Former Preparatory School Teacher, Arrested Two Weeks Ago, Had Home Stocked With Library Books

New developments in the case of Joel C. Williams, accused of the larceny of books valued at $15,000 from the Harvard College Library, came yesterday with the returning of indictments against him by a Middlesex County grand jury on ten counts of larceny and ten counts of receiving stolen goods. He is out now on $500 ball pending a hearing in the Middlesex District Court.

Williams' arrest came two weeks ago as a result of the discovery of an extensive library in his home composed largely of books tentatively identified as belonging to the College Library. At that time C. R. Apted, Superintendent of Caretakers, together with officials of the Library, made a trip to Williams' home and brought back a total of 1804 volumes. The books were locked up on the vaults of the Library to await complete examination and attempts at positive identification.

Turnstiles Check Thefts

Thefts have been going on at the Library over a long period of years, finally resulting in the installation of the turn-styles now in use. Book sellers around Harvard Square had therefore been warned to examine all books presented for sale and Williams' arrest followed an attempt to dispose of two books on which the Library stamp were still visible. Police traced the man to his home, where they came upon the stock of books.

When questioned at police headquarters on the day of his arrest, Williams entered a plea of not guilty. He claimed to have obtained the books from a man whom he knew only as Handpicks and whom he met frequently in Harvard. No attempt was made, however, to prevent the removal of the volumes to the Library.


Williams, a graduate of Boston University, received his master's degree from Harvard in 1909 and was accorded free access to the stacks for further study. It was understood among the attendants at the Library that he was pursuing his studies in preparation for further degrees. Williams has been instructor at various high and preparatory schools in New England, teaching for a time at Groton.