Edward C. Williams

Edward C. Williams, Class of 1892. One of the most accomplished scholars to matriculate at Case Western Reserve University, Edward Christopher Williams was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1871. He graduated from Adelbert College in 1832 as valedictorian of his class and member of Phi Betta Kappa national honor society. He was one of the society’s six African-American members. As a student, he also held the Ohio Conference Championship for mile runner. Upon graduation, Mr.. Williams accepted the first Assistant Librarian position at Wester Reserve University’s Hatch Library. Two years later (1898), he not only assumed the directorship of the library, but also took a sabbatical to attend the New York State Library School in Albany. After completing the two-year master’s degree program in only one year, Mr.. Williams returned to the University. He initially prepared the organizational plan of the Library School and, when the School was established in 1904, he taught courses in Reference Work, Bibliography, Public Documents, and Book Selection. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Mr.. Williams was a founding member of the Ohio Library Association (OLA) and lectured at the Ohio Institute of Library workers, which held its annual meetings each year at OLA. In 1909, for reasons not clearly documented, Mr.. Williams left his position at Western Reserve University and became principal of a high school in Washington, D.C. Not content as a school administrator, in 1916 Mrs. Williams became Librarian at Howard University in Washington, D.C. There, he established the Library School and taught German, Italian, and French in the Department of Romance Languages. In 1924 Mr.. Williams became head of the Department. Versatile and multi-talented, Mr.. Williams was also a classical drama playwriter and received a Julius Rosenwald fellowship in 1929 to study for a Ph.D. at Columbia University. He died on December 24, 1929, while working on his degree.

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