A week in Williams History

May 13, 2009

Tides of change hit the College when President Morty Schapiro, who had worked at the College for 20 years, prepared the College for his departure. Looking back on his career at Williams, he was quoted as saying, “This decade we’ve done a couple of things right … the students are much more intellectually engaged, diverse.” His term at the College, as with all presidents, had been a unique era in Williams history, and his leaving ushered in a new one (“Schapiro prepares College for his departure,” May 13, 2009).

May 8, 1979

Up until the 1960s, Williams was defined by a now nonexistent Greek life. A testament to the power of the Greek system at the College is the fact that, even in 1979 after the abolition of fraternities in 1962, the story of the return of Tyler House’s moose head made Record headlines. The moose head had been stolen by a rival fraternity of Psi Upsilon’s (then a resident at Tyler House) at Bowdoin a couple of years earlier. Tyler House had already made a couple of attempts to take it back. Finally, they managed to reclaim it, though the moose head suffered some losses in stuffing (“Moose Returns to Tyler,” May 8, 1979).

 May 12, 1978

In this “Analysis of alcohol related issues on campus,” the Record examined the College drinking scene of the 1970s. Apparently, a national survey was conducted that put national drinking levels way above that of Williams college students – leading to the conclusion that in 1978, students of the College drank less than the average American (“Williams drinks less than national norms,” May 12, 1978).

May 5, 1956

In this particularly interesting article, the Record reported on recent research that was conducted in order to determine the habits, attitudes and mannerisms of the typical Williams man. The result of this research? Apparently, the Williams man loved Budweiser but, as the end of the year drew closer, showed an increased tolerance for cheaper beer: “Sales of 30c sixteen-ounce Ballantines rapidly increase.” Favorite drinks of 1956 Ephs included “a new drink, nebulously known as gin and juice … milk punch is a close runner-up … followed by scotch-and-soda and faintly distilled diluted bourbon.” When the surveyed Ephs were asked what their favorite pastimes were, 33 percent said “Women,” “Girls” and “Females” respectively. The last one percent said “Broads.” While the student body has since diversified to include such women, girls, females and “broads” alongside the male students, many things – the growing tolerance for cheap alcohol, for example – stay the same (“Typical Williams Man Prefers Milk Punch, Sex, Budweiser,” May 5, 1956).

May 21, 1914 

At meetings held in the week reported on, the nature of the relationship between students and the College was redefined. All students but first-years met and elected the members of the first ever Williams Student Council. While a meeting of all the upperclassmen may sound like way too many bodies in a room, it is important to remember that a Williams class in 1914 was just over 150 students (“Classes Elect Men to First Student Council,” May 21, 1914).