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Call No.: HUV 46
Repository: Harvard University Archives
Title: Photographic views of Wadsworth House, 1858-1970
Quantity: 0.25 cubic feet (52 photographs)
Abstract: Wadsworth House, located in the southwest corner of Harvard Yard, was built in 1726 to serve as the residence of Harvard University's presidents, beginning with President Benjamin Wadsworth, for whom the building is named. It served this purpose for nine Harvard presidents over 120 years, until President Jared Sparks elected to stay in his own Cambridge home in 1849. The Photographic views of Wadsworth House provide a visual record of Harvard University's second oldest building and former presidents' residence, its grounds, and the surrounding area from 1858 to 1970. All images are photograph prints, and the processes include salted paper prints, albumen prints, collodion prints, collotype prints, and gelatin silver prints.
Collections in the Harvard University Archives:
- Drawings for renovation of alumni room in Wadsworth House, ca. 1935 (HUB 1873.5)
- General information about Wadsworth House, 1846-ca. 1970 (HUB 1873.2)
- Harvard University. Corporation. Records of early Harvard buildings, 1710-1960: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.ARCH:hua50010
- Harvard College Papers, 1st series, 1636-1825, 1831: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.ARCH:hua62011
- Harvard University Archives Photograph Collection: Views: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.ARCH:hua21004
- Harvard University collection of reference materials relating to plant and property, 1820- (HUB)
- Papers of Benjamin Wadsworth, 1696-1736: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.ARCH:hua01005
- See also Harvard University's Visual Information Access (VIA) system for more images of Wadsworth House from the Harvard University Archives.
Wadsworth House, located in the southwest corner of Harvard Yard, was built in 1726 to serve as the residence of Harvard University's presidents, beginning with President Benjamin Wadsworth, for whom the building is named. It served this purpose for nine Harvard presidents over 120 years, until President Jared Sparks elected to stay in his own Cambridge home in 1849. The Early Georgian house has also served as temporary headquarters of Generals George Washington and Charles Lee in 1775 during the Revolutionary War, housing for students and traveling preachers, and several offices. At the time of this writing, Wadsworth House is currently houses faculty and administrative offices, as well as the Office of the University Marshal.Upon President Wadsworth's election, Harvard received funding of £1000 from the General Court of Massachusetts Bay to build an official presidents' house, and with an additional £800 provided through other means, the house was constructed for a total of £1800. Presidents who lived in Wadsworth House include Wadsworth, Edward Holyoke, Samuel Locke, Samuel Langdon, Joseph Willard, Samuel Webber, John Thornton Kirkland, Josiah Quincy, and Edward Everett.The University built additions to the house in 1783, expanding the ground floor and building a brick annex, which housed the office of the college steward and some of the university's records. This annex stood separately from the house until it was connected in 1871, when buildings in the southwest corner of the Yard were rearranged to make space for Matthews Hall. By 1930, the interior of Wadsworth House was remodeled to accommodate offices, housing the University's medical adviser, bursar, Extension and Summer Schools, the Harvard Fund Council, the Harvard Alumni Association, the Alumni Bulletin, and the Departments of Hygiene and Physical Education at various times during the twentieth century.Wadsworth House is the second-oldest building on Harvard University's campus, after Massachusetts Hall, which was built in 1720. Wadsworth House is also the only building in Harvard Yard that is not enclosed by the Memorial Fence because of its proximity to the street.
- Bunting, Bainbridge. Harvard: An architectural history. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1985.
- Education, Bricks and Mortar: Harvard Buildings and Their Contribution to the Advancement of Learning. Cambridge, Mass.: The President and Fellows of Harvard College, 1949.
- King, Moses. Harvard and its surroundings. Cambridge: Moses King, publisher, 1884.
- Potter, Samuel B. "Wadsworth House: Circling the Square." The Harvard Crimson, January 25, 1955.
- "Wadsworth House." Office of the University Marshal. Accessed January 14, 2016. http://marshal.harvard.edu/wadsworth-house
- "Wadsworth House Medical Offices are Rearranged to Give Varied Service -- Stillman Introduces Three Innovations." The Harvard Crimson, October 8, 1930.
The photographic views of Wadsworth House has a legacy arrangement reflecting over 100 years of interfiling individual photographs of the structure from many sources into one collection. The images are arranged into seven folders, with the photographs loosely arranged in chronological order. This collection is part of the Harvard University Archives Photograph Collection: Views, in which Archives staff compiled images, whether acquired individually or removed from larger collections, and arranged them in categories based on locations, buildings, or landscape features for ease of reference.
The Photographic views of Wadsworth House provide a visual record of Harvard University's second oldest building and former presidents' residence, its grounds, and the surrounding area from 1858 to 1970. All images are photograph prints, and the processes include salted paper prints, albumen prints, collodion prints, collotype prints, and gelatin silver prints. The 52 images in this collection have primarily been gifts of several individuals.Exterior photographs show the house and its grounds from a variety of angles, including the shift of the annex in the 1871 reorganizing of the southwest corner of Harvard Yard. Also prominent is a group of photographs showing structural repairs made in 1949. Some photographs display people standing or walking next to the house, either in the Yard or along Massachusetts Avenue, previously known as Harvard Street. The surrounding area and buildings are also visible, including neighboring University buildings in Harvard Yard, the Class of 1857 Gate, and a trolley car in Harvard Square. Interior photographs show the Harvard Alumni Association's office upon its completion in 1936.
This document last updated 2016 March 7.
- Harvard Alumni Association
- Harvard University. Marshal
- Architecture, Colonial--New England
- Architecture--Massachusetts--Cambridge--18th century
- College buildings--Massachusetts--18th century
- Harvard University--Buildings--History
- Harvard University--Buildings--Photographs
- Harvard University--Presidents--Dwellings
- Dwellings--New England--18th century
- Harvard Yard (Cambridge, Mass.)
- Wadsworth House (Cambridge, Mass.)
Formats and genres
- Albumen prints
- Collodion prints
- Gelatin silver prints
- Photograph collections
- Salted paper prints