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COLLECTION Identifier: Arch GA 94

Charles M. Williams papers


Teaching and research records of HBS professor Charles M. Williams.


  • Creation: 1933-1986


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Materials stored onsite. HBS Archives collections require a secondary registration form, please contact for more information.

Due to the fragility of audiovisual materials and the difficulty with play back, researchers must work with digital copies rather than with the original recordings. Digital use copies for items that have been digitized are available via streaming access to the Harvard community. All other researchers should contact to request access.

Please note that digital use copies have not been created for every item listed in this finding aid.

Digital use copies have not been made for audiovisual material in this collection. Collection restrictions, copyright limitations, or technical complications may hinder Special Collections' ability to provide access to audiovisual content. For further information please contact reference staff at


33 linear feet (65 boxes)

This collection contains the research and teaching records of Harvard Business School professor Charles M. Williams. Materials include biographical information, correspondence, newspaper and magazine clippings, research notes, seminar materials, rough drafts of published HBS cases, lecture notes, and audio recordings.

Biographical / Historical

Charles Marvin Williams was a preeminent authority on finance and commercial banking. He was a beloved professor at Harvard Business School (HBS)where, according to numerous students that later became HBS faculty members, he perfected the case method style of teaching. Williams was born in West Virginia in 1917. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from Washington and Lee University in history and economics in 1937 and a Master in Business Administration from Harvard University in 1939. After graduating, Williams worked at the Manufacturers Trust Company in New York City for two years before volunteering for active duty in the United States Navy.

He was commissioned an ensign and enrolled in the U.S. Navy Supply Corps School at Harvard Business School. Upon completion of the program, Williams was stationed on the aircraft carrier USS Lexington as a paymaster. After the sinking of the USS Lexington, Williams was assigned shore duty and taught at the HBS Naval Supply Corps School and the Navy ROTC program at the University of Michigan. He was discharged from the Navy in 1947 with the rank of Lt. Commander, and joined the HBS faculty as an assistant professor. He earned his doctorate in commercial science in 1951 from HBS and was promoted to associate professor. He became a full tenured professed in 1956.

In addition to teaching MBA classes, Williams was involved in HBS Executive Education programs including the School’s International Senior Management Program and the Management of Financial Institutions course. Through the American Bankers Association, Williams led seminars and conferences for bankers at some of the nation’s largest banks. He also taught the Senior Bank Officers Seminar for presidents of small banks. He served as the Edmund Cogswell Converse Professor of Finance and Banking from 1960-1966 and the George Gund Professor of Commercial Banking from 1966 to his death. Williams died in 2011.

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Charles M. Williams papers (A-90-11, A-14-009, A-14-021) were received by Baker Library Special Collections as a transfer in 1990 and as a transfer from the Senior Faculty Center in 2014.

Williams, Charles M. (Charles Marvin). Charles M. Williams Papers, 1933-1986: A Finding Aid
Ben Johnson
November 2018
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Baker Library Special Collections and Archives, Harvard Business School Repository

Baker Library Special Collections and Archives holds unique resources that focus on the evolution of business and industry, as well as the records of the Harvard Business School, documenting the institution's development over the last century. These rich and varied collections support research in a diverse range of fields such as business, economic, social and cultural history as well as the history of science and technology.

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