Examples of primary sources in the Archives
The Harvard Universtiy Archives' primary mandate is to preserve and make available the University's permanent administrative records - the institutional archives. But the Archives has a more expansive mission to document the Harvard community as broadly and deeply as possible.
The Archives' collections date from the 17th century to the present. They cover a vast array of topics and formats relating to the immediate University community and beyond. Here are some examples.
Personal archives of faculty, students, alumni, and staff
- Journal kept by Williamina Fleming, curator of astronomical photographs at the Harvard College Observatory in 1900
- Observatory staff at work documenting variable stars, ca. 1900
- Audio recording of John F. Kennedy’s student speech in Harvard College English F, 1937, “Hugo Black”
Theses and dissertations by Harvard students
- PhD dissertation written in 1895 by W.E.B. Du Bois, The suppression of the African slave trade in the United States of America, 1638-1871. Du Bois was the first African American to receive a Harvard PhD.
Records of student and alumni organizations
- Westerly view of the Colledges in Cambridge, New England, 1767 engraved by Paul Revere