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HUD 3447

Hasty Pudding Club. Records of the Hasty Pudding Club, 1795-[2013] : an inventory

Harvard University Archives


Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: HUD 3447
Repository: Harvard University Archives
Creator: Hasty Pudding Club
Title: Records of the Hasty Pudding Club,
Date(s): 1795-[2013]
Quantity: 13 cubic feet (25 flat boxes, 13 document boxes, 10 volumes, 11 portfolio folders, 2 half document boxes, 1 accordion folder, and 1 record carton)
Language of materials: English
Abstract: The Hasty Pudding Club was founded on September 8, 1795; it is best known today for its annual theatrical productions starring male members in drag which began in 1844. This collection consists of records created by officers and members of the Hasty Pudding Club, documenting the Club's existence from its beginning in 1795 through the present.

Processing Note:

The collection was processed in 2012. Processing involved a collection survey, housing in appropriate archival folders and boxes, and the creation of this finding aid.
This finding aid was created by Juliana Kuipers in October 2012.

Conditions on Use and Access:

Open for research use, with the following exception: Hasty Pudding Club records in this collection are restricted for 50 years from the date of creation. These records are located in box 58.
Specific restrictions are noted in the inventory.

Preferred Citation:

Hasty Pudding Club. Records of the Hasty Pudding Club, 1795-[2013]. HUD 3447, Harvard University Archives.

Related Materials

Collections in the Harvard University Archives

Collections in the Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library

Collections in the Schlesinger Library

Historical note

The Hasty Pudding Club was founded on September 8, 1795, by members of the Harvard College Class of 1797 to "cherish the feelings of friendship and patriotism." Meetings were held in members' rooms, since the Club had no official club room or meeting space; its library, established in 1808, was given a room in Holworthy Hall by the Harvard Corporation in 1838. Early club activities included singing of songs, debates, exhibitions consisting of orations and poems, an annual dinner at Porter's Tavern in celebration of George Washington's birthday, mock trials, and, of course, the eating of hasty pudding (a pudding of corn cooked in milk or water).
As the mock trials became increasingly elaborate, featuring costumes and scripts, a transition to producing theatricals was perhaps inevitable. Lemuel Hayward, a member of the Harvard College Class of 1845, staged the Club's first play, "Bombastes Furioso," on December 13, 1844. The popularity of this and ensuing productions prompted the end of the Club's mock trials. In 1849, the Club was granted the use of two rooms in Stoughton Hall; by 1871, additional rooms had been added and a small stage was constructed. The Club produced as many as seven or eight short farces per season during the 1850s and 1860s. By the late 1860s, the Club was performing student-written productions, and gradually developed a pattern of producing three plays per year at Christmas, Easter, and June's Strawberry Night.
In 1876, the Club was forced to move out of its Stoughton Hall clubrooms and into smaller quarters on Jarvis Field. Although the move prompted a decrease in the number of productions per year, the reduced schedule allowed for increasely elaborate staging. In 1882, Owen Wister, a member of the Harvard College Class of 1882, wrote and produced the Club's first comic opera, Dido and Aeneas. This production toured in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. The popularity of the production, in part, prompted a ground swelling of financial support that enabled the Club to purchase a clubhouse at 12 Holyoke Street in 1888.
In the fall of 1924, the Hasty Pudding Club joined with the Institute of 1770, making it the oldest existing collegiate social club in the United States; the clubhouse was accordingly renovated and enlarged. The Institute of 1770 was originally founded as the Speaking Club of Harvard College on September 6, 1770, which later became known as the Patriotic Association. After various mergers with additional student clubs, including the Mercurian Club, the Hermetic Society, and Akribologoumenoi, the Association became known as the Institute of 1770 in 1825. In 1848, it then merged with the I.O.H. (Imitatores Omnium Honestarum).
In the early 1970s, the club split into two distinct entities: the Hasty Pudding Club and the Hasty Pudding Theatricals. The Hasty Pudding Club was a social club that was open to women. The Hasty Pudding Theatricals continued the tradition of producing a student-written show featuring male members in drag as well as giving out the annual Woman of the Year and Man of the Year awards; the awards date back to 1951 and 1967 respectively. The two groups were overseen by a graduate board known as the Institute of 1770.
In 1982, the club rented the top floor of the clubhouse to the restaurant Upstairs at the Pudding; the restaurant, which later moved to Winthrop Street and became Upstairs on the Square, catered Club events and was open to the public.In 1986 the Club sold the land on which its clubhouse stood to the University; in 2000, the University purchased the building as well. When the University closed the building for extensive renovations in 2003, the Club moved its headquarters to 2 Garden Street; Hasty Pudding Theatricals remained at 12 Holyoke Street. The building reopened as the New College Theatre in the fall of 2007 under management of the Office for the Arts at Harvard. The building houses the Hasty Pudding Theatricals, the Harvard Krokodiloes, and the Radcliffe Pitches, and hosts other student productions and events. In 2011, the building was renamed Farkas Hall.


Scope of the Records of the Hasty Pudding Club

This collection consists of records created by officers and members of the Hasty Pudding Club, documenting activities from the Club's founding in 1795 through the present. It contains administrative records, consisting chiefly of records created by officers of the club, as well as records of club activities, such as annual dinners, celebrations, and initiations, consisting of invitations, poems, communications to members and alumni, visitor books, and medals. The Club's annual theatricals are documented through programs, playbills, and posters, along with scattered vocal scores, scripts, and photographs; three items documenting the Hasty Pudding Club for Officers of 1943-1944. The collection also includes publications issued by the Club such as catalogs of members, and histories compiled by the Club, as well as publications issued by outside sources such newspapers clippings and articles documenting the history of the Club.

Inventory update

This document last updated 2016 November 14.

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