NW Quadrant, East of Rock Creek, African American, Harlem Renaissance Era, Howard University, Also of Interest

Edward Christopher Williams
(1871 - December 24, 1929)

912 Westminster St. NW, Shaw neighborhood, DC.

The first African American professional librarian in the nation, Williams was head librarian at Western Reserve University, Principal of M Street High School (from 1909 to 1916), and University Librarian of Howard University (from 1916 to 1929).

Williams is the author of three plays, all written in the 1920s, The Exile, Sheriff's Children, and The Chasm. He also wrote short stories, articles, and poems. Between January 1925 and June 1926 he serialized an epistolary novel in The Messenger, called "Letters of Davy Carr, a True Story of Colored Vanity Affair." This novel was posthumously published as When Washington Was in Vogue (2003).

Williams was active in a number of DC cultural societies, including the Mu-So-Lit Club, the Drama Committee of the NAACP, and the Literary Lovers. He was fluent in five languages. When he died at age 58, Williams was completing a PhD at Columbia University.


Humanities Council of Washington, "Wide Enough for Our Ambition: D.C.'s Segregated African American Schools (1807 - 1954)"