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John Williams House, or “J.W.”(or even “Jay Dubs”.. as it’s called), is a single building that embodies a great deal of the Deerfield experience.  

  • The door of John Williams House is the symbol of the Academy. Students pass the door several times a day—especially on their way to and from the Dining Hall and science building.
  • Commencement and Reunions take place in the Great Tent, which is erected directly in front of John Williams House late each spring. Visitors to campus can often be seen taking photos in front of the Deerfield Door.
  • John Williams House was the first dormitory at Deerfield, and it’s first corridor master was Tom Ashley, Class of 1911, who holds a particularly special place in school history.
  • John Williams House is an underclassman boys dormitory, and it has served in that role for decades.  As such, the J.W. common room and dormitory experience is one that is shared across generations of alumni and, to many, represents an archetype for dormitory life at Deerfield.

The Historical John Williams

John Williams (the person) was a Puritan minister and first pastor at Deerfield. He was captured by the Mohawks during the 1704 raid on Deerfield and led to Quebec along with 111 other prisoners. Williams eventually returned to Deerfield in 1706 and recounted his captivity in The Redeemed Captive—a work that is often read in English classes.  John Williams’ daughter, Eunice Williams, remained behind in Quebec and married a Mohawk man. One of her descendants graduated from the Academy in 2013.