Williams, who first met Santo Domingo through Maggs, served as his dealer of choice. He also acted as his personal archivist, cataloger, employee and friend, often shuttling between Geneva and London.
His familiarity with the collection and how it was assembled puts him in a unique position to interpret this vast array of contemporary material. Though its main focus is mind altering substances, Williams stressed, it has many other dimensions as well. He sees it as a high point in the field.
To him the Harvard connection did not seem the least bit odd either.
The university, he pointed out, was among the leaders in ethno-botany as it applied to hallucinogenic experiences. He mentioned the work of Richard Evan Schultes and Wade Davis, as well as the more widely known activities of Harvard LSD experimenters Leary and Alpert.
The expertise of the visiting 45-year-old Yorkshire native has not escaped notice at home. “Ed” had good things to say about him and he was also the subject of a recent “Dazed Digital” article.
According that report: “Carl Williams works in an office converted from the stable block, in a room that is full of wonders. Come here at the right time and you will find boxes full of punk fanzines sitting on chairs draped with Republican flags from the Spanish Civil War.
“Ask Williams nicely and he may show you brooches made by junkie poet Alexander Trocchi from used heroin needles, a complete set of ‘Anti-Monopoly’ board games or a pamphlet drawn by Latvian anarchist Peter the Painter, the shadowy figure behind the Sidney Street Siege of 1911.
“I worked for Julio [who died in 2009] for three years,” says Williams. “His collection is one of the great untold stories of the 21st century. It’s not just drugs, it’s sex, rock’n’roll, the occult, erotica and art. And it’s not just books. It’s everything.”