Bon appetit!

Not quite everything you ever wanted to know about eating and drinking at Harvard

Here you’ll find almost everything you ever wanted to know about the history of food and dining at the University. From the Early records of the Steward, 1649-1812 to Harvard's Web Archive Collection Service, the University Archives collections serve up an extensive and diverse collection of material related to eating, drinking, and being merry across centuries and dining rooms.

Our Dining Guide’s resources are meant to whet your appetite; its courses and menus are not exhaustive, so pull up a chair, roll up your sleeves, and dig in.

Search Tips

Search for general keywords, such as food, dining, or menu, in HOLLIS using the search box; limit your search by including "Harvard" as a keyword. Also try searching for specific types of food or drink, such as butter, beer, cake, or apple.

Search for these terms in HOLLIS using the Subject search box under the Advanced Search option:

  • Harvard University food service
  • Food habits Massachusetts
  • Food industry and trade Massachusetts
  • Food service equipment and supplies
  • Food history
  • Food social aspects Massachusetts


Search for these terms in HOLLIS using the Form/Genre search box under the Advanced Search option:

  •  Menus
  •  Dinnerware
  •  Ceramic tableware   
  •  Harvard objects


Limit your search in HOLLIS to selected formats:

  • For manuscript collections, select "Archives/Manuscript" under Resource Type.
  • For photographs and visual collections, select "Image under Resource Type.


Search for photographs in VIA using these suggested search terms:

  • Food
  • Dining
  • Food fights
  • Menu
  • Dinner


Limit your search to the Harvard University Archives in either HOLLIS or VIA:

  • In HOLLIS, select "Harvard University Archives" under the Location facet.
  • In VIA, choose "Harvard University Archives" from the "Limit to repository" drop-down.


Search The Harvard Crimson:

  • When searching for news articles at The Harvard Crimson, keep in mind that while the Crimson online archive is vast, it is not necessarily complete, and most archived articles will not include any associated photographs.
  • If you need to see a particular issue of The Harvard Crimson, consult this HOLLIS record for holdings at the Newspaper Microfilm Reading Room in Widener Library, located on the first floor behind the main stairs.
  • If you find you must view a bound paper copy, please contact the Reference Staff of the Harvard University Archives for more information.