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William Chaney Papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: LU-MS-118
This collection documents the research, teaching, and service of William Chaney, professor of history at Lawrence University from 1952 until his death in 2013. Box 1 contains articles and biographical information, recordings and transcripts of an oral history with Chaney, speeches, published papers, book reviews, book drafts, programs, and photographs. Boxes 2-4 contain primarily course materials, including lecture notes and syllabi; texts of speeches given at campus events; research materials and publications; and personal correspondence and photographs.


  • 1958-2013


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Lawrence University does not hold the copyright for all materials in this collection. Uses beyond those allowed for fair use under U. S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) require the researcher to secure permission from the copyright holder.


5.00 Linear Feet

Biographical or Historical Information

An iconic figure in the college’s history, William Chaney was hired by President Nathan Pusey and joined the history department in 1952. He was appointed the George McKendree Steele Professor of Western Culture in 1966 and was honored in 1973 as the first recipient of Lawrence’s Uhrig Award for Excellence in Teaching. Although he “retired” after 47 years in 1999, he continued to annually teach a class First and Third Terms until his death at age 90 in 2013. His 61-years of teaching was the second-longest tenure in the college’s history. His students numbered in the thousands, many of whom followed in his footsteps to become historians. He was a frequent instructor at Lawrence’s London Centre and on tours of England with students, would famously pick out a random date from the 1100s or 1200s and tell them what happened on that specific day. He was a legendary lecturer who captivated his audience, whether in the classroom, a Bjorklunden seminar room or at an alumni event. Chaney earned his bachelor’s and doctorate degrees at the University of California-Berkeley and was a Fellow of the Society of Fellows at Harvard University. He was the author of the book “The Cult of Kingship in Anglo-Saxon England” and contributed dozens of articles and reviews to professional journals. [Excerpted/adapted from Lawrence University news article by Rick Peterson, 2013-03-15.]

Arrangement Note

4 boxes

Method of Acquisition

Materials in Box 1 were donated by William Chaney circa 1970. Materials in Boxes 2-4 were donated by Chaney's executor, Jon Vanden Heuvel, in 2013. Two items - George M. Steele Professorship in Western Culture certificate (1965) and oak planting ceremony photograph album (1995) - donated by Peter Roop '73, 2014-11-21.
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Repository Details

Part of the Lawrence University Archives Repository

Seeley G. Mudd Library
113 South Lawe Street
Appleton WI 54911 US
(920) 832-6753