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UAIII 5.33

Harvard College (1780- ). Office of the Dean. Records of the Dean of Harvard College : an inventory

Harvard University Archives


Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: UAIII 5.33
Repository: Harvard University Archives
Creator: Harvard College (1780-). Office of the Dean.
Title: Records of the Dean of Harvard College, 1889-1995
Date(s): 1889-1995
Quantity: 230 cubic feet (670 boxes)
Language of materials: English
Abstract: The Office of the Dean of Harvard College was established in 1890 at the time of an administrative reorganization of Harvard University, which included the creation of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Prior to that time, the duties of the Dean of Harvard College had been carried out by a variety of college officers including the President of the University, the Regent, the Dean of the College Faculty, and members of the Faculty. These records, dating from 1889 through 1995, document the development of the Office of the Dean of Harvard College, the role of the Dean as teacher, friend, counselor, and disciplinarian to undergraduates, and the leadership role of the Dean during times of campus and national crisis.

Acquisition Information:

Most of the records of the Office of the Dean of Harvard College were transferred directly to the University Archives in several accessions, including unnumbered accessions.
  • Accession number 08131 Dean of Harvard College 1977 June 9
  • Accession number 08462 Dean of Harvard College 1978 September 5
  • Accession number 09538 Dean of Harvard College 1982 August 26
  • Accession number 09777 Dean of Harvard College 1983 July 15
  • Accession number 09847 Dean of Harvard College 1983 August 31
  • Accession number 10205 Dean of Harvard College 1984 August 17
  • Accession number 10524 Dean of Harvard College 1985 August 14
  • Accession number 10953 Dean of Harvard College 1986 December 8
  • Accession number 11040 Dean of Harvard College 1987 March 2
  • Accession number 11434 Dean of Harvard College 1988 June 24
  • Accession number 11998 Dean of Harvard College 1990 July 12
  • Accession number 12540 Dean of Harvard College 1992 August 27
  • Accession number 12762 Dean of Harvard College 1993 September 24
  • Accession number 12963 Dean of Harvard College 1994 September 27
  • Accession number 13151 Dean of Harvard College 1995 August 11
  • Accession number 13369 Dean of Harvard College 1996 July 18
  • Accession number 13396 Dean of Harvard College 1996 August 12
  • Accession number 13430 Dean of Harvard College 1996 October 1
  • Accession number 13518 Dean of Harvard College 1997 March 21
  • Accession number 13665 Dean of Harvard College 1997 October 6
  • Accession number 14644 Samuel R. Williamson, Jr. 2002 September 23
  • Processing Information:

    Processed under the direction of Andrea Goldstein by Richard Currier, Chris Lubicz-Nawrocki, Jill Snyder, Rachel D'Agostino, and Keith Anderson, April-December 2000.
    Processing staff in the Harvard University Archives re-arranged the Records of the Dean of Harvard College in 2000. Re-arrangement included consolidation of series, creation of subseries, re-numbering of boxes, elimination of separate call numbers,creation of this finding aid, and rehousing of fragile material. Processing staff discarded duplicate records and records that did not fall within the scope of the collecting policy of the Harvard University Archives.

    Conditions on Use and Access:

    Access to unpublished University records is restricted for 50 years from the date of creation of the record(s). Access to student and personnel records is restricted for 80 years. See reference staff for details. No restrictions on access apply to published records. Details regarding restrictions on specific series and folders are noted.

    Online access:

    A few items in this record group have been digitized and are accessible online. Links accompany item descriptions.

    Allied Material in the Harvard University Archives

    University records

    Papers of individual faculty members

    See also publications by and about the Office of the Dean of Harvard College that are catalogued in Harvard's on-line integrated library system.

    History of the Office of the Dean of Harvard College

    The Dean of Harvard College is responsible for the day to day administration and operation of the College. First and foremost, he serves as a teacher, friend, counselor, and disciplinarian to undergraduates. He provides administrative leadership, direction, and counsel to House Masters and Senior Tutors who are charged with the immediate supervision of undergraduates in the Houses. The Dean formulates and administers the operating budget for all Houses and dormitories, and manages House assignments. The Dean of Freshmen, the Director of the Harvard Foundation, and student service agencies, such as the Bureau of Study Counsel, and the Office of Career Services, all report to the Dean of Harvard College. The Dean serves on numerous faculty, student-faculty, and inter-university committees. In addition, the Dean serves as chairman of the Administrative Board of Harvard College, which has the responsibility for reviewing all unsatisfactory undergraduate records and disciplinary cases for possible action.
    Throughout the history of the Office, the Dean of Harvard College has been concerned with the academic, mental, physical, and moral welfare of undergraduates, the enforcement of College rules, defining the rights and responsibilities of students, raising academic standards, widening admissions, providing for students' financial needs, developing the intellectual and social life of the Houses, the oversight of intercollegiate athletics, handling student demonstrations, improving relations between Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges, and reorganizing the administrative structure of the College to improve operations and services to students and faculty alike.
    Development of the College under President Eliot
    The creation of the Office of the Dean of Harvard College in 1890 was the direct result of numerous administrative and educational changes instituted by President Charles Eliot since his inauguration in 1869. Prior to 1869 there existed only four administrative officers in Harvard College: the President, the Steward, the Regent, and the Registrar. In 1870 Eliot established a new position, Dean of the College Faculty, in order to relieve himself of the burden of many formal administrative tasks involved in running College operations. At the time, the College Faculty controlled the system of instruction, made rules and regulations regarding the conduct of undergraduates, recommended students for degrees, and administered discipline. The Dean of the College Faculty presided at meetings of the Faculty in the absence of the President, took charge of records concerning admission, matriculation, scholarships, attendance, and petitions, and acted as a liaison between the President and Faculty.
    Improved College administration and improved relations between the President and the College Faculty enabled Eliot to push forward with his plan to further develop and extend the elective system, which granted students more freedom to arrange their coursework. In addition, President Eliot wanted to establish a formal distinction between undergraduate and graduate studies. As a result, the curriculum grew to reflect a diverse spectrum of knowledge, enrollment increased, and the Graduate Department was established in 1872. A new body, the Academic Council of the Graduate Department, reformed requirements for the A.M. degree and conferred, for the first time, the higher degrees of Doctor of Philosophy and Doctor of Science. More courses and more students required more instructors. Many of the strict rules regarding course requirements were relaxed in order to allow students greater academic freedom and choice. Policies and procedures concerning admissions, entrance examinations, and grading became more formal. This incredible growth in undergraduate and graduate enrollment, physical plant, faculty, and curriculum led to an explosion of clerical and administrative work.
    Under President Eliot the College Faculty fostered the growth of the elective system and the development of graduate instruction. However, by the late 1880s this body had grown too large to deal effectively with individual cases of discipline and other ordinary administrative activities. In particular, the growing number of undergraduates facing academic and behavioral discipline made clear to the Dean of the College Faculty the need to balance the academic freedom of the elective system with an advisory system specifically designed to helped undergraduates, especially freshmen, make the transition from secondary school to College. The Freshman class was placed under the charge of a committee of Faculty advisers who reviewed course selection and offered academic and personal counsel. The Board of Overseer's Committee on Government urged continued revision of College rules to achieve consistent enforcement and application of discipline, academic standards, and administrative methods.
    The Establishment of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences
    Between 1889 and 1891 President Eliot led an administrative reorganization of Harvard, which included the dissolution of the separate faculties of Harvard College and the Lawrence Scientific School and the creation of the single Faculty of Arts and Sciences, which had charge of the College, the Scientific School, and the new Graduate School of Harvard University, formerly called the Graduate Department. The Office of the Dean of the College Faculty ceased to exist, and Clement Lawrence Smith, who had served in that office since 1882, was appointed the new Dean of Harvard College. Two additional deanships were created as well: Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Dean of the Graduate School. The Faculty of Arts and Sciences voted to delegate its authority to handle routine advising, administrative, and disciplinary matters to the Administrative Boards of its three departments. The Dean of Harvard College served as chairman of the Administrative Board of Harvard College and oversaw the day to day administration of the College. In addition, the Regent, who would work closely with the Dean of the College, took over the duties of the chairman of the Parietal Board and supervised proctors, student clubs, and student health.
    The Briggs Era
    Smith served as Dean of Harvard College for only one year and was succeeded in 1891 by Le Baron Russell Briggs, a Professor of English. Two of the primary reasons for Eliot's choice of this new Dean were Briggs' familiarity with undergraduates that had developed from close contact with students in the classroom and his own friendship with Briggs. Dean Briggs' concern for the intellectual, mental, physical, and moral welfare of Harvard students was reflected in his ambitious agenda, as well as in the sympathetic tone which he set for the administration of the College and the work of the Administrative Board.
    To ease the students' transition from secondary school to College, Dean Briggs consulted parents to find out the strengths and weaknesses of their sons. This information was forwarded to various administrative officers, faculty, and medical staff who served students as advisers and counselors. In addition, the Dean led the College's efforts to improve teaching and curriculum at secondary schools. The hope was that these efforts would better prepare young men for college work and allow Harvard to do away with prescribed introductory courses, reduce course load, and enable more men to earn a bachelor's degree in three years.
    Briggs worked with President Eliot to streamline and simplify the College Rules, making them easier to understand and apply. The Administrative Board not only administered discipline in academic and behavioral matters but also investigated the causes for these violations and attempted to address them. An influx in the number of cases of dishonest work revealed the problem of lazy students who were unprepared for college work as well as students who resorted to cheating because they were physically drained due to participation in athletic sports, pressure to keep their scholarships, and the distraction of having to work full-time to support themselves. Under Briggs' leadership, the Committee on the Regulation of Athletic Sports began to check many of the excesses in College sports. Through the Committee on Scholarships, the Committee on Pecuniary Aid, and the Floating Loan Fund, he worked to help poor students secure financial relief and jobs. Dean Briggs supported the raising of academic standards, first and foremost by improving methods of admission, and urged President Eliot to accept the entrance examinations prepared, conducted, and graded by the newly established College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB).
    Briggs resigned as Dean of Harvard College in 1902 and was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. In this office, he continued to serve as a mentor to successor Deans, an adviser to the President, and a friend to students. The following year he was also named President of Radcliffe College. These new roles enabled Briggs to play an important part in the development and improvement of relations between Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges.
    The Hurlbut Era
    Byron Satterlee Hurlbut succeeded Briggs as Dean of Harvard College, serving until 1916. As an Assistant Professor of English, Hurlbut, like Briggs, had developed a close relationship to many undergraduates. In addition, he was already familiar with College operations because he had previously served as the Recording Secretary. One of the first tasks that he assumed upon taking office was raising the standards of scholarship. Although this task was begun under President Eliot, it would not be completed until the presidency of Abbot Lawrence Lowell. Dean Hurlbut served on the Faculty Committee on Improving Instruction, which reported that most students did not devote enough time to their studies and called for reforms of the elective system. Various means were developed to both require and encourage students to strive for academic achievement. Under Hurlbut's leadership, the Administrative Board began to place more students on academic probation; students intending to become candidates for degrees with distinction record their names with the Dean's Office, earning greater discretion in the ordering of their courses; and CEEB papers and examination books are accepted for admission to Harvard College.
    An Assistant Dean was appointed to provide Hurlbut with much needed administrative support. The Dean assigned his new Assistant responsibility for the Freshman class, providing additional counseling and guidance to supplement the work of the Board of Freshmen advisers. A single Committee on Admission was appointed and reported to the Dean of the College. A membership limit was placed on the Administrative Board in the hope that a smaller Board size would result in a more effective, consistent, and timely dispatch of administrative work and discipline. The creation of a Student Council, representing undergraduate opinions and concerns, presented the Dean with a new means for communicating with and identifying problems affecting the welfare of the student body. Hurlbut's positive experience with the Student Council set the precedent for a fruitful and lasting relationship between the Dean's Office and the Council.
    Among the most significant events of Hurlbut's tenure as Dean was the adoption by the Faculty of new rules governing the choice of electives, which resulted in the systematic planning of College work and an increase in the administrative and advisory duties of the Dean's Office. These modifications, which went into effect in 1910 with the full support of President Lowell, included concentration in a definite field, course distribution requirements in four elective groups, more frequent contact between undergraduates and Faculty advisers to discuss their overall academic plan, stiffening of easy courses, and improved attendance. New admission requirements and entrance examinations led to better methods of selection, fewer students being admitted to College with conditions, and a reduction in the number of students placed on academic probation. In addition, the introduction of tutorial instruction allowed undergraduates the opportunity to pursue serious intellectual investigation.
    Although the modification of the elective system raised standards of scholarship at Harvard College, the Dean, from his work on the Administrative Board and as a Faculty Adviser himself, was still very much aware of the academic, mental, physical, and financial challenges that students faced. Hurlbut continued Briggs' work in increasing the amount of scholarship, beneficiary, and loan funds and directed his Assistant to seek Freshmen who were struggling academically and emotionally and offer them advice, encouragement, admonishments, and one on one conferences to help them study more effectively. The transition from secondary school to College was further eased in 1914 with the opening of the Freshmen dormitories.
    The Yeomans Era
    In 1916, Henry Yeomans, an Assistant Professor of Government and Assistant Dean of Harvard College, succeeded Hurlbut as Dean, serving until 1921. Many of the reforms begun under Hurlbut encouraged closer contact between students, faculty, and administrative officers. The increased demand on the Dean's time made it difficult to keep up with teaching, administrative, and advisory work. To relieve the administrative burden on the Dean's Office, two new Assistant Deans, both recent graduates, were appointed. Each of the Assistant Deans was given immediate charge of two of the classes, Freshmen/Juniors and Sophomores/Seniors, and remained in contact with them throughout their entire College course. Dean Yeomans also worked closely with the Regent to select Proctors and oversee student organizations, relied on Student Council reports, met with the University's Medical Officer to discuss the mental and physical health of students, and, along with the Secretary of the Committee on the Choice of Electives, reviewed course distribution.
    Prior to the United States' entrance into World War I, many students were anxious to serve their country. Dean Yeomans coordinated the work of the Administrative Board and the War Department, setting up the Students' Army Training Corp and facilitating the enlistment of students. Following the War, Dean Yeomans spent a year as an exchange professor in France and Chester Noyes Greenough served as Acting Dean of Harvard College from 1919-1920. During the War, the College maintained normal operations, which made the return to peacetime conditions easier. Although operations were running smoothly, Greenough was forced to deal with the demoralization of many returning student soldiers. To meet these students' academic and personal guidance needs, an additional Assistant Dean was appointed, and departments added more tutors as well.
    The Greenough Era
    In 1921, Greenough succeeded Yeomans as Dean of Harvard College, serving until 1927. The incorporation of the Records Office with the Dean's Office added to an already swollen staff size. Under Greenough, operations in the Dean's Office became standardized, policies and procedures were documented, deadlines for actions were established, and communication among staff was improved. Appointed Chairman of the Committee on the Investigation of Athletic Sports, Greenough worked with the President, faculty, and colleagues at other colleges and universities to regulate the excesses of intercollegiate sports. As Dean he oversaw the full implementation of the general final examination system that had been introduced earlier in 1912. Tutorial instruction provided by the College was vital to the success of this examination system, since the final exam tested a much broader range of knowledge than was covered in course work alone. Greenough strengthened the advisory role of tutors and made clear through the disciplinary actions of the Administrative Board the distinction between cramming and dishonest work and coaching and guidance.
    Other innovations during Greenough's brief tenure included the appointment of Assistant Deans for each class, inauguration of Freshmen Week, closer relations between the heads of secondary schools and the College, publication of the Rank List, elimination of academic probation based on interim November and April grades, and reorganization of the Board of Freshmen Advisers.
    The Hanford Era
    In 1927, Alfred Chester Hanford succeeded Greenough and served until 1947, the longest tenure of any of the Deans of Harvard College. Over his twenty years in office, he guided the College administration through the implementation of the House Plan, the economic uncertainty of the Depression, and the upheaval caused by the Second World War on Harvard's student body, faculty, curriculum, and physical plant. Since ca. 1910, the Senior class had lived together in the College Yard, and the Freshmen class had lived together in dormitories. However, President Lowell wanted all upperclassmen to experience this intellectual and social camaraderie. As a result, the House Plan distributed upperclassmen throughout a system of new houses and former freshmen halls; the Dean's Office supervised the assignment of students to the Houses. The Houses became the center of intellectual and social life for upperclassmen and were intimately associated with the tutorial system. Faculty lived with students, working as House Masters and Tutors.
    Dean Hanford was particularly concerned with the welfare of the Freshmen class. While the House Plan addressed many of the needs of upperclassmen, freshmen all too often were still struggling in the transition from secondary school to College. The Administrative Board devoted too much time to the academic and behavioral discipline of freshmen. In fact, Hanford found that many of the College Rules were too restrictive, adding needlessly to the clerical and administrative burden of his office, and that they were better suited to a secondary school than to a college. He supported tougher admission standards and the denial of readmission to students forced to withdraw because of chronic unsatisfactory grades and/or inappropriate behavior. It was obvious to Hanford that all of the work involved in supervising the freshmen class required more than just the attention of an Assistant Dean and a Board of Freshman Advisers. He recommended to President Lowell that a separate office reporting to the Dean of the College be established to better serve the specific needs of freshmen. In 1931, Delmar Leighton, a former Assistant Dean and future Dean of Harvard College, was appointed to the new position of Dean of Freshmen. His office centralized all freshmen educational, advisory, and social services and took over the work previously carried out by the Board of Freshmen Advisers, thereby providing the faculty and the Dean's Office with relief from this additional administrative burden.
    The devastating economic impact of the Depression forced the College and the Dean of the College to address the numerous financial difficulties and related academic and social problems facing undergraduates. Student Council reports proved an invaluable resource to the Dean, providing him with insight to the concerns, opinions, and struggles of undergraduates. A tutoring scandal revealed the growing number of students resorting to outside academic support. In response, Dean Hanford worked to set up the Bureau of Supervision, later renamed the Bureau of Study Counsel, which helped undergraduates improve study methods and offered academic and personal guidance. Assistant Deans took over responsibility for supervision of undergraduate organizations after the Office of the Regent was abolished. The College created the post of Consultant on Careers to advise seniors in their vocational choice; profits from the dining halls were used to fund a temporary student employment program; a new Committee on Scholarships and Other Financial Aids was established to ensure a more uniform and fair awards policy; and the Office of Associate Dean of Harvard College in Charge of Alumni Placement and Student Employment was established to help undergraduates, graduate students, and alumni secure employment.
    In addition, the College created a program of National Scholarships, which extended the opportunity for higher education to qualified students in the Midwest and South on a need-blind basis. Operating out of the Dean's Office, the National Scholarships program, which required Dean Hanford and his Assistants to travel throughout the United States, recruiting candidates and overseeing examinations, led to improved relations between the College in Cambridge and numerous regional alumni groups.
    In the years leading up to World War II, Hanford ensured that the Harvard campus remained open to the free exchange of ideas among various student organizations supporting isolationist or military action policies. Immediately following the entrance of the United States into World War II, Harvard University devoted its academic and physical resources to meeting the government's military instruction and research needs. The Administrative Board facilitated early graduation and leaves of absence for students joining the armed services. The College operated on a year-round basis, Dean Hanford suspended intercollegiate athletics, and the College ranks swelled with thousands of enlisted men, officers, and students enrolled in special military training and education programs. Dean Hanford served as a liaison between Harvard officials and Army administrators overseeing the incorporation of these programs into the curriculum and the welfare of the trainees. As Chairman of the New England Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools' Committee on the Armed Forces Institute, Hanford worked with military educators to develop policies and procedures for administering examinations and developing course content that would satisfactorily meet admission and advanced placement requirements of schools and colleges for new and returning students following demobilization at the end of World War II.
    The return of thousands of veterans to campus following the end of World War II, in addition to new students entering Harvard for the first time, increased the volume of clerical and administrative work and made it difficult for the College's undergraduate advising programs to adequately meet the needs of such large classes. The Office of the Counselor for Veterans was established to meet the special academic, counseling, and housing needs of returning soldiers. A new Associate Dean of Harvard College was appointed to provide Hanford with relief from the burden of dealing with the Houses, parietal rules, and student activities.
    The Bender Era
    In 1947, Wilbur Joseph Bender, the former Counselor for Veterans, succeeded Hanford as Dean of Harvard College. He immediately began to confront the numerous academic and morale problems facing the classes. A 1945 Faculty vote, based on the Report of the Committee on the Objectives of a General Education in a Free Society, had allowed every Department the freedom to decide whether or not it would offer tutorial instruction. As a result, many upperclassmen went untutored, receiving little or no individual counsel from a faculty member. Dean Bender called for the appointment of more Assistant Deans and worked with the Dean of Freshman to institute closer working relationships among all the College's advisory services including the Board of Freshmen Advisers, the Bureau of Study Counsel, the Department of Hygiene, and the Office of Tests. To improve the allocation of scholarship, beneficiary aid, and loan funds and to make more effective use of University resources, Bender carried out a sweeping reform of the College's financial aid activities, which included the creation of the Harvard College Financial Aid Center.
    The failure to remedy the advisory system at Harvard made it apparent to Bender that the Office of the Dean of the College could no longer handle the academic, social, mental, and financial problems of such an oversized student body. In November 1950, a subcommittee of the Faculty Committee on Educational Policy, headed by Dean Bender, submitted a report on advising that recommended supervision of upperclass advising be transferred from the Dean's Office to the Houses. In addition, the report suggested that the residential Houses should have a more central role in the educational life of Harvard's undergraduates. In November 1951, the Faculty voted to approve the plan to decentralize the Dean's Office.
    The Leighton Era
    Effective July 1, 1952, the Office of the Dean of Harvard College was abolished. The three Assistant Deanships for upperclassmen were abolished and their duties transferred to the Houses. The seven Senior Tutors of the Houses and the Graduate Secretary of the Commuter's Center were replaced by eight Allston Burr Senior Tutors, one for each of the seven Houses and the eighth in charge of upperclass commuters. The new Senior Tutors were, in effect, Deans of their Houses. Each was responsible for the academic standing and discipline of their students, supervised their House tutorial program, worked with their House Master and House staff in the development of academic and social House activities, and served as a member of the Administrative Board of Harvard College.
    Most of the responsibilities of the Office of the Dean of the College were divided between two new deanships: the Dean of Students and the Dean of Admissions and Financial Aids. In 1952, as part of the reorganization of the College administration, Bender was named the Dean of Admissions and Financial Aids, supervising the work of the Admissions Office, the Freshmen Scholarship Office, and the Financial Aid Center. That same year, Delmar Leighton, the former Dean of Freshmen, was appointed Dean of Students. The Associate Dean of Harvard College became the Associate Dean of Students; his duties remained the supervision of student organizations and extracurricular activities.
    As Dean of Students, Leighton had general oversight over the work of the Allston Burr Senior Tutors, served as Chairman of the Administrative Board of Harvard College, and helped to coordinate the activities of the Board of Freshmen Advisers, the Bureau of Study Counsel, the Office of Tests, the Student Placement Office, and Phillips Brooks House. Leighton alerted President Nathan M. Pusey to the desperate need to reduce overcrowding in the Houses, to improve the physical plant, and to increase financial aid to offset the high inflation of the 1950s. In particular, he was concerned with improving the intellectual and social life for non-resident students and worked with House Masters to extend many of the benefits of the House System to commuters. Pusey undertook the Program for Harvard College, a major fundraising campaign that financially strengthened all aspects of College life for students, faculty, and administrators.
    The Monro Era
    In 1956, the titles Dean and Associate Dean of Harvard College were once again used rather than the title Dean of Students. In 1958, Leighton resigned to become the first Master of Dudley House, the former Non-Resident Students' Center. John U. Monro, who previously served as the Director of the Financial Aid Center, was appointed the new Dean of the College and Robert B. Watson, the Associate Dean of the College was appointed to the re-established post of Dean of Students.
    In his new position, Monro continued to be an advocate for undergraduate financial aid, working with the Director of Student Employment to set up the Harvard Student Agencies, Inc., which provided students the opportunity to finance their higher education through enterprise. Continued improvements in admission standards resulted in better prepared and educated students entering Harvard College. The curriculum was broadened and tutorial work extended to all students in good standing. Dean Monro joined with the Student Council and its successor, the Harvard Council for Undergraduate Affairs, urging the College to ease parietal rules and to oppose the loyalty oath-and-affidavit requirements of the National Defense Education Act. He took a strong stance against the experimental use of hallucinogenic drugs on campus and refused to allow students to be used as research subjects in unethical or dangerous psychological investigations.
    Monro, in both his professional and personal life, devoted himself to service to others and encouraged undergraduates to concern themselves with issues beyond the College gates. In the early 1960's, students had a growing consciousness of the struggle for education, civil rights, the conflict in Southeast Asia, and the fact that Harvard University received large sums of money in the form of contracts and grants from the Federal government for conducting military research. Monro worked closely with the Phillips Brooks House, placing students as volunteer teachers in local schools, as well as secondary schools in Africa. In 1961, with Monro serving as a sponsor and liaison, Harvard College and the Graduate School of Education signed a contract with the newly established U.S. Peace Corps to develop a summer training program to prepare Peace Corps volunteers to teach secondary school in Nigeria. In the summer of 1964, Monro served as leader of the Miles College Project, heading up a group of Harvard undergraduates and a group of faculty and students from Miles College, a predominantly black college in Birmingham, Alabama, on a reading and education mission throughout elementary schools in Birmingham.
    In the mid 1960s, Dean Monro, along with the rest of the administration, became wary of disturbances occurring on other college and university campuses in response to the escalation of the United States' involvement in Vietnam. Against the wishes of many in the Harvard community, the College conducted Selective Service examinations, forwarding these, along with rank lists, to students' local draft boards. A November 1966 incident foreshadowed the conflicts and clashes that would occur at Harvard between students, faculty, and the College administration. Following a speech by Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara to the Kennedy Institute of Politics, Harvard College student members of Students for a Democratic Society confronted the Secretary in the street, blocking his car. Harvard police had to be called in to clear the scene. Dean Monro sent a formal apology to McNamara, which was issued as a press release stating that in no future demonstrations on campus, for whatever purpose, could tactics inhibiting the free movement of any individual be accepted at Harvard. However, the Administrative Board, which Monro chaired, decided not to take disciplinary action against the students.
    The Glimp Era
    Monro resigned in 1967 to accept a full-time appointment at Miles College and was succeeded by Fred L. Glimp, the former Dean of Admissions and Financial Aids, who served until 1969. During his two years as Dean of Harvard College, Glimp was forced to deal with a campus in turmoil. Soon after Glimp took office, in October 1967, a representative of the Dow Chemical Company recruiting on campus was barricaded by students protesting Dow's manufacture of napalm for combat use. Dean Glimp and several other members of the College administration and Faculty talked with the demonstrators, eventually getting them to allow the representative to leave without any interference. The Administrative Board declared the students' actions to be an unacceptable violation of an individual's Constitutional freedoms, but rather than take serious disciplinary action, the Board placed only some students on probation. In the wake of the Dow incident and in an attempt to ease tensions on campus, the Faculty voted to establish the Student-Faculty Advisory Council to improve communication between students, Faculty, and the Administration. The Faculty of Arts and Sciences appointed a committee to review the role of the Faculty in the Houses and its role in the intellectual and social lives of students. In addition, parietal rules were eased, reflecting the changing social climate.
    In December 1968, students occupied Paine Hall in advance of a scheduled Faculty meeting to consider the future of ROTC on campus. After this incident, the Administrative Board finally acted and, by a split vote, recommended the withdrawal from the College of five students who had previously been placed on probation for their involvement in the Dow Chemical incident. However, this vote was overturned by the Faculty, who took back their disciplinary powers previously granted to the Administrative Board, and voted instead to continue probation. By this action, the Faculty greatly weakened the authority of Dean Glimp, the Administrative Board, and the College administration as a whole.
    By February 1969, following months of protest and growing opposition on campus to the draft, ROTC, and the U.S. presence in Vietnam, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences passed a resolution to withhold academic credit from ROTC courses and requested the Harvard Corporation terminate ROTC faculty appointments and provide scholarship funds where need resulted from this faculty decision. In response to this faculty resolution, President Pusey appointed Dean Glimp to chair the ROTC Negotiating Committee to oversee these changes. Dissatisfied with the pace and amount of change, on April 9, 1969, protesters forcefully took over University Hall, demanding the immediate abolishment of ROTC, the restoration of scholarships to students who had been disciplined for prior demonstrations, and a halt to the physical expansion of the University in Cambridge and Boston. The students were forcibly removed from University Hall the next day, arrested, and arraigned in court. The Dean of Students, acting on behalf of Dean Glimp and the University, filed the complaints for criminal trespass against the students involved in the takeover.
    On April 11, 1969, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences held an emergency meeting, issuing a resolution asking that all criminal charges against the student protesters be dropped and that a special committee, rather than the Administrative Board of Harvard College, in which it had lost faith, be established to investigate the causes of the takeover and to handle all disciplinary action. The result was the creation of the Student-Faculty Committee of Fifteen, which issued a report calling for the adoption of an Interim Statement on Rights and Responsibilities intended to make absolutely clear the line between permissible and prohibited behavior at Harvard. Also in April 1969, the Harvard Corporation accepted a Faculty of Arts and Sciences recommendation that the principle governing ROTC be that it operate as other ordinary extracurricular activities with no special privileges granted by contract or informal arrangement. The following month, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences adopted a resolution to terminate all ROTC programs by June 30, 1971.
    The May Era
    In 1969, Ernest R. May, a Professor of History, succeeded Glimp as Dean of Harvard College, serving until 1971. Dean May entered office at a time of great distrust among students and Faculty of University and government institutions, and made it a priority to restore their faith in the College administration. Protests and disruptions on campus continued, including the fall 1969 attacks on the Center for International Affairs. However, neither the Office of the Dean of Harvard College nor the Administrative Board was involved in disciplinary matters for these types of incidents. The Committee on Rights and Responsibilities, the successor to the Committee of Fifteen, now had statutory permission to hear and decide cases calling for the discipline of students who violated the University's Interim Statement on Rights and Responsibilities.
    A Commission on Inquiry, consisting of Faculty and student members, was established to provide a forum in which complaints, grievances, and questions could be filed for review. The Commission published reports, which made recommendations to improve relations on campus among students, Faculty, and the administration. In response to student demands to be better informed about the activities of the University and the College administration, Dean May began to issue a series of Occasional Reports, which provided the Harvard community with background information on policies, alerts to changes, and clarifications about the responsibilities of various committees.
    Dean May called for a review of the tutorial system and undergraduate curriculum. He urged the Faculty to provide the Administrative Board of Harvard College and students with greater flexibility in regard to the application of educational policy. Working with the subcommittee on Undergraduate Education of the newly created Faculty Council, Dean May revised and simplified the booklet, Rules Relating to College Studies. As Dean of Harvard College, May oversaw the merging of the Harvard and Radcliffe House systems and the transition to co-residential living. He was greatly assisted in this endeavor by the new Committee on Houses and Undergraduate Life, which provided a forum for students, Faculty, House Masters, tutors, and College administrators to discuss concerns, frustrations, and suggestions about the effects of a single House system on undergraduate educational and social life.
    In addition, during May's tenure as Dean, Derek Bok assumed the presidency of Harvard. Bok instituted a major reorganization of the University's central administration, which improved the lines of communication among Faculty, administrators, students, alumni, and the neighboring community and continued the process of restoring the faith of the Harvard community in University institutions.
    The Whitlock Era
    In 1971, Dean May was appointed the Acting Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education and was succeeded as Dean of the College by Charles Preston Whitlock, who had previously served as vice chairman of the Administrative Board. Whitlock, like May before him, focused on improving the quality of undergraduate life at the College. A flexible curriculum was implemented through an increase in House tutorials, Freshmen seminars, and opportunities for independent study. The new House Committees on Instruction helped to improve coordination between tutorial and advising systems. In 1974, Henry Rosovsky, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, appointed a committee to review the curriculum as a whole and to define objectives and priorities of undergraduate education at Harvard College.
    That same year, the Buckley Amendment to the Family Privacy Act of 1974 had a tremendous impact on the educational process at Harvard and other institutions of higher learning. Designed to ensure that student records would not be disclosed to others without the consent of the student, this Federal legislation also enabled students access to their own records, including recommendations and other such documents written by faculty, parents, advisers, and administrators under the assumption of confidentiality. As chairman of the Administrative Board, Whitlock worked with the Office of the General Counsel to develop the College's new record-keeping procedures to comply with the legislation.
    The initial smooth transition to co-residential living was short-lived as numerous problems began to surface. The Committee on Housing and Undergraduate Life brought to the Dean's attention the growing dissatisfaction of students with overcrowding in the Houses, forced Housing assignments, unfair ratios of men to women in some of the more popular Houses, and the large number of Freshmen forced to live in the former Radcliffe Quadrangle Houses, separated from the majority of Freshmen in the College Yard. To ensure a more efficient management of the Housing System, the houses and dormitories account, also known as Dept. 91, was transferred from the Office of the Associate Dean of the Faculty for Resources and Planning to the Office of the Dean of Harvard College. In 1974, Dean Whitlock, along with President Bok, President Horner of Radcliffe, and Dean Rosovsky, established a study group to examine Housing options. Although no action on the Housing problem would take place until the deanship of John Fox, the study group did recommend that a Task Force on College Life be established to examine the impact of the College on undergraduates.
    The Fox Era
    In 1976, John B. Fox succeeded Whitlock as Dean of Harvard College, serving until 1985. Previously, Fox served as the Director of the Office of Graduate and Career Plans and the Assistant Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences for Academic Administration. Soon after becoming Dean, Fox turned his attention to students' growing dissatisfaction with Housing assignments. In an effort to address many of the difficulties that resulted from the integration of the Harvard-Radcliffe Housing systems, he proposed the Comprehensive Plan for the Residential System.
    The Plan called for the elimination of four-year Houses, the placement of all freshmen in or adjacent to Harvard Yard, a reduction in the number of upperclassmen forced to live outside their Houses, an upgrade to facilities in the Radcliffe Quadrangle, and extended hours at the Harvard Union. After extensive discussion within the University community, which included strong opposition from some student and faculty groups, Fox eventually secured the support of the House Masters, the Administrative Board for Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges, and the Committee on Houses and Undergraduate Life. Dean Rosovsky accepted Fox's changes to the Housing system and helped to implement the Plan in the 1977-1978 academic year.
    By the time Dean Fox began his tenure, the Office of the Dean of Harvard College had assumed a much smaller role in College affairs. The late 1960s and early 1970s saw an explosion in student-faculty committees, the removal of certain basic disciplinary powers from the Administrative Board, and a general lack of confidence in University institutions. Fox made it a priority to reassert the authority and influence of the Office of the Dean. Acceptance and implementation of his ambitious Comprehensive Plan signaled the beginning of a return to leadership. Other efforts by Fox to strengthen the structure and organization of the office included organizing the Undergraduate Council, which consisted of senior administrative officials in the College, who met weekly with the Dean of the College to share ideas, problems, and set common goals. He instituted regular meetings between himself and the House Masters, simplified many of their administrative responsibilities, and provided them with memoranda outlining College policies and procedures. Wanting to restore the link and improve relations between the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the Administrative Board, Fox encouraged more tenured faculty members to serve on the Board. In addition, he urged the Harvard Corporation to provide Allston Burr Senior Tutors with higher pay and official recognition as deans of their respective Houses.
    Fox's concern for the welfare of the Office of the Dean was matched by his concern for the welfare of the classes. He appointed an Assistant Dean of Harvard College with special responsibilities for coeducation, demonstrating his own and the College's commitment to the full integration of women. To better coordinate the College's numerous academic, mental health, and career counseling programs, Fox established and served as chairman of the Standing Committee on Advising and Counseling. He appointed the Committee to Review College Governance to improve the quality of College life by reforming the student-faculty committee system. In 1981, in response to the Gomes Report, which addressed the state of race relations on campus and the cultural, social, and educational needs of minority students, Fox facilitated the creation of the Harvard Foundation. The purpose of the Foundation was to address issues of race relations and improve racial understanding in the Harvard community through direct interaction and collaboration among faculty, administrators, and students. In addition, under Fox's leadership, the Office of the Dean acted as an advocate for student concerns, calling on the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the President for University-wide policies addressing such issues as sexual harassment, women's rights, racism and race relations on campus, and gay rights.
    The Jewett Era
    In 1985, L. Fred Jewett, the former Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, succeeded Fox as Dean of Harvard College, serving until 1995. He inherited a tense atmosphere on campus as growing numbers of student and faculty groups turned to civil disobedience to hold the University morally accountable for investments in companies with questionable business practices. In April 1986, students erected shanties in Harvard Yard to protest the University's refusal to divest its stocks in companies with operations in South Africa. Although the presence of these structures were in violation of the College Rules, Dean Jewett as chair of the Administrative Board, decided to allow them to stand because they encouraged free expression.
    Like Fox before him, Dean Jewett turned his attention to reforming the College's House assignment system. A review of the makeup of House populations revealed that certain student groups, such as minorities and athletes, were congregating. Whether this was by choice or accident, Dean Jewett perceived it as being detrimental to the educational mission of the Houses and the intellectual and social development of upperclassmen. His proposal to modify the assignment system, limiting student choice in the hope of increasing diversity in the Houses, met with significant opposition from students, House Masters, and the student-faculty Committee on House Life. Rather than continuing to press the matter and risk losing the support of the Harvard community for other items in his administrative agenda, Dean Jewett decided against implementing changes to the system.
    Under Dean Jewett, the Office of the Dean of Harvard College continued to reorganize operations to better help it reclaim a leadership role in the Harvard community. In 1987, in response to a proposal from the Race Relations Advisory Committee, which was chaired by Dean Jewett, an Assistant Dean for Race Relations and Minority Affairs was added to his staff. He transferred oversight for responsibility for the Office of Special Programs, which handled the administrative work related to Special Concentrations, Advanced Standing, and Hoopes Prizes, from the College office to the Office of the Dean for Undergraduate Education.
    In an effort to better meet the information needs of students and parents regarding various aspects of College life, Dean Jewett published the Administrative Board of Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges and Student-Faculty Judicial Board User's Guide. He served on national and University-wide committees to simplify admissions and financial aid procedures. He established a subcommittee of the Administrative Board to work with the Civil Liberties Union of Harvard to reform the Board's appeal process. As a member of the Committee on Ethics, he helped develop ethical standards for undergraduate behavior. He worked closely with Jeremy R. Knowles, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, to craft policy statements addressing such issues as underage drinking and alcohol on campus, AIDS awareness, and date rape.
    In 1994, Dean Knowles appointed a committee to review the administrative structure of Harvard College. The Committee, which was co-chaired by Harry Lewis, the Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science and later Dean Jewett's successor, considered ways to improve the organization and arrangement of College offices, departments, and staffs to get them to operate as effectively and efficiently as possible. The Committee's report stated that the Dean of the College, who was concerned primarily with advising and counseling and College regulations, and the Dean of Undergraduate Education, who was concerned primarily with educational policy, curriculum development, and teaching, needed to work more closely to ensure that academics continued to influence College affairs. The report called for the appointment of House Masters committed to undergraduate life, the need to reduce turnover in the ranks of senior tutors, which had caused instability and lack of experience among the membership of the Administrative Board, and the need to distribute students in a more uniform way among the College's residential Houses.
    In the spring of 1995, Dean Jewett, with the support of Dean Knowles, Dean of the College elect Lewis, and a majority of House Masters, announced that the modifications to the House assignment system, which he had proposed almost eight years earlier, would be implemented in full that coming fall. Students could still choose roommates and blocking groups, but in order to achieve a diverse population in the Houses, they would be assigned without any pre-determined order or pattern.
    The Lewis Era
    The appointment of Harry Lewis in 1995 marked only the second time since 1947 that a tenured faculty member was named Dean of Harvard College. Ernest R. May, a Professor of History, served briefly as Dean from 1969 to 1971. After World War II, the majority of the College Deans were educational administrators, so the choice of Lewis clearly signaled the University's commitment to increasing the involvement of the Faculty in the administration and governance of the College.
    The primary focus of Lewis' tenure as Dean has been the continued development and enhancement of academic programs in the Houses. He has made it a priority to achieve greater consistency in the training and knowledge of House Masters and Senior Tutors. As chair of the Administrative Board, Dean Lewis urged the Faculty of Arts and Sciences to raise the College's academic standards. In order to help students achieve higher levels of scholarship, Lewis, who also chairs the Committee on Advising and Counseling, has turned his attention to improving these services in departments and Houses, devising new practices that would foster more frequent contact between the faculty adviser and student. The appointment of an Assistant Dean of Harvard College for public service, consolidating the administration of public service programs in the Dean's Office, acknowledged the important role that student service plays in the life of the College and the need to better coordinate the resources of these organizations.
    More recently, in 1999, the Dean of Harvard College oversaw yet another administrative reorganization of College operations. The 1994 Report on the Structure of Harvard College,which was prepared by a committee co-chaired by Lewis, noted that more and more undergraduates were turning to senior tutors in the Houses or assistant deans of freshmen for assistance rather than to the Office of the Dean of Students. The retirement of Dean of Students Archie C. Epps III in 1999 presented Dean Lewis with the opportunity to institute a new organizational hierarchy. The position of Dean of Students was eliminated and its responsibilities were divided among three Associate Deans who report to the Dean of the College. Responsibilities were divided in the following manner: oversight of the Houses, athletics, advising and student health and welfare; responsibilities for technology projects and classroom space, including administrative and financial oversight of all College operations; and responsibility for student extracurricular affairs and other aspects of student life.


    Chronology of Office of the Dean of Harvard College

    Chronology of Office of the Dean of Harvard College

    Series and Subseries in the Collection


    The records are organized into four series reflecting how they were organized by the office, and thereunder arranged into topical or functional subseries and sub-subseries.

    Scope and Content of the Collection

    These records document the development and organization of the Office of the Dean of Harvard College and the numerous administrative activities, responsibilities, and interests of the Deans of the College from 1890 to 1995. The records consist of materials created and received by the Deans, Assistant Deans, and office staff in the course of the daily administration of Harvard College. The records cover such topics as the enforcement of College Rules, disciplinary matters, the relationship of the Dean to students, parents, faculty, and fellow administrators, the organization of the administrative structure of Harvard College, the role of the Houses in College life, the College's response to campus and national crisis, and the Deans' concern for the academic, mental, moral, and physical welfare of students. The majority of the records are in the General Subject Files subseries. Of particular interest is the Special Subject Files subseries, which contains material relating to students who served in the Spanish-American War, Harvard's role overseeing military education programs during World War II, and Harvard's cooperation with the Peace Corps. In addition, the Operations Records Series contains material relating to the professionalization of the Dean's Office staff.

    Inventory update

    This document last updated 2018 April 13.

    Obsolete Call Numbers

    The following list provides a map to old call numbers that were eradicated by Archives staff during processing. All of the records of the Office of the Dean of Harvard College now fall under the single call number of UAIII 5.33.

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