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COLLECTION Identifier: HUM 126

George Williamson personal archive Digital


George Williamson, a member of the Harvard College Class of 1905, was the first Harvard alumnus to die while serving in the First World War. The archive consists of letters Williamson wrote while a Harvard undergraduate, military medals awarded to him, and letters documenting his wartime service.


  • 1903-1921


Language of Materials


Collection Access

The George Williamson personal archive is open for research use.


0.2 cubic feet (1 box)

The archive consists of nine whimsically illustrated letters written by Williamson to his younger sister Marjorie. The letters were written in approximately 1903 to 1904 while Williamson was an undergraduate at Harvard. The letters contain few references to Williamson’s Harvard experiences, focusing instead on his sister’s experiences at school, family news, and popular culture such as songs and plays. Most of the letters are undated. The collection also contains a letter written to Marjorie about Williamson by his friend “Jack” (circa 1914) to Marjorie after Jack's death, and three World War I medals and decorations issued to Williamson’s widow after the end of the war (circa 1921) along with related correspondence. The medals include the Victory medal and ribbon, the silver British War medal and ribbon, and the 1914 Star clasp, which reads “5th Aug. -22nd Nov. 1914.”

Biographical note

George Williamson, lawyer, was born in London on September 26, 1883, to Charles James and Martha Lauretta (Long) Williamson. He prepared for college at St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire and received his Harvard AB in 1905. Following graduation, Williamson attended Oxford University as a member of Christ Church where he remained for only a short time before entering London's Inner Temple to study law. While in England, he joined the Duke of Wellington's West Riding Regiment. Williamson passed the bar in January 1910. Later that year he married Hilda Isabel Gordon of Montreal; they had one daughter, Hazel. Following his marriage, Williamson began working in a Montreal law firm.

At the outbreak of World War I, he rejoined his regiment in England. Williamson was wounded in battle on November 8, 1914, and died on November 12. He was the first Harvard graduate to die in the war.

Arrangement of the collection

This collection is arranged in two groups.

  1. Letters and drawings from George Williamson to Marjorie Williamson, circa 1903-1904
  2. World War I medals and related correspondence, circa 1914-1921

Acquisition note

Received 10/22/2011 from Erle Randall, great nephew of George Williamson.

Medals and correspondence received in accession 18420; Photograph received in accession 18459.

Online access

The George Williamson personal archive has been digitized in its entirety and is available online.

Related archival materials

The Harvard University Archives also holds the archive of the Harvard College class of 1905 (HUD 305.xx).

Inventory update

This document last updated 2016 June 3.

Processing note

This collection was processed in 2012 by Juliana Kuipers. Processing involved a collection survey, re-housing in appropriate archival folders and boxes, and the creation of this finding aid. All titles were devised by the archivist.

Williamson, George, 1883-1914. George Williamson personal archive: an inventory
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Harvard University Archives Repository

Holding nearly four centuries of materials, the Harvard University Archives is the principal repository for the institutional records of Harvard University and the personal archives of Harvard faculty, as well as collections related to students, alumni, Harvard-affiliates and other associated topics. The collections document the intellectual, cultural, administrative and social life of Harvard and the influence of the University as it emerged across the globe.

Pusey Library
Harvard Yard
Cambridge MA 02138 USA
(617) 495-2461