Students at William & Mary

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This wiki page about Students at the College of William and Mary is a work in progress with information added as staff finds and/or compiles information in response to inquiries. The Alumni page also provides frequently requested information and the list of SCRC Wiki entries categorized as about Students may also be of interest.

Number of Students

1790: 16

1791: 22

1792: 8

1793: 42

1794: 23

1795: 19

1796: 32

1797: 25

1798: 35

1799: 43

1800: 44

1831: 100 undergraduates, 9 law school

1832: 60 undergraduates

1833: 60 undergraduates

1834: 41 undergraduates

1835: 15 undergraduates

1836: 15 undergraduates, 6 law school

1837: 60 undergraduates, 6 law school

1838: 95 undergraduates, 6 law school

1839: 111 undergraduates, 44 law school

1840: 113 undergraduates, 44 law school

1841: 140 undergraduates, 36 law school

1842: 110 undergraduates, 36 law school

1843-1848: 98 undergraduates, 32 law school

1849: 68 undergraduate, 32 law school

1850: 32 law school

1851: 32 law school

1852: 36 undergraduates, 32 law school

1853-1855: 55 undergraduates, 32 law school

1856-1857: 82 undergraduates, 32 law school

1858: 58 undergraduates, 12 law school

1859-1860: 64 undergraduates

1861: 60 undergraduates

1906: 244 (Godson, p. 491)

1907-1916: averaged 208 (Godson, p. 491)

1917: 149 (Godson, p. 491)

1976: 4,381 undergraduates; 1,223 graduate; and 449 law school

2006: 7,544 undergraduate; 1,243 graduate; and 616 law school


1976: 103 African American students attended the College (2.2%)

1982: 162 African American students attended the College (3.4%)

1983: 153 African American students attended the College

1985: 195 African American students attended the College (4%)

1988: 303 African American students attended the College (5.8%); 145 Asian American students attended the College (2.8%); 50 Hispanic students attended the College (.9%); 5 American Indian students attended the College(.1%)

Student Life at the College of William and Mary

A brief timeline and a few suggested sources.

  • 18th-21st century: correspondence of students, faculty, staff, and public referencing the College and its students. Search for material in the SCRC Collections Database.
  • 20th century: Colonial Echo (1899) The Flat Hat (1911) begin publishing; scrapbooks created by students flourish; administrative records from the Office of the President to various deans as well as personal papers of faculty, staff, students, and alumni are available. Search for material in the SCRC Collections Database.
  • Today: So what should we do now? How are we currently documenting student life and what should we be doing? One answer is that documenting student life now includes all of the things we did before as well as collecting fliers, websites, and… What do you think?

Material in the Special Collections Research Center

  • A guide specifically for those researching topics related to William & Mary is available; researchers will find the "People & Groups" tab of particular use.


  • 1790-1800 student numbers from the "Students" folder and attributed to Lyon G. Tyler, University Archives Subject File Collection, Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, College of William and Mary.
  • 1831-1861 student numbers from The American Almanac and Repository of Useful Knowledge for the Year 1831, Boston: Gray and Bowen, 1830. AY 54 A5 (1831-1861).

Need help?

To search for further material, visit the Special Collections Research Center's Search Tool List for an overview of the Special Collections Database, W&M Digital Archive, Flat Hat-William & Mary News-Alumni Gazette index, card catalogs, and other tools available to help you find material of interest in William & Mary Libraries Special Collections Research Center.

Questions? Contact the Special Collections Research Center at or 757-221-3090, or visit the Special Collections Research Center in the Earl Gregg Swem Library at William & Mary.

A Note About The Contents Of This Wiki
The information available in this wiki is the best available from known documents and 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. Information in this wiki is not complete as new information continues to be uncovered in Swem Library's Special Collections Research Center and elsewhere. Researchers are strongly encouraged to use the Special Collections search tools for their research as the information contained in this wiki is by no means comprehensive.