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veritasHarvard University Library Notes, For Harvard Library Staff, Number 1338 May 2007

Harvard University Library Notes / September 2007 / No. 1339

Exhibitions from the Archives to Mark Harvard's 2007 Presidential Inauguration

Presidential Chair

Proof print of an engraving of the president's chair executed to illustrate The History of Harvard University by Josiah Quincy, 1840. Original drawing by Quincy's daughter, Eliza. Crafted in Wales in the mid- to early 18th century of ash and oak, the president's chair was acquired by the College in the mid-1700s and is among the holdings of the Harvard University Art Museums.

In conjunction with the October 12 inauguration of Drew Gilpin Faust as president of Harvard, the Harvard University Archives has developed two special exhibitions that highlight the history of Harvard, its governance, and its presidency.

Persuasion, Persistence, and Power:
A History of the Harvard Presidency

October 3–19
Monday through Friday
10 am to 6 pm
Pusey Library Lobby

Beginning with the appointment of Henry Dunster in 1640, Harvard has selected 28 presidents. Over the past four centuries, the president's role has evolved from direct participation in all aspects of institutional management—admissions, discipline, curriculum and instruction, personnel, finances, and fundraising—to leadership of a major academic research institution with a multifaceted organization and a significant global impact.

The exhibition includes items from the holdings of the Archives that relate to each of Harvard's presidents.

"Whereas . . ." The Harvard Charter of 1650

Thursday, October 11
9 am to 6 pm
Friday, October 12
10 am to 12 noon
4:30 to 6 pm
University Archives Conference Room, Pusey Library

Archer And Dog

Detail from the Harvard Charter of 1650

For two days only, the Harvard Charter of 1650 will be on view in the Archives conference room in Pusey Library. At each presidential inauguration since 1708, the Charter has been presented to the incoming Harvard president as a symbol of office.

Signed by Governor Thomas Dudley, the Harvard Charter of 1650 set forth the mission of the young College, and established the corporate structure for its governance—the President and Fellows—which continues to this day.

Only on rare occasions is this great Harvard treasure made available for public display.

In addition to the Charter, the two-day exhibition includes the oldest surviving record book, known as "College Book I," dating back to the early years of the 17th century; the Harvard seals of 1643, 1843, and 1885; and silver ceremonial keys made in 1846—all of which are presented to Harvard presidents at their inaugurations.

The Harvard University Archives is the oldest and one of the largest academic archives in the United States. It collects, preserves, and provides access to a comprehensive record of life at Harvard. The collections in the Harvard University Archives, which date from the 17th century to the present, are used by scholars of American social, intellectual, and academic history; by historians of Harvard, including University departments studying their own history; by students learning the methodology of historical research; and by the general public.


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