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Geosciences Department records

 Record Group
Identifier: RG-033

Scope and Contents

Department of Geosciences records include an archived version of the website that documents listings of faculty, information for students, material regarding policy and procedure, and history of the department. Restricted faculty and grant records are also part of the grouping.


  • Creation: 1990 - 9999

Conditions Governing Access

Unrestricted Geoscience Department records are open for research. Grant records and faculty records are available to office of origin and senior staff. Researchers are encouraged to contact Special Collections staff prior to a visit.

Conditions Governing Use

In consultation with Special Collections staff, reproductions of unrestricted material may be made upon request. Material in these records may be subject to copyright.

Biographical / Historical

Geology has been taught at Williams since 1817, when it became only the 5th college in the country to teach the subject. It was introduced to the curriculum by Amos Eaton, a pioneering geologist, botanist and educator. Eaton, Williams class of 1799, is famous for developing teaching methods that focused on “the application of science to the common purposes of life.” Whereas most teachers of the time lectured and demonstrated to students, in Eaton’s classes students learned by doing. His students went on field trips, ran experiments, and gave lectures. Although Eaton taught only briefly at Williams, his legacy has infused and enriched the college ever since. He went on to found the Rensselaer School, later renamed Renssenaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, NY.

By the start of the 20th century geology had outgrown its previous association with natural history, botany, and even mathematics. The Department of Geology and Mineralogy was established in 1906, and a major with the same name was created in 1920. In 1996 the department name was changed to “Geosciences,” to reflect our growing interest in the oceans and climate change in addition to the solid earth. From 1882 to 1908 the department was housed in the first Clark Hall which was located in the Berkshire Quad near where Prospect House now stands. It was named for Edward Clark, Class of 1831, a prominent lawyer who later became president of the Singer Sewing Machine Co. (One of his grandsons was Robert Sterling Clark, for whom the Clark Art Institute was named.) The present Clark Hall was erected on its current site on Main Street in 1908. Much of the newer structure was devoted to museum space (from the main floor to the skylight), until the building was extensively renovated in the late 1970’s to provide additional classroom, lab, and office space.


1 Website volumes (website)

Language of Materials



Department of Geosciences records are arranged chronologically by accession number.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Records from the Geosciences Department are transferred in accordance to their records retention schedule.

Geosciences Department records
In Progress
Drmacich, Jessika
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Williams College Archives Repository

Sawyer Library
26 Hopkins Hall Drive
Williamstown, MA 01267