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Homer B. Williams Papers - MS 99

Introduction | Biographical Sketch | Scope and Content | Series Description | Inventory


The Homer B. Williams Papers largely consists of speeches and addresses given by Williams while he served as the first president of Bowling Green State University from 1912 to 1937. Also included in the collection are notes taken for his speeches, papers prepared for meetings of the Town and Gown Club, and news clippings on the growth and development of Bowling Green State University.

The Homer B. Williams Papers were part of the University Archives when the Archives was placed under the administration of the Center for Archival Collections in 1977. No restrictions exist on the research use of this collection and duplication is permitted. The collection was processed and finding aid prepared by Ann Bowers in August 1999.

Biographical Sketch

Homer B. Williams was born to John and Mary (Secrest) Williams on October 16, 1865, in Mt. Ephraim, Ohio. After graduating from high school, he entered Ohio Northern and received a bachelor of Arts degree from that institution. He continued his education at Baldwin-Wallace and completed graduate degrees there and at Columbia University in New York City.

His career as a teacher started in the rural and village schools in 1885 and he quickly moved from teaching to more administrative positions. He was superintendent of schools at Dunkirk, Ohio from 1887 to 1889. He served successively in similar capacities at various Ohio school districts: Caldwell (1889-1992), Kenton (1892-1894) and Cambridge (1894-1898), before being appointed as superintendent at Sandusky, a position he held until 1912. In May of 1912, Williams accepted the position of president of the newly organized normal college in Bowling Green, Ohio. He remained president until his retirement in 1937. He was named as head of the Bureau of Alumni Relations and then returned as interim president in 1938 when the current president, Dr. Offenhauer, was killed in an automobile accident. He then stepped down when the next president, Frank Prout, was hired in 1939. When Williams retired, the institution had grown from a normal school to a state university, from an original faculty of 15 to one numbering over one hundred, and a student enrollment of 153 to that of over 1800. Its campus had grown from the original Administration Building to nine buildings.

While a student at Ohio Northern, Williams met another student, Cora Brewer, and the two were married in 1890. Their children were Lloyd, John, Elbert and Mary Elizabeth. Both were actively involved in the Bowling Green community. Williams took a leadership role within the community, specifically the Methodist Church, Kiwanis, the Town and Gown Club, and the Chamber of Commerce. Williams died on September 22, 1943 and his wife died September 5, 1954.

Scope and Content

The papers of Homer B. Williams largely consist of speeches and addresses given at various functions while president of Bowling Green State University. He was asked to speak often, including assemblies, chapel, faculty meetings and commencements held at the University, as well as at various functions within the Bowling Green community, and throughout Ohio. Many of these speeches and addresses are typewritten, but also included are his handwritten speeches and notes. Of interest are his papers given at Town and Gown Club meetings. This Bowling Green organization, still in existence today, was comprised of university and community men who joined together to study various topics, each with responsibility to research and present papers on assigned topics.

Also included in this collection is biographical information on Williams and news clippings about the university, especially its buildings, and people who were of importance to Williams as well as to the university. For the most part, the papers date from 1928 to 1943.

Series Description


1928-1941, n.d.
Arranged by format and within chronologically
Includes typewritten, handwritten speeches and address as well as notes taken in preparation for various presentations.

Arranged chronologically
Includes papers written by Williams and presented at the Town and Gown Club, a Bowling Green men's organization comprised of Representatives of the university and the community.


Arranged chronologically
Includes news clippings about Williams, biographical information, a tribute, and his obituary.

1920-1942, n.d.
Arranged by topic and within chronologically
Includes information about the university and its buildings, Frank Prout when he was named president in 1939, Daniel Brown, original member of the Board of Trustees, and Clayton Kohl, faculty member and head of the graduate school at the university


Box 1

  1. Formal addresses/speeches given by Williams (Dated)
    • Faculty Esprit De Corps (Faculty Meeting), January 19, 1931
    • Bowling Green State University-A Unit of Ohio's State System of Higher Education, 1932-33?
    • Broadcast on WSPD, January 3, 1935
    • Brief Submitted at Hearing of the Committee on Universities and Colleges Columbus, Ohio, March 26, 1935
    • Honor Society address (Bowling Green High School), April 16, 1936
    • Address given at dinner honoring Edwin Lincoln Moseley, March 30, 1937
    • The Finished Life (Bowling Green High School Commencement), June 3, 1937
    • Some Obligations of a College (Assembly at BGSU), November 17, 1937
    • Father and Son Banquet, Van Wert, Ohio, April 27, 1939
    • Presentation to Shakespeare Club, April 22, 1939
    • Silver Anniversary Celebration introduction of five members of original faculty, June 4, 1939
    • Comments at Perry dinner, June 2, 1941
  2. Formal Addresses/speeches given by Williams (Not Dated)
    • Some little known and forgotten incidents in the history of Bowling Green State University
    • Community Integration
    • Our Changing Constitution
    • Words of Interesting Origin
    • Tunnicliffe Dinner
    • (no title)-about Bowling Green State University
    • Faculty Production
    • On the football stadium
    • Why college students fail
    • Alumni Recognition
  3. Notes/handwritten addresses/speeches given by Williams, 1928-1941, n.d.
  4. Papers given at Town and Gown Club meetings, 1933-1940
  5. Papers, notes, clippings on subject of "Courtesy", 1922, 1940, n.d.
  6. Information about Williams (clippings, bio, tribute), 1939-1943, n.d.
  7. News clippings about Bowling Green State University, 1920-1942, n.d.
  8. News clippings about Frank Prout as new President, March-April 1939
  9. News clippings about death of Clayton Kohl and subsequent gift of his books to the University, 1938-1939
  10. News clippings about Daniel C. Brown, member of first Board of Trustees, 1937

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