams, of Williams Table fame.
Upon the reorganization of the College in the fall of 1782, the Corporation resolved that the "Library, which, owing to the public confusions, has for several years been in the country, after being compared and examined by the catalogue, be immediately brought with care into town." The catalog in question, undated and in President Manning's hand, probably was compiled in 1782 and listed some 6oo volumes. Most of those volumes survive today as the Williams Table Collection and they constitute one of Brown's most institutionally significant special collections.
Library: John Hay
Access to the collection:
Online Catalog (JOSIAH):
Individual records for most printed materials available on JOSIAH
Other Online Access:
Exhibit: The Library's First Book, William Williams & the Williams Table
Exhibit: Leaves of an Hour: The Williams Table Collection and the 1793 Catalog
Digital Collection: Image of the first book in the Library's collections
Digital Collection: Image of the Williams Table
1793 Library Collection