The Vietnam War — our war — always loomed just beyond the mountains. To serve or not to serve? Our choice — or pure chance in the draft lottery — still marks us. Ken Burns’ documentary “The Vietnam War” once again reminded us of those who lived and those who were lost, on both sides. […]Read article
Crossing the Border: The Williams-Bennington Experience in late 60s
What was it about Bennington College?
The 17-mile ride up to Bennington was transformative. But it was not always an easy journey for the Williams student of our day. One classmate, quoting James Joyce’s Ulysses, mentions understanding first-hand what Joyce meant by the “scotumtightening sea,” as he would sign in at the small guard’s office manned by stolid Vermonters whose tacit disapproval he interpreted as directed toward him, but was maybe aimed in a more general way toward the entire permissive and doubtless sinful lifestyle that lay beyond the gates.Read article
Never Again — commentary by Frank Reed
The late historian James MacGregor Burns, in his studies of political leadership, noted that throughout the decade of the 1960’s political leadership emanated from the bottom up, rather than from the top down. The civil rights movement, and later the anti-war movement, both started out with activism at the grass roots. He explained that it […]Read article
The Fraternity Debate — 1868 to 1968!
The Fraternity Debate — 1868 to 1968! by John Dirlam Fraternities began to take root at Williams in 1833 with the arrival of Kappa Alpha, followed one year later by Sigma Phi. By the time of the Civil War, four more fraternities had joined them in competing for students—-Chi Psi, Alpha Delta Phi, Delta Psi, and Delta […]Read article
The Bittersweet History of Black Students in the Purple Valley
Black students at Williams refused to let their geographic isolation inure them to the historical changes taking place in the greater society. Instead, students of the classes of 1967-1970 sparked revolutions at Williams that changed the college forever.Read article
“Frivolous, conformist, and anti-intellectual”
Williams Web Team Historian John Dirlam takes us back in time to 1868 when Prof. John Bascom (he of Bascom House, and later President of the University of Wisconsin) delivered a screed against fraternities at Williams. His report is bolstered by additions from the Web Team, and includes a video discussion led by former President […]Read article
Our cartoonist looks at Trumpland
My own mental health has definitely taken a hit. From late last summer through early December, I drew a topical cartoon (the Daily Cartoon) five days a week for newyorker.com. I was forced to stay extremely well-informed in order to make jokes about the very stuff that was turning my head into a dark, scary place, and wreaking havoc on my digestive system. (It’s my habit to read or watch news during meals.) At night, I lay in bed, sleepless for hours, replaying the day’s events.Read article