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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 1243: T-600

Papers of Marjorie Williams, 1951-2019


Published and unpublished writings, biographical information, journals, and other materials documenting Marjorie Williams's personal life and work as a journalist.


  • 1951-2019


Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research, with the exception of #9.1-9.2 and 9.6, which are closed until January 1, 2062, as per the agreement between Timothy Noah and the Schlesinger Library. Researchers must contact Research Services for access to audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Marjorie Williams is held by Timothy Noah. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


5 linear feet ((12 file boxes) plus 2 audiotapes)

The papers of Marjorie Williams contain published and unpublished writings by Williams, mostly consisting of political profiles she wrote for The Washington Post and Vanity Fair; personal and professional correspondence; biographical information; journals; and other materials documenting Williams's personal life and work as a journalist. Also included are journals, writings, correspondence, and medical records relating to her terminal liver cancer diagnosis. Materials document her cancer treatments, including chemotherapy and other drug regimens; the effectiveness of the treatments; side effects from the treatments, including mouth sores, exhaustion, and body aches; the advantages she has in her treatment due to her comfortable financial situation, inclusive insurance coverage, and being trained in a profession that provided her with skills in analyzing information and asking questions, and having a strong support network of family and friends. Materials also document her thoughts on dying, her indecision on how to explain her illness and prognosis to her young children, and her concerns and regrets over leaving her husband and children to navigate the future without her. Folder titles were created by Marjorie Williams and Timothy Noah. Folders were arranged alphabetically by the archivist.


Journalist and editor Marjorie Williams, daughter of editor Alan Williams and Beverly Williams, was born January 13, 1958, in Princeton, New Jersey. She entered Radcliffe College as a member of the Class of 1979 but dropped out after her junior year. She worked as an assistant to editor Joni Evens until 1986, when she began working as an editor for the Washington Post. A year later, she became a reporter for the paper's Style section. Williams also wrote articles for Vanity Fair, conducted online dialogs with authors for Slate, and wrote book reviews for Washington Monthly. In 2000, she became an op-ed columnist for the Washington Post. She married Timothy Noah in 1990; they had two children, William and Alice. In 2002, Williams was diagnosed with liver cancer. She died of the disease on January 16, 2005. Two anthologies of her writings were edited by her husband and published after her death; The Woman at the Washington Zoo (2005) and Reputation: Portraits in Power (2008).

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 2022-M207

The papers of Marjorie Williams were given to the Schlesinger Library by Timothy Noah in December 2022.

Processing Information

Processed: July 2023

By: Johanna Carll with assistance from Janin I. Escobedo Garcia

The Schlesinger Library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.  Finding aids may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Williams, Marjorie, 1958-2005. Papers of Marjorie Williams, 1951-2019: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by the Alice Jeannette Ward Fund.

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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