College Life

Jenks, William, 1778–1866. Prospect from a study, in the north entry of Hollis Hall. Ink and watercolor on paper, ca. 1797. HUV 2196.10, Harvard University Archives.


The 17th- and 18th-century collections in the Harvard University Archives paint a detailed picture of daily life and material culture at Harvard College, as well as in Cambridge as a whole and New England in general.

Harvard's administrative records, kept by the College Steward and Butler, document goods and services purchased from the local community and track patterns of consumption. Disciplinary records document student misbehavior both major and minor. Student diaries and letters home offer glimpses of personal habits and family life.


Cost and standard of living
Mischief and unrest

Account books
Commonplace books
Student letters

Additional Descriptive Materials
Digital content is embedded where available.
Diary of Henry Flynt
Diary of Margaret Appleton Holyoke Mascarene
District reports of the Harvard College Scholars of the House
Early records of the Steward
Harvard Commons records
Holyoke family diaries
Papers of the Bordman family
Records of the Butler