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Alfred Williams Anthony papers

Identifier: MC007

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains a variety of material documenting the career of Alfred Williams Anthony, distinguished scholar, teacher and administrator. Included is correspondence, research, drafts and other material related to Anthony's book, Bates College and Its Background; correspondence with Bates faculty and others concerning personal and College-related matters; and correspondence, reports and other material related to the Interdenominational Commission of Maine. Also included in the collection are published and unpublished writings by Anthony; an assortment of financial records of the Free Baptist General Conference and Cobb Divinity School and a biographical sketch of Dr. Anthony done by his daughter. The collection also includes a number of scrapbooks containing newsclippings, articles and pamphlets written by Anthony and others pertaining to Baptist history and Christian-related topics; nature and the natural world; and events and historical material related to Lewiston and Bates College and also of the history of Rhode Island.


  • 1872 - 1996
  • Majority of material found within 1890 - 1938


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

The collection is the physical property of Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library. Bates College holds literary rights only for material created by College personnel working on official behalf of the College, or for material which was given to the College with such rights specifically assigned. For all other material, literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. Researchers are responsible for obtaining permission from rights holders for publication or other purposes that exceed fair use.

Historical Note

Alfred Williams Anthony was born in Providence, Rhode Island on January 13, 1860. His parents were Lewis Williams and Britannia Franklin (Waterman) Anthony. He received an A.B. degree from Brown University in 1883. In 1885, he graduated from the Cobb Divinity School, then affiliated with Bates College and received an A.M. degree from Brown in 1886.

He married Harriet Wyatt Angell in September 1885, and they had two children, Elizabeth Williams and Alfred Williams, Jr. Elizabeth graduated from Bates in 1908. After the death of his wife in 1899, Anthony married Gertrude Brown Libbey in 1903. Daughter of Winfield Scott Libbey and Annie Shaw Libbey, she was a 1901 graduate of Bates College. They had three children, Richard Lewis, Warren Shaw and Charles Sheldon,'36.

After graduating from Cobb Divinity School in 1885, Anthony took the position of pastor of the Essex Street Free Baptist Church in Bangor, Maine. In 1887, he was elected Chair of New Testament Exegesis and Criticism at the Cobb Divinity School, a position he did not initially accept. Instead, from 1888-1890, he studied abroad at Berlin University, returning in 1890, to take the position at the Cobb Divinity School, distinguishing himself as a scholar, teacher, and administrator.

In 1893, he published two articles: "The Fourth Gospel" and "The Gospel of Peter," both of which were well received. In 1893 and 1894, he gave a lecture in the campus chapel entitled "The Newly Discovered Epistle of St. Peter," and he often delivered sermons at the Freewill Baptist Churches in the area. When the Divinity School was discontinued as a department of the College, he was elected the Fullonton Professor of Christian Literature and Ethics at Bates College and served in that capacity for three years (1908-1911).

In 1911, Dr. A nthony officially resigned his position at Bates, after 23 years of service to the College. That same year he accepted a temporary appointment as Joint Secretary for Free Baptist and Baptist union, a position which allowed him to facilitate union at the different levels of both organizations. In 1918, with most of the work on unification finished, he accepted the position of Executive Secretary for the interdenominational Home Missions Council and moved to New York with his family. He remained in that position for five years, resigning in 1923. Although semi-retired he served on several committees of the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America. In 1933, after a slight stroke, he gave up his New York residence and returned to Lewiston.

An author througout his life, Anthony wrote numerous articles and several books including An Introduction to the Life of Jesus (1896) and The Method of Jesus (1899). His last book, Bates College and Its Background, published in 1936 and written at the request of President Clifton D. Gray, detailed the beginnings and development of the College.

Anthony was active in a variety of educational and religious organizations. He served as the corresponding secretary and treasurer of the General Conference of Freewill Baptists and was a member of the Interdenominational Commission of Maine. He also served as the director for the Maine chapter of the Religious Education Association, Chairman of the Committee on Goodwill between Jews and Christians and was a member of the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America. Additionally he was President of the Board of Trustees of Storer College, located in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia and served on the the boards of trustees for Bates College, Hillsdale College and Brown University.

An active civic leader Anthony served on a variety of commissions and boards including the Maine Charities Commission and the Lewiston School Committee. He was appointed by Governor Milliken as a member of the Police Commission for Lewiston.

Dr. Anthony was a noted philanthropist and many institutions and organizations benefitted from his generosity. Of particular note is his donation of land which became the nucleus of the Stanton Bird Club's Thorncrag Bird Sanctuary in Lewiston.

He was awarded an honorary D. D. from Bates in 1902 and from Brown in 1908 and an L.L.D. from Colby College in 1914. After suffering a stroke in 1938, he died at the home of his eldest son on January 20, 1939.


6 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The collection is composed of correspondence, published and unpublished writings, scrapbooks and other material documenting the career of Alfred Williams Anthony, distinguished scholar, teacher and administrator. Included is material related to Anthony's book, Bates College and Its Background, and the Interdenominational Commission of Maine. Also included is material related to his tenure on the Board of Trustees of Bates College and his interest in and writings on a variety of subjects including Christianity, finances and charitable giving, nature, and people and events associated with Lewiston, Maine, Bates College and Rhode Island.

Organization and Arrangement

Organized into six series: I. Bates College and Its Background; II. Correspondence; III. Interdenominational Commission of Maine; IV. Writings; V. Personal and professional material; and VI. Scrapbooks.

Acquisition and Custody Information

No provenance information available. Accession No.: xx-014.

Processing Information

Processed by Sean Monahan, 1997.

Final arrangement and description by Kurt Kuss, Special Collections Librarian, 1998.

New accruals integrated and entire collection reprocessed by Elaine Ardia, 2009

Guide to the Alfred Williams Anthony papers, 1872-1996, n.d.
Edited Full Draft
Elaine Ardia
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Description is in: English
Edition statement

Repository Details

Part of the Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library Repository

70 Campus Avenue
Lewiston Maine 04240 United States of America