July, 1754 – Mohawk sachem “King Hendrick” Theyanoguin (ca. 1691–1755) addressed the Albany Congress. Theyanoguin, allied with the British, warned colonial leaders, including Benjamin Franklin, of French incursions from Canada into British territory. Relationships between France, Britain, and most other European powers had become strained and would lead to the Seven Years War (1754-1763), fought in Europe, the Americas, India, and West Africa. Theyanoguin chastised the British for ignoring the Mohawks and unlawfully taking their lands, risking the loss of critical Indian support:
“You have thus thrown us behind your backs, and disregarded us; whereas the French are subtle and vigilant people, ever using their utmost endeavors to seduce and bring our people over to them…. The governor of Virginia and the governor of Canada are both quarreling over lands which belong to us, and such a quarrel as this may end in our destruction. They fight who shall have the land; the governors of Virginia and Pennsylvania have made paths through our country to trade, and built houses without acquainting us with it; They should have first asked our consent to build there…”
July 22, 1755 – Ephraim Williams, Jr. (1715–1755), military officer and son of a wealthy landowner, included a provision in his will for a school. A dramatization of Williams composing his will is depicted in the mural over the door to this room.
“The interest of my money… Shall be appointed towards the support and maintenance of a free school (in a township west of fort Massachusetts, commonly called the west township), for ever…”
September 8, 1755 – Theyanoguin and Williams died. Theyanoguin commanding approximately 200 Mohawks, and Williams, leading about 1000 British soldiers marched toward Lake George to reinforce British and Mohawk troops fighting French and Indian forces for control of the lake, an important strategic waterway. Their mission failed. A fictional depiction of the planning for their march to Lake George is depicted in the mural above the fireplace in this room.
1784 – Mohawk territory seized by newly formed United States government. Many displaced Mohawk people resettled in Canada where they had negotiated for land with the British, their ally during the American Revolution.
1793 – The Williams Free School provided for by Ephraim Williams becomes Williams College.
November 11, 1794 – The Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy and the United States negotiated the Treaty of Canandaigua. In exchange for goods and money, the Iroquois granted US citizens the right to traverse their lands and create roads for commerce. The United States recognized Six Nations sovereignty and vowed not to settle on Iroquois lands. After Americans gained access to western New York, subsequent, often illegal, treaties reduced Iroquois territory. Many members of the Six Nations relocated to Canada or the upper midwest.
1833 – The first fraternity chapter was founded at the college.
September 1, 1939 – Beginning of World War II
November 15, 1941 – Opening of The Alumni House, later renamed The Log.
Independent students, excluded from fraternity houses for alumni social activities, were thought to particularly benefit from the new space. Stuart J. Templeton, then President of the alumni says: “I believe that this house will fill a real need in Williamstown, and will be of great benefit both to the college and to the alumni. It gives us a place which belongs to the alumni and to which all the alumni belong. I believe it will be a tremendous help in bringing our non-fraternity alumni in closer contact with the college. I have always felt that the non-fraternity men have over-emphasized the importance of the fraternity associations and many have hesitated about coming back to Williamstown because they had no particular place to go. This house corrects that situation and I hope it will be the center of alumni life in Williamstown.”
December 7, 1941 – Attack on Pearl Harbor. US enters WWII
1942 – Painting of the mural representing Ephraim Williams, Colonel Titcombe, Mohawk Leader Hendrick Theyanoguin and Mohawk soldiers on the battlefield. Artist: Stanley Rowland.
June 1945 – Graduation cancelled; only three men in the class of 1945.
1946 – Painting of a second mural in the Black Memorial Room representing Ephraim Williams signing his last will and testament in Albany before embarking on his last military campaign, witnessed by his cousin William Williams.
From the Alumni Review, May 1946: “Mrs. R. Clifford Black, widow of R. Clifford Black ‘00, has made an additional gift of a mural, to be placed opposite the existing mural.”
1952 – Alumni invited current students to use The Log on a limited basis.
1962 – Fraternities abolished at Williams. The college had 17 fraternities at the time; 94% of second, third, and fourth year students dined at fraternity houses and 44% lived in them. Most of the fraternity houses became dorms, and several retain architectural features endemic to fraternity life, including the so-called “goat rooms.” Exclusionary policies and excessive alcohol consumption precipitated the end of fraternities. Williams President John Chandler wrote in his history of fraternities at the college (2014):
“Resistance to fraternities did not reach crisis proportions until the post-World War II period…. By then, the growing diversity of the student body highlighted discrimination by fraternities on the basis of race, religion, and whatever individual characteristics offended the prejudices and sensibilities of fraternity members…”
1973 – Drinking Laws change to 18 years of age. The Log becomes a social space and student pub. Alumni took precedence over students during homecoming, football weekends, and other alumni-focused events.
1983 – Alumni Center completed at the Faculty House. The Log becomes “the exclusive domain of students and their guests.”
1985 – Drinking Laws change to 21. The Log closes as a bar.
1988 – From Friday, April 22 through Sunday April 25, 1988, students belonging to the student group CARE (Coalition Against Racist Education) took over Jenness House — the temporary home of the Dean’s Office. Students of various ethnic, racial, and religious backgrounds came together to demand that the college recognize the need for support for students from underrepresented backgrounds.
2001 – Native American Students at Williams (NASAW) hold a one-week cultural event. The committee has not been able to find with certainty the date this group formed but it had disappeared by 2012.
Summer and Fall 2015 – Log Renovation. Alumni, many from the 1980s, donated the $4,500,000 cost.
November 2015 – The Log Re-Opens as social space, restaurant and bar for students, staff, faculty, alumni, and the public. Vice President for Student Life Steve Klass said: “We found that [students] wanted a place that didn’t feel like a college facility, an informal setting close to campus where all four years of students could socialize, and they wanted it to be open to staff, faculty and the public so they could be part of the overall community.”
November 2015 – A number of students, faculty and staff respond negatively to the presence of the 1942 mural.
November 2015 – President Adam Falk forms a committee to discuss the presence of the 1942 mural at the Log and has the mural covered with plywood while the committee deliberates a recommendation.
December 6, 2015 – Student forum on the mural includes discussion of diversity at the college.
December 2015 – Alumni respond to the covering of the mural. Herbert A. Allen, Jr. ‘62 wrote in a letter to The Record: “President Falk has committed a serious error by censoring a painting in the Log and convening a tribunal to judge the moral value of art objects on the campus. The committee members will be serving on the College’s edition of the old House Un-American Activities Committee. Around the United States, terrified college presidents are running for their lives to stay ahead of intellectual lynch mobs. The Falk effort is an attempt at preemptive escape from the fire of the new righteous.”
April 2016 – The Committee on Campus Space and Institution History hold a viewing of the mural and a student-led community forum.
May 2016 – The Committee on Campus Space and Institution History make a recommendation to the President