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William Small (1734-1775) taught at William & Mary from 1758 to 1764. Born in Carmyllie, Forfarshire, Scotland, he was educated at Marsichal College (University of Aberdeen).

In 1963, the science building was named Small Hall in honor of Professor Small.

Thomas Jefferson said of Small:

"It was my great good fortune, and what probably fixed the destinies of my life that Dr. Wm. Small of Scotland was then professor of Mathematics, a man profound in most of the useful branches of science, with a happy talent of communication, correct and gentlemanly manners & an enlarged and liberal mind."

A portrait of William Small from the 18th century by Tilly Kettle, a member of the esteemed British Royal Academy, is in the collection of the Muscarelle Museum of Art at William & Mary in Virginia.

Material in the SCRC

  • Photographs P1979.209, 1986.39
  • William Small Collection
  • Letter, Stephen Hawtrey, Brick Court, London, 26 March 1765, to Edward Hawtrey, Exeter, Devon, containing a short description of the College and of the professorship of William Small at the College; Edward Hawtrey Folder, University Archives Faculty Alumni File Collection.
  • Martin Clagett, William Small, 1734-1775 : teacher, mentor, scientist, Thesis (Ph. D.)--Virginia Commonwealth University, 2003. Also available in Archives Books: call number: LD6051 .W518 S53 2003.
  • James Patrick Muirhead, James Watt, William Small, The origin and progress of the mechanical inventions of James Watt; illustrated by his correspondence with his friend and the specifications of his patents, TA140 .W3 A2 V.1

Additional Material

  • Herbert L. Ganter, "William Small, Thomas Jefferson's Beloved Teacher," William & Mary Quarterly, 3d. series, 4 (1947): 505-511, provides an account of Small's years at William & Mary.
  • Dumas Malone, Jefferson, the Virginian, Boston: Little Brown and Company, 1948, for Small's influence on Jefferson, 51-55. .


  • SCRC File.


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A note about the contents of this site

This website contains the best available information from known sources at the time it was written. Unfortunately, many of the early original records of William & Mary were destroyed by fires, military occupation, and the normal effects of time. The information in this website is not complete, and it changes as we continue to research and uncover new sources.