From 1866 until 1907 the south faculty apartment of North College was occupied by William Wells, beloved Professor of Modern Languages and Literature, and his family. Mrs. Perkins rather wished that her own daughter’s family could live there, as it was in a more convenient location, but noted that “I should not grudge the old Professor his life, or his house” (November 13, 1900). “Uncle Billy,” as Professor Wells was affectionately nicknamed, was indeed rather old at the time Mrs. Perkins was writing. In 1895, Mrs. Perkins noted that a reception was being held in honor of his 75th birthday and that the ladies of the faculty were sending him seventy-five roses. “He looks very decrepid; Mrs Raymond thinks that as long as Whitehorne [longtime Professor of Greek Language and Literature Henry Whitehorne, who was then 84] holds out he will not leave” (July 11, 1899). Mrs. Perkins was on good terms with Professor Wells’ wife Alice, who enjoyed photography and took pictures of Mrs. Perkins’s garden among other campus sites. In 1899, Mrs. Perkins reported that a group of Cuban students who were on campus learning English were housed in Professor Wells’s section, to his and his wife’s displeasure.

Professor Wells died in 1907, and after his daughter left the apartment in 1909, it was occupied by various professors, staff members, and administrative offices. It is now part of the Messa Minerva House.


One of these images is from the Union College Postcard collection. You can view both front and back of this postcards and more information in our digital collections database on New York Heritage below.


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