For the twenty-ninth consecutive year on the 4th of July, actors from the Williamstown Theatre Festival will read the Declaration of Independence, the British replies of September and October 1776, and the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution, in conjunction with a display of these and other founding documents of the United States from the collection of the Chapin Library. Actors Eric Bogosian and Jessica Hecht, appearing in the WTF production of Daniel Goldfarb’s Legacy, and Daniel Sharman and Mary Wiseman, appearing in William Inge’s Off the Main Road, will perform beginning at 1:30 p.m. from the south steps of Stetson Hall (Sawyer Library, 26 Hopkins Hall Drive). In the event of rain, the reading will be held in the atrium of Sawyer Library. Original copies of the documents will be on view on July 4th in the Chapin Gallery (Sawyer Room 406) from noon to 1:00 p.m. and from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. Wayne Hammond, Interim Custodian of the Chapin Library, will be on hand to answer questions and put the documents in context. The reading and display are free and open to the public.
Also currently on view in the Chapin Library/College Archives galleries are Chapin Library 1915-2015, commemorating one hundred years since Alfred Clark Chapin (Williams Class of 1869) conceived of a library of rare books and manuscripts for his alma mater; Scholarship and Statesmanship: James Abram Garfield, from the collections of the Williams College Archives; and the Audubon Birds of America “double elephant” folio. – WGH
Shown is the declaration of 19 September 1776 by the King’s Commissioners for Restoring Peace, in reply to the colonists’ declaration of independence from Great Britain. Gift of J. Brooks Hoffman, M.D., Class of 1940.