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Williams was born in 1926 in Asanol, Bengal, India, where his parents ran a missionary school during the last years of the British Raj. When World War Two broke out, Williams and his family moved to the United States, where he studied at Cornell College in Iowa, but was soon called to military service. Williams’s philosophy had, from childhood, been profoundly influenced by the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, so he became a conscientious objector and spent several years in alternative service. Upon his release, Gerry moved to New Hampshire to immerse himself in the thriving local pottery and ceramics scene. He built a house and studio in Dumbarton, New Hampshire, with his wife, Julie Williams, where he ran a self-sufficient studio and later founded The Studio Potter magazine, which became one of the most influential art magazines in America. Fifty-five years after he left Cornell for his alternative service, the college awarded Williams an honorary doctorate of fine arts to celebrate a prolific potter who helped shape the world of studio pottery in the US.
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