Harvard University. Charter of 1650. Ink on parchment. UAI 15.100 (Box 1), Harvard University Archives.

Because the College was founded as a public institution, Harvard operated under the auspices of the Massachusetts General Court until the mid-19th century. Harvard's earliest administrative records document an evolving administrative structure that provided intersecting roles for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Harvard Corporation, and the Board of Overseers.

University records document the relationship between the College and the Massachusetts General Court, which controlled Harvard until 1865.

Harvard records also reflect the developing academic pursuits of faculty and their expanded role in the operation of the institution. Many of the records document the College's financial struggles, as well as its dependence on the colonial government and benefactors in England for financial support.


College buildings
University administration
University laws

Additional Materials
Board of Overseers formal meeting minutes
College Books
Corporation records: minutes
Early faculty minutes
Harvard University Charters
Laws and statutes of Harvard
Papers of the early presidents
Records of the Treasurer