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Harvard Law School Graduates: A Biographical Research Guide

A list of sources that can be used to research Harvard Law School graduates.

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Harvard Law School Graduates: A Biographical Research Guide

The Harvard Law School Library Historical & Special Collections Department has compiled the following list of biographical sources, which offer basic information regarding Harvard Law School graduates.

An increasing number of these sources are available online and can be accessed via links in this guide.

If you require further assistance, please plan on visiting Historical & Special Collections.

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How to Contact Us

Historical & Special Collections
specialc@law.harvard.edu
(617) 495-4550

Harvard Law School Library
Langdell Hall
1545 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138

Alumni Directories

Alumni Directory, 1958 – present

Harvard University Quinquennial catalogue of the officers and graduates 1636-1930

Quinquennial catalogue of the officers and students of the Law School of Harvard University

This is the precursor to the Harvard Law School Alumni Directory. It lists Law School faculty, as well as students. Student information is divided into three sections: chronological, geographical, and alphabetical, and usually includes the following information:
      • Date student entered and left Harvard Law School
      • Address at time of registration
      • Address as of publication date
      • Date and place of death

Catalogue of the officers and students of the Law school of Harvard University, 1817-1887

This catalog of Harvard Law School graduates was issued after the last Triennial catalog and before the first Quinquennnial catalog, which was published two years after this one in 1890.

Triennial Catalogue

Directory of Black Alumni/ae

Lists Black graduates of Harvard Law School since the graduation of George Lewis Ruffin in 1869.

Women at Harvard Law School: Alumnae Directory

Ames Moot Court Competition

Catalogs

Catalogs

Before the Law School had its own course catalog, the Law School curriculum was included in the University catalog. For those years when we do not have Law School catalogs, try consulting the University catalog; the information in many of the Law School’s early catalogs was identical to the University catalog.

Harvard Law School Catalogs

Harvard Law School Catalogs

Some of the Law School catalogs from the 19th century do not include student listings; this information can be found in the University catalog. For those years when we do not have Law School catalogs, try consulting the University catalog. The information in many of the Law School’s early catalogs was identical to the University catalog.

In addition to information on faculty, tuition, courses, degree requirements, and the academic calendar these catalogs might also include the following:

      • List of students by class year (until WWII)
      • Residence at the time of entry to law school
      • Housing location (listed under “room”)
      • Previous degree(s)

All printed catalogs in the collection have been digitized. There are some gaps in the collection. Access digitized catalogs through Networked Resource links in the HOLLIS record or through direct links below.

Harvard University Catalogs

Harvard University Catalogs

Before the Law School had its own course catalog, the Law School curriculum was included in the University catalog. In addition to information on faculty, tuition, and courses, these catalogs also included the following:

      • List of University Overseers
      • List of students by class year
      • Residence at the time of entry to law school
      • Housing location (listed under “room”)
      • Previous degree(s)

Class Reports

Overview - HLS class reports

Starting in the 1880s, the secretary of each graduating class published a report listing the class members and their places of employment. Over time, these reports have come to include brief biographical entries for some alumni/ae. Earlier class reports may also include club membership.

The present (2001) policy of the Harvard Law School Alumni Office is to sponsor publication of a class report every five years, up to and including the fiftieth anniversary of graduation.

Class Reports

Exams

Overview - HLS exams

Among the administrative changes and educational reforms introduced under Christopher Columbus Langdell’s deanship (1870-1895) was the publication of the School’s examinations. In 1877, the course for the degree of Bachelor of Laws at Harvard went from a two year to a three year program and in 1878, the Law School began to compile and publish these examinations annually. By 1969/1970 the first-year exams were issued separately from the second and third-year exams. Exam questions from 2002/2003 to the present are available online to HLS affiliates only.

Harvard Law Bulletin

Harvard Law Bulletin - alumni/ae magazine

The Bulletin has been published since April 1948 and is currently published two times per year. In previous years it was issued quarterly and in some cases six times per year. The magazine features articles on HLS alumni, campus events, and fundraising; it also includes class notes and obituaries. Beginning in the fall of 1997, the Bulletin was made available both in print and online.

Access to digitized issues prior to 1997 is available to Harvard affiliates only.

Harvard Law Record

Harvard Law Record - student newspaper

The Harvard Law School Record is the oldest law school-affiliated newspaper in the United States. It has gone through a number of small names changes; from September 2002-2008 the name on the masthead was "The Record." It includes Law School, national, and international news; scholarly articles; op-eds written by Harvard Law School students, professors, and guest contributors. Over the years, it has also published several special editions, including an annual April Fool's Day issue, orientation issue, and career guides. From fall 2011 through 2014 the Harvard Law Record ceased print publication and was exclusively online. In September 2015 print publication resumed with a new volume numbering system.

Search digitized issues of the HLS student paper (July 1946-November 2001)

  • Search the full text of the Harvard Law Record by using the full text search box, which is in the upper-right corner of the ListView page.
  • Users can also select individual issues from the ListView page to view in the Harvard Library Viewer. Once in the Viewer, users can search the full text within the opened issue.

More recent issues (2002-present) can be found by searching HLRecord.org. Generally speaking, online content for the The Record is not organized by issue. As of spring 2020, the following issues can be viewed in their entirety in the "PRINT" section of the Harvard Law Record website.

  • 2015-2016, issues 4-11
  • 2016-2017, issues 1-4
  • 2019-2020, orientation issue and issue 2

Yearbooks

Overview - HLS yearbooks

Yearbooks include listings and photographs of faculty, students, and student organizations. Earlier yearbooks include undergraduate information as well as current and permanent addresses.

No yearbooks were published from 1942/43 through 1944/45. However, the 1945/1946 yearbook includes a listing (without photos) of graduates since the previous publication in 1941/1942.

Photograph Collections

Overview - HLS student related photograph collections

Photograph collections are searchable in both HOLLIS Images and HOLLIS. In HOLLIS Images, limit search by repository to “Law School” in order to only see Harvard Law School images.

Here are some HOLLIS Images search tips.

Below are links to digitized student-related photograph collections. There are also images of the Harvard Law School campus and faculty members searchable through HOLLIS Images and HOLLIS.

Harvard Law School Scrapbooks

Overview - HLS scrapbooks

This collection of nine disbound scrapbooks contains ephemera relating to the administration of Harvard Law School from 1869-1913. It includes printed schedules of courses and examinations, as well as manuscript and printed announcements regarding lectures, faculty, examinations, and student prizes. The earliest three scrapbooks also contain indices. All nine scrapbooks have been digitized. 

Harvard Law School Scrapbooks, 1870-1913 - HOLLIS catalog record

Harvard Law School Scrapbooks: Harvard Law School Announcements, Tabular View, Examination Papers, 1869-1909

Harvard Law School Scrapbooks: Harvard Law School Miscellaneous Announcements, 1875-1913

HLS Dissertations, Theses, and JD Papers

HLS Student-Created Material

Harvard-Radcliffe Online Historical Reference Shelf

Harvard-Radcliffe Online Historical Reference Shelf

A joint project of the Harvard University Archives and the Schlesinger LIbrary, this site provides access to frequently-consulted sources on the history of Harvard and Radcliffe.

Sources of note include Harvard Presidents' reports, 1825-1995. Most of these reports, up to and including the 1985/1986 issue, not only contain the report of the President of Harvard University, but also reports from the various Harvard faculties and departments, including the Law School.

Law School reports from the late nineteenth century through the early twentieth century include the following:
      • Number of students enrolled
      • Number and types of degrees conferred
      • Required courses, including faculty and textbook information, and how often the class met
      • Curriculum changes
      • Updates on the Library
      • Description of art holdings, including: paintings, etchings, photographs, etc.

Harvard & Radcliffe Annual Reports

The Harvard Presidents' reports cover 1825-1995. Most of the reports, up to and including the 1985/1986 issue, contain not only the report of the President of Harvard University, but also reports from the various Harvard faculties and departments.

The Harvard Treasurers' reports cover 1830-1995. The reports contain detailed information about the University's income and expenses, including information about endowments and gifts.

Radcliffe Presidents' reports cover 1879-1988. The reports also contain reports of the Radcliffe Treasurer from 1879/80 through 1959/60.

SEARCH HARVARD & RADCLIFFE ANNUAL REPORTS OF THE PRESIDENT & TREASURER, 1826-1995


Keywords/phrase 

Date range  to (Four-digit years)

Reports (See coverage below)
Harvard Presidents'     Radcliffe Presidents'
Harvard Treasurers'     RadcliffeTreasurers'

Sort order

   

Search results may take up to 45 seconds to display.

Combine search terms with:

  • quotation marks for exact phrase   ("James B. Conant")
  • AND   (James AND Conant)
  • NEAR   (James NEAR Conant)
  • OR   ("James Bryant Conant"  OR  "James B. Conant" )
  • NOT  (Conant NOT James)

Radcliffe Presidents reports, 1879-1988 The reports also contain reports of the Radcliffe Treasurer from 1879/80 through 1959/60.

1879/1880

1880/1881 - 1881/1882

1882/1883 - 1892/1893

1893/1894

1894/1895

1895/1896 - 1911/1912

1912/1913 - 1913/1914

1914/1915

1915/1916 - 1933/1934

1934/1935

1935/1936 - 1938/1939

1939/1940 - 1959/1960

1960/1961 - 1987/1988

Radcliffe Treasurers reports, 1960/61 through 1987/88

1960/1961

1961/1962 - 1987/1988

Harvard Law School Affiliates Who Became Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States

United States Supreme Court Justices

Additional Supreme Court Resources

Secondary Sources

Secondary Sources

Click the links below or select a page from the "Secondary Sources" drop-down menu for more information.

Bench and Bar of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Bench and Bar of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

By William T. Davis
Published in 1895, these two volumes include a brief history of the Massachusetts bench and bar. Additionally, it features an extensive illustrated biographical register of attorneys or judges in Suffolk County and much of Massachusetts through 1894.
Volume 1 and Volume 2 of this publication may be accessed through Google Books.

Note: In 1894 Davis published Professional and industrial history of Suffolk County, Massachusetts. Volume 1 of this earlier work contains similar information to the Bench and Bar and is available on-line through the electronic database Making of Modern Law: Legal Treatises, 1800-1926 (Harvard Key required).

History of the Harvard Law School and of Early Legal Conditions in America

History of the Harvard Law School and of Early Legal Conditions in America

By Charles Warren. Lewis Publishing Company, 1908.
This three-volume work includes a detailed history of the Harvard Law School from its founding in 1817 until 1907. Of particular interest is the third volume, which contains the Harvard Law School alumni roll, a listing of biographical data by class year. This volume also includes reproductions of various Harvard Law School class photographs.

The following information may be included:
      • Place and date of birth
      • Family information (parents, siblings, spouses, children)
      • Degrees earned
      • Career highlights
      • Place and date of death

An online version of this three-volume publication may be accessed through Google Books (links below), as well as the electronic database Making of Modern Law: Legal Treatises, 1800-1926 (Harvard Key required).