The Chapin Library Deed of Gift

To the President and Trustees of Williams College:

In accordance with my intention, heretofore expressed, to give to your corporation the library and collection of Incunabula, prints, engravings, Americana, and books of various description, together with similar articles which I have been gathering for the College, I hereby propose and agree to give to The President and Trustees of Williams College all of said library and collection for the most part at present stored in cases in my name in the Lincoln Storage Warehouse, New York City, but with certain other items in the possession of my agents.

A memorandum is attached to this offer for the Treasurer's records stating the nature and value of the collection.

It is my further purpose and I hereby agree to give to you during my lifetime or by will securities of the par value or face amount of $100,000 (of which amount I have already given to you securities of the face amount of $85,000) as a maintenance fund, the income of which shall be expended in the employment of a suitable and specially trained librarian, the care and proper preservation of such collection (provided, however, that no part of such income shall be expended for insurance upon the collection or building or for the maintenance of or care for the building or space in which such collection may be housed) and to the extent not needed for the above purposes in the purchase of such additional books or manuscripts as shall be considered appropriate by The Trustees of The College.

The gift is made upon the following conditions:

That the College shall provide and continuously maintain a suitable building or portion of a building, of a type of construction and equipment not less fireproof than that of Stetson Hall, to contain such library and manuscripts including any similar property which I have already given to Williams College (a list of which will shortly be furnished to you) or which may be purchased from the income from my gift to said College.

That such collection of books and manuscripts, etc. including such of those already given by me, as I shall list, shall be kept as a separate and complete collection in the care of a specially trained librarian whose duties shall be solely in connection with such collection, shall not be commingled with the general library of the College, and that none of such books, manuscripts, or other articles shall be taken from the room or rooms in which the collection is at the time maintained.

That such books, manuscripts, and other articles shall not be disposed of by said College.

The above proposal and agreement is made upon the condition that The President and Trustees of Williams College shall by a vote of the Board of Trustees accept the same and shall agree to the obligations and conditions which are a part hereof.

Transcribed from the copy in the Chapin Library archives dated in Mr. Chapin's hand Feb. 1, 1923. On the following day, the Williams Board of Trustees agreed upon the following statement:

A proposal and agreement submitted at this meeting by the Hon. Alfred C. Chapin, a member of the corporation, of which proposal and agreement a copy is above spread upon the record of the meeting, having been considered it was, upon motion, duly seconded.

Voted: that the generous proposal and agreement, dated February 1923, of the Hon. Alfred C. Chapin to give to this corporation his collection of Incunabula, prints, engravings, Americana, books of various descriptions and similar articles, and an endowment fund for its maintenance, protection, and preservation, be, and hereby the same is accepted, and this corporation agrees to receive said collection and said endowment with the limitations set forth in Mr. Chapin's proposal and agreement, and to perform all the obligations and comply with all the conditions contained therein.

In accepting said agreement this Board hereby records its grateful appreciation of the unique and invaluable addition to the property of the corporation which this generous gift will bring – contributing so greatly to the facilities for the education of young men in the history of their country and an appreciation of the treasures of literature, and sure to give to Williams College an enviable position through its possession of such an unusual collection among American educational institutions.


Copyright © 2009 by the President and Trustees of Williams College
This page was last updated on 16 September 2009