School colors and origins thereof
Williams' primary school color is purple.The story goes that at the Williams-Harvard baseball game in 1869, spectators, watching from carriages, had trouble
telling the teams apart (there were no uniforms) so one of the onlookers bought ribbons from a nearby millinery store to pin on
Williams' players. The only color available was purple. The buyer was Jennie
Jerome (later Winston Churchill's mother) whose family
summered in Williamstown.Williams' other color is gold, purple's complementary
color, which is why most team uniforms and paraphernalia have purple and a form of gold or yellow as the two dominant
The Williams college mascot, formally established by a vote of the student body in 1907, is a purple cow. This peculiar mascot
has several possible sources:- Gelett Burgess's nonsense poem:- Another possible source of the mascot is the color of the surrounding mountains, which often appear purple in the light of
the setting sun (but which don't really resemble cows).- A humor magazine in the early 20th Century was named "The Purple Cow."
Williams claims the first alma mater
song written by an undergraduate, "The Mountains", which was written by Washington Gladden of the
class of 1859.
There are several Williams publications produced by students each year. The longest running student newspaper is the Williams Record which is a weekly
broadsheet paper produced every Tuesday. Several other newspapers have been
founded over the years, but none have survived as long as the Record.The student yearbook is called the Gulielmensian (named after the Latin word for
Williams). It has been irregularly published in the past decade, but dates back to the mid 19th century.Numerous smaller campus publications of a literary nature are also produced each year, including a campus humor magazine and
collections of poetry.
At the end of every semester since 1966, the Williams College radio station has hosted an all-night, 8-hour trivia contest.
Teams of students, alumni, professors and others compete to answer questions on any number of subjects, identify songs, and
perform a variety of unnecessary tasks. The winning team's only prize is the obligation to create and host the following
semester's contest. It is the oldest continuous competition of its sort in the United States. Further history and details are
available at an