Harvard University. College Teas Association. Records of the College Teas Association
and Harvard Neighbors : an inventory
Harvard University Archives
© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Call No.: HUD 3824
Accession number: 14095, Harvard Law School Library, 1/10/2000
Accession number: 13482, Julia Fox, 1/17/1997
Accession number:13498, Julia Fox, 2/5/1997
Cash Book, 1904-1928, Mrs. Paul H. Buck, 3/10/1947
Financial Reports/Papers, 1930-1946, Mrs. Paul H. Buck, 3/10/1947
Lists of Members, 1936-1950, Mrs. Paul H. Buck, 3/10/1947
Membership Books, 1906-1945, Mrs. Paul H. Buck, 3/10/1947
Instruction Book for Secretary, Mrs. J.B. Conant, 1/7/1953
Minutes, 1894-1935, Mrs. J.B. Conant, 1/7/1953
Visitor's Book, Mrs. J.B. Conant, 1/19/1953
Correspondence, 1948-1950, Mrs. K.D. Metcalf, 12/1953
Financial Reports/Papers, 1946-1949, Mrs. K.D. Metcalf , 12/1953
Financial Records (Sup.), 1938-1939, R. Lovett, 7/1973
Repository: Harvard University Archives
Creator: Harvard University. College Teas Association.
Title: Records of the College Teas Association and Harvard Neighbors, 1894-1995.
Quantity: 5 cubic feet (16 boxes)
Abstract: The College Teas Association was instituted in 1894 by a group of faculty wives in
order to promote "social intercourse among the ladies of the University." In 1939,
the association established the Newcomer's Club to provide help to newcomers to Harvard
and Cambridge. In 1972, the entire association was renamed Harvard Neighbors, and
in 1988, membership was opened to men. These records document an effort to establish
a sense of community at Harvard, among wives of the University, and within the community
Processed by Kara Lewis, March, 1998
Many of the records lacked order; chronological order was imposed on most series or
Two series, records of the Executive and Advisory Committees and records of the Newcomer's Club, were particularly difficult to organize. Records from these bodies had been given
to the Archives, apparently, by two or more concurrent officers, thereby creating
overlap. The files were rearranged in a chronological sequence to avoid confusion.
Some folders, the contents of which cover broad date spans and may or may not duplicate
the records with known dates, have been placed at the end of these chronological sequences
and described as "miscellaneous dates". Some duplicate memos and invitations were weeded from these series.
Access to unpublished archival records is restricted for 50 years from the date of
creation of the record(s). See reference staff for details. No restrictions on access
apply to published records.
See also publications by or about the the College Teas Association or Harvard Neighbors
that are cataloged in Harvard's on-line integrated library system.
The College Teas Association (CTA) was established in 1894 during the presidency of Charles William Eliot. Spurred by the University's expansion during the late 1800 s, a group of facultywives formed a committee to consider ways to promote "social intercourse among the ladies
of the University." The committee met at the home of Ellen Warner Davis to discuss potential social activities, the first of which was a College Luncheon
in April, 1894 . The committee soon began holding formal teas to welcome the wives of newly appointed
members of the faculty.
For the first five years teas were hosted by Grace Eliot, President Eliot's wife, in Fay House at Radcliffe College College and later in Phillips Brooks House at Harvard College.
Early teas were formal affairs. Women wore hats and gloves and identified themselves by their
husband's name and department. Only the wives of professors or the mothers and sisters of bachelor professors were invited. Invitations consisted of calling cards delivered
to home addresses until the Depression years, when telephone invitations became the
preferred method. Hats were required apparel for everyone until 1926, when the Executive Committee dropped the requirement. It was not until 1964, however, that a note appeared in the records stating that no Harvard hostess should
wear a hat.
In 1939, the CTA, under the leadership of Grace Conant, wife of President James Bryant Conant, established the Newcomers' Club as a response to the influx of Europeanscholars and their families who were new to the Harvard and Cambridge community. In 1967, when the University closed the Office of the Advisor to Harvard Wives, the Newcomer's Club established an outreach committee called the Harvard Neighbors, through which returning members were dispatched to introduce themselves to neighbors new to the community.
Three years later, in response to a diversifying membership that included wives of
University officers as well as faculty, Sissela Bok established a committee to review the structure and role of the College Teas Association.
In 1972, the Association was placed under the administrative wing of Harvard's Governing Boards,
a new organizational structure was established, and the CTA was renamed Harvard Neighbors.
Since then, Harvard Neighbors has opened an office at 17 Quincy Street, home of the
Office of the Governing Boards, with a paid administrator on staff. In 1988, the by-laws were revised to extend membership to men. During Neil Rudenstine's presidency of Harvard, Angelica Rudenstine serves as co-chair of the organization with her husband.
Over the years, the College Teas Association and Harvard Neighbors have offered women
and men the opportunity for diverse social activities. Past committees have organized book discussions, art exhibitions, and classes ranging
from cooking to foreign languages, in addition to teas and dinner dances. In addition
to sponsoring these activities, Harvard Neighbors now serves as a clearinghouse for
volunteers to University and Cambridge community programs.
In 1994, the College Teas Association/Harvard Neighbors celebrated its 100th anniversary.
Festivities included a tea in honor of Ann Pusey, wife of former President Nathan Marsh Pusey, the publication of a cookbook, an exhibition of historical documents and photographs
in Pusey Library, and a reception.
- Executive and Advisory Committees Records, 1894-1972. 5 containers
- ___ Executive and Advisory Committees General Records
- ___ Reports on Teas
- ___ Development of Harvard Neighbors
- Newcomer's Club Records, 1939-1972. 3 containers
- ___ C.T.A. Newcomer's Club General Records
- ___ C.T.A. Newcomer's Club Subordinate Groups
- Dinner Dances, 1953-1972. 1 container
- Membership Records, 1906-1964. 2 containers
- Invitations and Mailings, 1904-1995. 1 container
- Financial Records, 1904-1971. 2 containers
- ___ College Teas Association Financial Reports
- ___ College Teas Association Auditor's Reports
- ___ College Teas Association Financial Correspondence
- Visitor's Book, 1953-1957. 1 container
- Exhibit Items, 1994. 1 container
The records are organized in eight series. Organization within each series varies.
These records document the establishment, organization, and activities of the College
Teas Association and its evolution into Harvard Neighbors, as well as the establishment
of the Newcomer's Club. In so doing, these records also document the changing social
roles and lives of women at Harvard University, their use of a formal social network,
and the experiences of college professors wives in the United States throughout the
Most of the records document the history of the College Teas Association from 1894
to 1972. Records after 1972 consist of a few invitations, publications, and items
from the centennial exhibition in 1994.
This document last updated 2016 November 14
- Series: Executive and Advisory Committee Records, 1894-1995 (2.6 cubic feet in 5 containers)
Role of the Executive and Advisory Committees: The Executive and Advisory Committees were the two main governing bodies of the College
Scope of the Executive and Advisory Committee Records: Records cover by-laws, protocol, and major decisions, including files of the CTA Review
Committee in 1971, which concern the conversion to Harvard Neighbors. Information
in this series is composed of minutes, officer lists, memoranda, and reports on teas.
Information may be found in this series about attendance at teas, lists of pourers,
correspondence about specific members, and joint teas with the Harvard Dames (an organization
of Harvard students' wives).
- Executive and Advisory Committees General Records, 1894-1971 4 boxes
- 1894-1935 6 folders Box 1
- 1935-1959 18 folders Box 2
- 1959-1971 21 folders Box 3
- Miscellaneous dates 15 folders Box 4
- Reports on Teas, 1933-1971 7 folders Box 5
- Development of Harvard Neighbors, 1971 5 folders Box 5
- Series: Newcomers' Club Records, 1939-1972 3 boxes
History of the Newcomers' Club: The Newcomer's Club was established as an ancillary organization in 1939 to assist newcomers to the Harvard and Cambridge communities. The Club encompassed
several subordinate groups, including Special Interest Groups, the Small Teas Committee,
and Newcomer's Aid. Newcomer's Aid was established in 1967 when the Counselor for Veterans' Office of the Advisor to Harvard Wives was closed.
- C. T. A. Newcomer's Club General Records
Scope of Newcomers' Club General Records: This sub-series consists of annual reports, correspondence, invitations, minutes, officer's lists, and reports
on teas. Information includes lists of visiting professors and lecturers.
- 1939-1940 through 1951-1952 23 folders Box 6
- 1951-1952 through 1959-1960 13 folders Box 7
- Miscellaneous dates 10 folders Box 7
- Miscellaneous dates 8 folders Box 8
- C.T.A. Newcomers' Club Subordinate Groups
- Small Teas Committee Box 8
- Special Interest Groups 2 folders Box 8
- Series: Dinner Dance Records, 1953-1972 1 boxes
Scope of Dinner Dance Records: Records consist of committee lists, correspondence, financial records, invitations,
and rules of procedure concerning dinner dances held by the College Teas Association.
- Procedure for dances, Box 9
- Notices and announcements, Box 9
- Music, Box 9
- Correspondence with Harvard Business School, Box 9
- Committee Lists, Box 9
- Invitations, Samples and Orders, Box 9
- Miscellaneous material, Box 9
- Junior Supper, Box 9
- Committee Lists and Treasurer's Report, Box 9
- Committee Lists and Correspondence, Box 9
- Gratuities - Records and General Background Information Box 9
- Series: Invitations and Mailings, 1 boxes
Scope of Invitations and Mailings: This series contains material from both CTA and Harvard Neighbors. The files include
dues notices, invitations to teas, memoranda, and Newcomer's Club Special Interest
Group announcements. The majority of the mailings date from before 1973.
- Samples of Printed material, invitations, and dues notices, Box 12
- Newcomer's Club Invitations, Box 12
- Samples of Printed Material, invitations, and dues notices, 2 folders Box 12
- Invitations and signs from the 1970's Box 12
- Correspondence from the 1970s Box 12
Accession 14095, containing correspondence maintained by Patricia Moore, inserted into this folder, April 2001.
- Fall Mailings, Box 12
- Invitations from 1980s Box 12
- Mailings from the 1990s Box 12
- Series: Financial Records, 1904-1971 2 boxes
Scope of Financial Records: Financial records for the College Teas Association include account books, auditors'
reports, correspondence, financial reports, and ledgers. Comprehensive ledgers cease
Procesing Information relating to the Finanical Records Series: Routine financial records, including bank statements, bills, and receipts with no accompanying correspondence,
- Financial Reports, 5 folders Box 13
- Auditor's Reports 6 folders Box 13
- Financial Correspondence 12 folders
- 1940-1949 2 folders Box 13
- 1950-1971 10 folders Box 14
- Series: Exhibit Items, 1994 1 boxes Box 16
Description of Exhibit Items: Includes items used in or created for the 1994 exhibition celebrating the College
Teas Association/Harvard Neighbors centennial in Pusey Library. Includes correspondence,
a counter used from about 1939 to 1951, invitations, photographs of the centennial reception, photographs of the exhibition itself, photographs of
the homes of the original members, photographs of some of the early members, a speech
given during the centennial: Privileged Women: A Hundred Years of College Teas/Harvard Neighbors by Jane Williams, text used in the exhibit, and a white glove.