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UAV 605

Harvard University. News Office. Photographs, 1913-1991 (inclusive), 1956-1977 (bulk) : an inventory

Harvard University Archives

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Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: UAV 605
Repository: Harvard University Archives
Creator: Harvard University. News Office
Title: Records of the Office of News and Public Affairs : Photographs, 1913-1991 (inclusive) 1956-1977 (bulk)
Date(s): 1913-1991 (inclusive)
Date(s): 1956-1977 (bulk)
Quantity: 27 cubic feet (103 boxes)
Quantity: 47 document boxes, 14 half document boxes, 51 card boxes
Language of materials: English
Abstract: The Harvard University News Office was established in 1919. The first photographer was hired in 1943. These photographs document all aspects of the growth and development of Harvard University's architecture and environs, faculty and staff, students and campus life. Chiefly black-and-white photographic prints and negatives.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Received from the Harvard University News Office over a several decades, including unnumbered accessions.
  • Accession 10518 received 1985 August 13. Portraits of students and photos of athletics, orginally designated as the HT (Home Town) and ATH (Athletics) Files, ca 1958-1970 and photos of Summer School activities, 1960-1970.
  • Accession 12795 received 1993 December 6. Contact Sheets, 1936-1985
  • Accession 10695 received 1986 April 1. Portrait of University faculty, staff and visitors, A - Q, ca. 1956-ca. 1972.
  • Accession 12677 received 1993 May 28. Snapshots of Neil Rudenstine.
  • Processing Information:

    Re-processed by Dawn Marsh and Andrea Goldstein, January-September 2002. Minimal re-arrangement included consolidation of series, naming of subseries, re-numbering of boxes, elimination of some call numbers, creation of this finding aid, and rehousing of fragile material.
    Office history researched and written by Wendy Marcus Gogel in December 1989. In 2002, Dawn Marsh and Andrea Goldstein contributed minor additions to update the history.

    Conditions Governing Access:

    Open for research

    Related Materials

    The Harvard University Archives holds the extensive photograph archive of the Harvard News Office and the Office of News and Public Affairs (records in classifications beginning UAV 605) as well as an substantial portrait collection (http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.ARCH:hua04006.

    Separated Materials

    Accession 12677 received 1993 May 28. Contained the Snapshots of Neil Rudenstine that are in this collection. However, most of the photographs from accession 12677 are in UAV 605.295.8.

    Longer History of the Office of News and Public Affairs

    In 1919, Frederick L. Allen (FLA), recently appointed Secretary to the Corporation, was charged with the establishment of a news office to "get out a regular service of Harvard news to the newspapers." (FLA memorandum, June 1919) The relationship between the University and the press had been difficult, and without a central liaison the flow of information was often handled inconsistently. "Prior to 1919, as far as I can make out, Harvard had no agency which recognized the existence of the public or the press." (William Nichols address to the Associated Harvard Clubs, November 1933)
    Although the public and the press were interested in this prominent institution, the concept of publicity was controversial at Harvard. When the newspapers' sphere of influence increased dramatically during World War I, the University acknowledged the change by establishing the News Office. In a 1922 paper on college publicity, Allen wrote, "College publicity work is a comparatively new thing. It has developed within the past generation, almost one might say within the past decade, as a result of the increase in the power and prestige of the newspapers. Its development has been especially marked since the war. The war taught people what publicity could accomplish."
    Allen recognized the importance of photographs as News Office publicity, and he purchased pictures from Cambridge photographers to send to newspapers. During the early years he had difficulty obtaining the funding to hire photographers. In a memorandum, probably from Allen to his successor, James Seymour, Allen states, "In general I try to give opportunities to photographers to do anything that seems reasonable, although there is a ridiculous prejudice among many people around here against newspaper photographers. I have no objection to the person who objects to being personally posed, but it ought to be possible to take photographs of general scenes or occassions [sic] in a way that would not bother anybody and would be not only of interest but possibly of some historical value, and I hope you will be able to make some headway in broadening the opportunities for this sort of thing."
    The relationship between the University and the press remained unclear in 1932 when, before retiring, News Office Director Robert K. Lamb wrote a letter to president Abbott Lawrence Lowell emphasizing the need for an incumbent with previous newspaper experience. His successor, William I. Nichols, recognized photographs as a means for better communication, and firmly stated: "There is great need to arrange adequate photographic facilities so that all types of information about Harvard may be adequately illustrated." (William Nichols address to the Associated Harvard Clubs, November 1933)
    Although the first News Office photographer was not hired until 1943, the role of photography developed quickly after that. By the end of 1946, three photographers had been hired and the News Office installed darkroom facilities. During the 1940s and 1950s, News Office photography flourished and moved beyond publicity to an active documentary role. During the early 1970s, the News Office was placed administratively under the Office of the Vice President for Government, Community and Public Affairs. In 1994-1995, the name of the office was changed from Harvard News Office to Harvard University Office of News and Public Affairs.

    Arrangement

    Scope and Content of the News Office Photographs

    These photographs document all aspects of the growth and development of Harvard University's architecture and environs, faculty and staff, students and campus life. Chiefly black-and-white photographic prints and negatives.

    Inventory update

    Document last updated 2017 April 24.

    Obsolete Call Numbers

    The following is a list of old call numbers that were simplified during processing. These records now fall under the single call number of UAV 605.

    Container List