WILLIAMS, EDWARD CHRISTOPHER (11 Feb. 1871-24 Dec. 1929), an AFRICAN AMERICAN librarian, teacher, and scholar who laid the foundation for library collections at WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY (WRU) and Howard University, was born in Cleveland to Daniel P. Williams, a well-known African American, and Mary Kilkary Williams, a Clevelander of IRISH background. He graduated from Adelbert College of WRU in 1892, and after a brief stint as a stenographer, was appointed first assistant librarian of there. He became the head librarian in 1894, and university librarian in 1898. Williams took a leave of absence in 1899 to study library science at New York Library School in Albany, completing the 2-year course in 1 year. Williams more than doubled WRU's library collection and increased its quality, becoming a recognized expert on library organization and bibliography. Williams was on a committee recommending formation of a school of library science at WRU, and taught courses in reference work, bibliography, public documents, and criticism and selection of books when it opened in 1904. He was a charter member of the Ohio Library Assoc. and chairman of the committee drafting its constitution. Williams left Cleveland in 1909 to become principal of M St. High School in Washington, D.C. In 1916, he became university librarian at Howard University, also directing Howard's library training class, teaching German, and later heading the Dept. of Romance Languages. In 1929, he took a sabbatical to study for his Ph.D. at Columbia University; however he died shortly after beginning his studies. Williams married Ethel P. Chesnutt, daughter of CHARLES CHESNUTT, in 1902. They had one son, whom they named Charles.

E.C. Williams, Portrait
Williams, c.1910?

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