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Anne D. Williams papers

 Collection — Box: 1-41
Identifier: 2020.williams
The Anne D. Williams papers contain decades of carefully filed and annotated research materials (including notes, reference, correspondence, photographs, and more) on various companies, independent puzzle-makers, puzzle collectors, and related people/topics. Information on puzzle companies in this collection dates back to the late 18th century and continues through 2020. Additional scope and content information can be found in the “Contents List” section of this finding aid.

The Anne D. Williams papers are arranged in one series. The materials are housed in 40 archival document boxes, one oversized document box, and one oversized folder.


  • 1789 - 2020
  • Majority of material found within 1980 - 2006



The materials in this collection are primarily in English, with instances of French, German, and Japanese.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection is open for research use by staff of The Strong and by users of its library and archives. Though the donor has not transferred intellectual property rights (including, but not limited to any copyright, trademark, and associated rights therein) to The Strong, she has given permission for The Strong to make copies in all media for museum, educational, and research purposes.


22 Linear Feet (40 archival document boxes, 1 oversized document box, 1 oversized folder)


The Anne D. Williams papers contain decades of compiled research (notes, reference, correspondence, photographs, and other documentation) on various companies, independent puzzle-makers, puzzle collectors, and more. The bulk of the materials are dated between 1980 and 2006.

Biographical Note

Anne D. Williams, Professor Emerita of Economics at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, is a preeminent jigsaw puzzle historian and collector.

Williams has conducted decades of research and written numerous publications on jigsaw puzzle history; she has also appeared on many national television programs and in local news features on puzzles. Williams joined the Association of Game and Puzzle Collectors (AGPC) as a Charter Member, and she received the 2007 AGPC Spilsbury Award as an acknowledgment of her contributions to the AGPC and for being the “world’s foremost expert on jigsaw puzzles.” Williams’ books include Jigsaw Puzzles: An Illustrated History and Price Guide (1990) and The Jigsaw Puzzle: Piecing Together a History (2004).

System of Arrangement

Series I: Research and reference files, 1789-2020

Custodial History

The Anne D. Williams papers were donated to The Strong as a gift of Anne D. Williams. The papers were accessioned by The Strong in four accession lots from Williams, including Object ID 117.11039 (December 2017), Object ID 118.7367 (July 2018) Object ID 119.2691 (May 2019), and Object ID 121.5951 (August 2021). The papers were received from Williams in 15 boxes.

Related Materials

In 2014, The Strong acquired more than 7,000 jigsaw puzzles from Anne D. Williams, including examples from nearly all American and European puzzle-makers from the 18th century to the present.

The Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play houses hundreds of jigsaw puzzle company trade catalogs and flyers within its library stacks, the majority of which were donated to the research library by Anne D. Williams in 2011 and 2013. The archives also holds the Anne D. Williams collection of jigsaw puzzle videos, 1983-2011.

Processed by

Julia Novakovic, November 2019-February 2020, August 2021
Finding Aid to the Anne D. Williams Papers, 1789-2020
Julia Novakovic
27 August 2021
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play at The Strong Repository

The Strong
One Manhattan Square
Rochester NY 14607 USA
585.423.1886 (Fax)