Library of Ben Ames Williams

The personal reference library of Ben Ames Williams was given to Special Collections by his wife, Florence, beginning in 1962. The collection of books comprises over 200 volumes used by Williams to obtain background material for his stories and novels. Many of the volumes contain his handwritten annotations. A wide range of subjects are covered including local New England histories, whaling, geography, fishing, hunting, sailing, the Civil War, published diaries and city and town reports. Together, the volumes convey Williams’ meticulous attention to detail and historical accuracy.

Works consulted:

Annual Report of the Curator of Rare Books. Colbiana Collection. Colby College Special Collections.

Annual Report of the Librarian. Colbiana Collection. Colby College Special Collections.

Ben Ames Williams donor file. Colby College Special Collections.


Books from Williams’ personal library are described in the Colby Libraries web catalog. They are designated with a WILLIAMS prestamp before the call number.


The Ben Ames Williams Collection contains letters, manuscripts, galley proofs, clippings, notebooks, scrapbooks and photographs.