This collection pertains only to Chester Williams' time as Dean.  For his presidential records, see his presidential collection page. This collection is organized into the following twelve series:

  1. Correspondence
  2. Department Files
  3. Curriculum Records
  4. Funds/Scholarships/Gifts
  5. Special Events
  6. Subject Files
  7. External Files
  8. Writings
  9. Concert Programs
  10. Photographs
  11. Scrapbooks/Newspaper clippings
  12. Musical Compositions

The Correspondence series is divided into three subseries: General Correspondence; NEC Correspondence; and Personal Correspondence. The General correspondence spans the years 1961-2001, with the majority dating from the 1990s. The NEC correspondence consists of letter and memoranda to/from NEC faculty members and administrators. The personal correspondence is split into two folders, the first covers the years 1937, 1966-1986 and the second the years 1988-2003. Some of this personal correspondence is from NEC alumni, including Mildred Miller and Barbara Dinger Jacobsen. Enclosed with Miller’s correspondence are three press photos of herself inscribed to Williams.

The Administrative Department series includes only three folders consisting of materials from the Admissions Office, the Health Services Department, and the Libraries.

The Curriculum Records include files concerning academic policies, the doctoral program at NEC, the Kodaly program, the Orff-Schulwerk program, the NEC Summer School and the music theory department.

There are several folders concerning various loan funds, scholarship funds, and gifts. Many of these files contain student loan agreement forms.  There is also one folder which documents non-monetary donations to the Conservatory.

Two of the Special Event files document NEC Commencements primarily during Williams’ tenure as Dean Emeritus. These files include planning materials and correspondence concerning honorary degree candidates. The first of these includes materials from the 1958 and 1976-1992 Commencements.  The second continues with the years 1994-1999.  The other special event folders contain papers relating to two occasions in Chester Williams’ career: his 25th anniversary at NEC (1971) and a tribute to him upon his formal retirement as Dean in 1976. Additional correspondence relating to the 25th Anniversary tribute for Williams can be found in the Scrapbook series.

Dean Williams’ Subject Files contain much historical information concerning a number of topics. Included is information regarding the instruments owned by or donated to NEC, the Carr Organ room, NEC’s collection of paintings/other artwork, the Voice of Firestone Collection. This series also contains Faculty Protocol lists compiled by Williams, which document by year when faculty members started teaching at NEC. There are also a few other historical lists including one of honorary doctorate recipients and another of Chadwick medal recipients. Also contained in this series is one folder of information about a few NEC alumni (including Christopheren Nomura, Elwyn Adams, Joseph Roche, ; biographical information about Williams; materials relating to sororities / fraternities at NEC, and the Vuillaume Violin Competition.

The External Files series consists of materials relating to or correspondence with organizations out side of NEC in which Williams was involved.  Among the organizations covered are the Association of Independent Colleges of Music, the National Association of Schools of Music, the Fenway Group, the Institute of International Education, and the Harvard Musical Association.

There are four folders in the Writings series. The first contains notes, drafts, and a final copy of the paper “The Woodwind Instruments” that Williams wrote while he was a student at Harvard University. The second folder contains the Musical examples booklet and the teacher’s manual (written by Williams) for “Understanding Music: The Wiscasset Music Listening Course, Section 5.” There is a compact disc that accompanies this teacher’s manual.  Also found in this series is a complete typewritten draft of Williams’ book, Indeed, Music, which was published in 1989. The last folder in this series contains speeches, tributes, recollections primarily written by Williams. These include tributes to Miklos Schwalb, Lucille Monaghan, Lorna Cooke de Varon, William Hibbard (Outstanding Alumni award), Shelby Harrington (registrar), Mildred Collins (Business manager), Roger Voisin, Leta Whitney, J. Stanley Ballinger and Larry Lesser. Also included is the text of Williams’ talk given at the 100th anniversary of the Beneficent Society, Founders Day remarks (1992), a Preparatory School graduation address, an outline of Frederick Converse’s career at NEC, and Williams’ recollections of events that had taken place in Jordan Hall. Lastly this folder contains tributes to Wallace Goodrich and Arthur Foote written by Homer Humphrey.    

The Concert programs series includes several folders of programs from various parts of Williams’ life. In addition to concert and commencement programs from NEC, there are also programs from Grinnell College (1929-1936), Harvard University (1937), Cornell College (1939-1945), Wellesley College (1955), and the Community Chorus of Wayland, Weston, and Sudbury (1949-1958).  Additional concert programs can be found in the Scrapbook series.

There are two folders of photographs in the Dean Williams collection.  Subjects include: Williams, Peter Row, Gunther Schuller, Harrison Keller, Raymond Jackson, Coretta Scott King, McHenry Boatwright, Scatman Crothers, The Bordeleaus ensemble, Cooper Drum and Bugle Corps, 1935, Harvey Phillips, Ivana Themmen, Lorraine DiSimone, Flossie Dunn, Laurence Lesser, Charles Munch, Howard Hanson, and Lorna Cooke deVaron

The Scrapbook series consists of three scrapbooks and one guestbook. The largest of the scrapbooks contains programs dating from 1932-1938. A smaller scrapbook from 1953 primarily includes correspondence to Williams.  A folder contains the contents of what was another scrapbook, containing congratulatory correspondence to Dean Williams on the occasion of his 25th Anniversary at NEC. There is also a guestbook containing the signatures of the attendees of the release party for Williams’ book, Indeed Music. Finally there is a small collection of newspaper clippings included in this series, mostly dating from the 1930s.

There are two musical compositions in this collection, both dedicated to Chet Williams. The first is photocopy of a manuscript for the Duet for Viola and French Horn by B. (Betsy) Warren. A cassette recording accompanies the music. The second work in this collection is Numina V….(1988): A Williams Fanfare by Thomas Oboe Lee. This copy is inscribed by the composer.