List of items displayed

  1. New England’s first fruits…1643. Reprinted in The Founding of Harvard College by Samuel Eliot Morison, 1935.
  1. Manuscript copy of Charles Morton’s Compendium Physicae copied by Harvard student Obadiah Ayer in 1708. Morton’s Compendium Physicae was the science textbook used by Harvard students between 1687 and 1728. The 17th and 18th century Harvard curriculum followed a structured program of study. Certain key texts were adopted as textbooks at Harvard, and students often copied them into personal notebooks or paid professional copyists to reproduce them, in place of purchasing expensive books. Textbooks created by Harvard Tutors Henry Flynt and William Brattle, Instructor Judah Monis, and Fellow Charles Morton were among the earliest used in the colonies. HOLLIS 006152553; Archives HUC 8707.370;        
  2. Manuscript copy of Charles Morton’s Compendium Physicae copied by Robert Ward for the use of Harvard student Thomas Greaves in 1714. HOLLIS 006152549; Archives HUC 8714.370;
  3. Transcription of Compendium Physicae, in Publications of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, Volume 33.
  1. Commonplace book of John Winthrop, 1728-1735. This volume contains excerpts from a wide range of sources copied by John Winthrop beginning at the age of thirteen as a freshman at Harvard College. Winthrop was Hollis Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy at Harvard from 1738 until his death in 1779. HOLLIS 000604438; Archives HUM 9, Box 2;
  1. First Dudleian lecture, preached by Edward Holyoke, 1755. Harvard’s oldest endowed lecture, the annual Dudleian lecture, is funded by a bequest from the 1750 will of the Chief Justice of Massachusetts Paul Dudley (1675-1750/1). Dudley specified that the topics of the annual sermon were to rotate among four themes: natural religion, revealed religion, the "Romish church," and the validity of the ordination of ministers. HOLLIS 005751707; Archives HUC 5340.55;
  1. Mathematical notebook attributed to Thaddeus Mason Harris, ca. 1787. The author and purpose of this volume is unclear, though it has been connected with Thaddeus Mason Harris (Harvard AB 1787). The notebook contains handwritten transcriptions of rules, cases, and examples from 18th century mathematical texts. Most of the entries include questions and related answers, suggesting the notebook was used as a manuscript textbook and workbook.  HOLLIS 009759624; Archives HUG 1445.320;
  1. College Book No. 1, 1636-1795. College Book No. 1 contains the earliest records of Harvard’s two governing boards, the Corporation and the Board of Overseers. Among the records in this volume are copies of the College Laws, lists of graduates, transcriptions of various gifts and bequests, inventories of the College kitchen utensils, and entries related to the purchase of "the first ffont of Letters for printing, in Cambridge." Minutes from a Corporation meeting held December 27, 1643 state, “It is ordered that there shall be a colledge seale in forme following,” accompanied by a hand-drawn design for the seal depicting three books bearing the word “VERITAS.”   College Book No. 1 is one of the emblems of office used in the ceremonial installation of Harvard presidents.  HOLLIS 001554168; Archives UAI 5.5, Box 1;
  1. College Book 3, 1636-1779. This volume was begun by Harvard College Treasurer and Steward Thomas Danforth, most likely around 1687, and contains transcriptions of donation records (including money from "some Gentleman of Amsterdam" to be used towards the purchase of a printing press and type), property inventories, College laws, Overseers and Corporation minutes, and other official documents dating from 1636 onwards. Danforth may have created this volume as a precautionary measure during the great upheaval surrounding the 1684 annulment of the Royal Charter of the Massachusetts Colony and consequent dissolution of the Harvard Corporation. Some scholars believe he created College Book 3 in fear that the College's original records, from which it was largely derived and copied, might be destroyed.  HOLLIS 001554168; Archives UAI 5.5, Box 2;
  1. Theses, 1687.  Archives HUC 6642 Box 1, Folder 9 
  2. Quaestiones, 1655. Archives HUC 6642 Box 9, Folder 4

The theses and quaestiones broadsides display propositions and questions used in the Commencement tradition of public student disputation which began at Harvard College in 1642. The Latin theses were academic statements proposed by the undergraduates to reflect the scope of their study. The Theses were posted in advance, and graduates were expected to be able to defend them upon request on Commencement Day. The Commencement exercises for the master’s degree included the quaestiones, a single question chosen by each candidate, to be discussed in the affirmative or negative.  

  1. Triennial Catalogue of Harvard College, 1682. The Triennial Catalogues, published every three years from 1674 to 1875, were considered the official record of Harvard degree recipients.  HOLLIS 012365185; Archives HU 20.35.1 Box 1, Folder 4
  1. Books Printed at Cambridge, January 26, 1656.  In 1641, Harvard president Henry Dunster married Elizabeth (Harris) Glover, who had inherited a printing business and equipment from her first husband, Joseph Glover. When Elizabeth Glover Dunster died in 1643, she left her property, including land and the printing press, to Henry Dunster, along with shared administrative responsibility for her estate and five children. Dunster continued to operate the printing business until 1654, when he sold the press to Harvard College. This press, the first in the Colonies, issued among other titles The Freeman’s Oath, The Bay Psalm Book, and the first Bible printed in North America in the Algonquin language, known as the Indian Bible or the Eliot Bible.  The “List of 1655–6” and Stephen Day’s testimony were prepared for use in a lawsuit relating to Henry Dunster’s administration of his wife’s estate. HOLLIS 009504960; Archives UAI 15.850 Box 2 Folder 2; 
  1. Testimony of Stephen Day regarding paper for printing provided by Joseph Glover, April 1, 1656. HOLLIS 009504960; Archives UAI 15.850 Box 2, Folder 8;
  1. First impressions : printing in Cambridge, 1639-1989 : an exhibition at the Houghton Library and at the Harvard Law School Library, October 6 through October 27, 1989, by Hugh Amory. Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University, c1989.   HOLLIS 001920878
  1. Judah Monis collection, 1725-1735.  Judah Monis (1683-1764), a Jewish scholar and educator, was an instructor of Hebrew at Harvard College between 1722 and 1760. In the 17th and early 18th centuries, Harvard's undergraduate curriculum included regular Hebrew course work to facilitate close reading and interpretation of the Old Testament and rabbinical writings, and Monis compiled a Hebrew Grammar textbook for students. Students initially copied Monis's Hebrew Grammar by hand into personal notebooks, but by 1726, Monis began working to raise money to publish the textbook. In 1735, with the financial support of the Corporation, Monis published the first Hebrew textbook in America: "Dickdook leshon gnebreet, A Grammar of the Hebrew tongue."  This collection includes accounting records, correspondence, petitions from Monis to the Corporation, and copies of votes and a report related to the preparation and printing of the Hebrew Grammar.  HOLLIS 000604317; Archives HUG 1580.5
  1. Catalogus Librorum Bibliothecae Collegij Harvardini quod est Cantabrigiae in Nova Anglia, 1723. The first printed catalog of the Harvard College Library was also the first printed library catalog in what is now the United States. Printed in Boston in 1723 by Bartholomew Green, Jr., and distributed by bookseller Samuel Gerrish, it was compiled by Harvard librarian Joshua Gee, who received £20 additional compensation for his efforts. HOLLIS 012586071; Archives UAIII 50.15.30 Box 1, Folder 1;
  1. The Printed Catalogues of the Harvard College Library, 1723-1790. Edited by W.H. Bond & Hugh Amory. Boston: Colonial Society of Massachusetts. Distributed by Oak Knoll Press, 1996. HOLLIS 006963510; Archives HUF 523.596.9  
  1. The library account book, [1762-1763]. This volume contains records of books borrowed from the Harvard College Library by faculty, administrators, students from the Classes of 1763 and 1764, and other individuals with borrowing privileges.   HOLLIS 012104417; Archives UAIII 50.15.60, Volume 1, Box 95; 
  1. From the Massachusetts-Gazette. Thursday, February 2, 1764. An Account of the fire at Harvard-College, in Cambridge; with the loss sustained thereby. Boston: Printed by R. and S. Draper, 1764.  Archives HUB 1446
  1. "A list of the books belonging to the late Library of Harvard College that were in the hands of the Overseers, Governors, & Students of the College & escap'd the flames," ca. 1764. HOLLIS 012649082; Archives UAIII 50.27.64, Box 1 Folder 1;   
  1. List of benefactors who contributed to replacement of books and philosophical apparatus, May 4, 1764. HOLLIS 012649082; Archives UAIII 50.27.64, Box 2 Folder 1;   
  2.  A catalogue of books [donated by Jasper Mauduit] in the library of Harvard College [at] Cambridge in New England, 1765.  This volume lists books donated to the Harvard College Library by Jasper Mauduit, who served as an agent in London on behalf of the Province of the Massachusetts Bay. Following the fire of 1764 which destroyed most of the books in the Harvard College Library, Mauduit donated books, as well as money for the purchase of books, to the College. He also acted as an agent of the Society for Propagating the Gospel in New England and Parts Adjacent, using the £300 they donated for the rebuilding of the College library to select and purchase a large number of books. It is not known if the books listed in this catalog are those donated by Mauduit himself, or if they are the donations he purchased on behalf of the Society. HOLLIS 012587859; Archives UAIII 50.27.65;