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William Stoddard Williams (1762-1829), son of Dr. Thomas Williams of Deerfield, Massachusetts, studied medicine with Erastus Sergeant of Stockbridge, Massachusetts, for two years between 1781 and 1783. The first medical college, King's College (now Columbia University) did not open until 1790 and medical training was in the hands of experienced doctors and whatever books of instruction could be had. This certificate, handwritten by Dr. Sergeant, was the "passage" needed by a would-be physician to admit him to the profession of medicine.