This collection contains correspondence related to Reverend Thomas Williams of Providence, Rhode Island, and to his son, Nathan W. Williams, who attended Yale and later became a preacher in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. Nathan received 7 letters from friends, 5 from his father, 2 from his brother Thomas, 1 from his sister Sarah, and 1 from his brother Stephen. He also wrote 2 letters to his sister Mary, 2 to his father, and 1 to the Congregational Church at Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. The remaining items include 1 letter Reverend Thomas Williams wrote to his wife Ruth, 2 letters he received from his daughter Sarah, and 1 from his son Thomas.
Reverend Thomas Williams and his son Nathan exchanged 7 letters between December 19, 1849, and November 11, 1850. In 5 letters to Nathan, Thomas Williams shared family news from Providence, Rhode Island, including travel plans and updates on Nathan's siblings and their families. Nathan, in return, wrote about his wife, Frances, and daughter, Anna, describing a "donation party" held for them by his congregation in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts (January 15, 1850). In his letter of November 11, 1850, Nathan was concerned that his sister Mary and her husband "Mr. Grover" were planning to travel to the South for her health and discussed the drawbacks at length. Thomas Williams also wrote one letter to his wife Ruth while living in Foxboro, Massachusetts (May 6, 1816), and received letters from two of his children. In his April 19, 1839 letter, Thomas Hale Williams wrote of his attempts to find a place to live in Hartford, Connecticut, and drew the floor plan of one of the possible choices. Sarah Williams Cotton wrote of her first week of married life in Pomfret, Connecticut (April 29, 1850), and of a visit to her brother Nathan (October 24, 1850).
Nathan W. Williams also received letters from his classmates at Yale College, as well as from his siblings. One acquaintance, Benjamin T. Eames, thanked Williams for sending information on Yale's entry requirements (July 6, 1839), and another, M. Patten, mentioned raising money to pay for Nathan's tuition (January 5, 1842). William S. Huggins, a former classmate, wrote 3 letters between 1849 and 1850, in which he provided news of his recent travels to Washington, D. C., where he witnessed a speech by the Speaker of the House (February 20, 1850), and to western New York and Niagara Falls (October 19, 1850). In the summer of 1849, Nathan's brother Thomas wrote two letters concerning books, and Nathan wrote twice to his sister Mary in Philadelphia, describing his social life and hoping to meet her in New York City (January 4, 1842, and May 8, 1842). Sarah Williams (later Cotton) also corresponded with her brother and sister-in-law (February 6, 1850), as did Nathan's brother Stephen (August 16, 1851).
Nathan Williams also wrote a response to the call from the Congregational Church in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, on January 29, 1849, provisionally accepting a position as the church's pastor but requesting vacation periods and a visit to the town.
The collection also includes three framed, silhouette style paintings of Nathan W. Williams and his parents, Thomas and Ruth, by artist Edward Seager. The Nathan Williams portrait is dated May 1834; his parents' silhouette portraits are undated.