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Williston Walker


Centurion, 1903–1922

Born 1 July 1860 in Portland, Maine

Died 9 March 1922 in New Haven, Connecticut

Buried Grove Street Cemetery, New Haven, Connecticut

Proposed by George Park Fisher and Franklin H. Giddings

Elected 6 June 1903 at age forty-two

Century Memorial

Williston Walker will be remembered alike for his work in colonial and church history and for his important service since 1919 as Provost of Yale University; an office second in authority and responsibility only to that of the President. Himself an alumnus of Amherst and during thirteen years trustee of that college, his historical and administrative achievement raised him to eminence early in his professional career. His “John Calvin,” written in 1909 with a view to the fourth centenary of the great churchman’s birth, was greeted as a final judgment and was translated into foreign languages. The author, attending the Calvin celebration in Switzerland as a specially invited guest, received as a special distinction from the University of Geneva the doctor of divinity degree, which had already been conferred on him by four American institutions of learning.

Walker’s writings were not limited to church history. He was a high authority on New England’s colonial experiences, member of half a dozen historical societies, editor and frequent contributor to the American Historical Review and, not least of all, a notable instructor. With those who knew him personally, it is his ingratiating manner which lingers most pleasingly in memory; the precision of his judgment on the great questions of the day, without a trace of arrogance or dogmatism, and his unfailingly cheerful outlook on life and on the world’s political and economic struggles since the war.

Alexander Dana Noyes
1923 Century Association Yearbook