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Williams, Henry Beates, 1907-1987



Henry B. Williams was born on August 30, 1907, in Philadelphia, PA. He graduated from the Pennsylvania Museum School of Industrial Art in 1928 and went on to study under George Pierce Baker at the Yale Drama School. In 1931, Williams joined the faculty of Dartmouth College as an instructor in the English department; he also served as designer and technical director for the Dartmouth Players. During World War II, he joined the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, became an expert in camouflage design, and was discharged with the rank of Captain. Returning to the college in 1946, Williams was appointed Director of Experimental Theater. He received his Adjunct in Arts degree from Harvard University in 1947, for work done during a summer session, and was awarded a MFA from Yale in 1948. He was promoted to full professor and granted tenure in 1950. During the 1950s and 1960s, Williams traveled widely in Europe and Japan, studying the theater traditions of several countries. He became fascinated with the Noh, Kabuki and Bunraku traditional theaters of Japan, and brought back the knowledge and materials to start a course in Japanese theater at Dartmouth. In 1962, he supervised the first drama majors at Dartmouth and helped create a separate Drama Department in 1967. Williams was president of the American Educational Theater Association from 1967-1968, and was elected a member of the body's College of Fellows in 1969. He directed a symposium on the American theater for the American College Theater Festival in 1969, and in 1971, became President of the National Association of School in Theater. He was a member of the American National Theater and Academy, the American Society for Theater Research, and the New England Theater Conference. Williams retired from Dartmouth College in 1972. In 1973, he returned to Dartmouth to teach a course in the American theater, and also taught briefly at the University of Connecticut, Smith College, and Purdue University in Indiana. In 1978, he received the American Theater Association's Award of Merit for distinguished service to educational theater. In addition, Williams researched and wrote articles on early theater at Dartmouth for the "Dartmouth College Library Bulletin," and in 1983, he was honored by the dedication of the Williams/Watson Theater Collection. Williams died in 1987. His book, "Theater at Dartmouth, 1769-1914," was published posthumously.

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

Henry B. Williams papers

Identifier: ML-69
Date(s): 1924 to 1987

Henry B. Williams (1907-1987), theater scholar and teacher. The collectiong consists of papers relating to his career teaching drama and theater at several institutions, particularly Dartmouth College, as well as material related to his service in the US Corps of Engineers and his interest in theater in other countries, especially Japan. A collection of costume and set design is also included.

Oral History Interview with Henry Williams.

Identifier: DOH-210
Date(s): 1975-09-09 to 1975-09-19

Henry Williams, Professor of English and Drama Emeritus 1931-1972. Oral history interview documenting his career at Dartmouth College.