[OASIS] Harvard University Library
OASIS: Online Archival Search Information System
http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.ARCH:hua16010View HOLLIS Record   Frames Version
Questions or Comments   Copyright Statement
HU 20.35.1

Harvard University. Triennial Catalogues Collection, 1674-1794: an inventory

Harvard University Archives


Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: HU 20.35.1
Repository: Harvard University Archives
Creator: Harvard University
Title: Triennial Catalogues, 1674-1794
Date(s): 1674-1794
Quantity: 1.6 cubic feet (2 flat boxes, 5 oversized file folders, and one document box)
Language of materials: English
Abstract: The Triennial Catalogues are chronological and cumulative lists of Harvard graduates published every three years from 1674 to 1875. The Catalogues represent Harvard's first efforts to comprehensively document its graduates and were considered the official record of degree recipients. This collection contains Triennial Catalogues published during the 17th and 18th centuries. Annotated Triennial Catalogues are cataloged separately.

Acquisition information:

Many of the Triennial Catalogues in the Harvard University Archives were received as donations. Two Catalogues were purchased with Minot Funds. Photostats of originals not held by Harvard were received in the 20th century from the American Antiquarian Society, the Bodleian Library, Oxford, and the Library of Christ Church, Oxford. Specific acquisition information is noted at the item level.

Processing Information:

The broadside Triennial Catalogues in this collection were originally arranged and mounted in a large bound volume. Re-processing in 2010 involved a collection survey, assignment of a new call number to distinguish them from other Harvard catalogues, rehousing in appropriate archival folders and boxes, and the creation of this finding aid. Annotated catalogues were distinguished as separate collections.
This guide was created by Diann Bentiin June 2010.
Preservation and description of the Triennial Catalogues was supported by the Arcadia-funded project Harvard in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries.

Researcher Access:

The Triennial Catalogues Collection is open for research.

Copying Restriction:

Copying of fragile materials may be limited.

Preferred Citation:

Harvard University. Triennial Catalogues Collection, 1674-1794. HU 20.35.1, Harvard University Archives.

Related Materials

Chronological listing of all pre-1800 Triennial Catalogues held in the Harvard University Archives.
In the Harvard University Archives

Historical Note

The Triennial Catalogues were published by the College in Latin every three years to record the names of Harvard's alumni, beginning with the Class of 1642 and continuing through Harvard's most recent graduates. The Catalogues were published as broadsides from the first in 1674 through 1773. In 1776, the Triennial Catalogue evolved into an octavo pamphlet and was published through 1875 when it was replaced with a five-year Quinquennial Catalogue that was published through 1930.
The 1674 Catalogue began with a dedication by Harvard's President Leonard Hoar that honored the Massachusetts Governor Jonathan Leverett and other civic leaders. In the dedication, Hoar described the document as a "Catalogue of the Sons of Harvard who, over a space of three and thirty years have been admitted to some Degree in Arts, both as a Memorial and a votive Tablet of Honor, Gratitude, and Love" (translated in Samuel Morison, Harvard in the Seventeenth Century, page 412.) The concluding poem, directed towards the British crown, declared, "Upon these tablets fair engrossed, behold / honors conferred by custom on our youth / for labors well-deserved, their studies' yield" (translated in Morison, page 414).
The 1674 issue is considered the first published Triennial Catalogue, though the history of the Catalogues is incomplete and its publication schedule for the early editions is unclear. The next known Catalogue was published in 1682, and appears to be the last with a dedicatory preface; afterwards, the Triennial opened with a simple title (Catalogus Eorum qui in Collegio Harvardino...), followed by the class lists of the men (often with Latinized names) who received their Bachelor's degree in that year (class members who did not graduate were not included).
From the first Triennial, students who received Master's degrees were identified by the suffix "Mr," degrees from other institutions were noted, and those who became Fellows of the Corporation were identified with "Socius." Beginning with the 1682 Catalogue, abbreviations were added for alumni who had received doctorates or membership in learned societies. In the early Triennials the abbreviations were generally limited to S.T.D. (Sacrae Theologiae Doctor) for Doctorates of Theology and S.R.S for Fellows of the Royal Society, but expanded in later years. New editions brought changes including:
The printing of the Catalogues was paid for by the graduates; the Corporation minutes of June 27, 1758 directed the graduates of the 1755-1758 classes to "pay to the Steward for the printing [of] the Catalogue this year." The printing cost in 1776 totaled £41 to be paid to the printer from both College funds and the Steward's account. Newly published Catalogues were distributed on Commencement morning, and offered an ever growing list of the College's graduates for use by alumni, College staff, and the larger community. The Corporation minutes of July 24, 1764 requested 200 copies for members of the Massachusetts House of Representatives and the General Court of New Hampshire.
The last Triennial Catalogue was published in 1875. The Quinquennial Catalogue of the Officers and Graduates of Harvard University, 1636-1930 is the only chronological and cumulative list of Harvard graduates that has been compiled and published since then.



The Triennial Catalogues are arranged chronologically.

Scope and Content

This collection contains Triennial Catalogues published in the 17th and 18th centuries. It includes originals, as well as Photostat copies, 19th century reprints, and transcriptions of Triennial Catalogues held in other institutions. Although annotated Triennials are cataloged separately, a comprehensive chronological list of all 17th and 18th century Triennial Catalogues held by the Harvard University Archives is provided at the end of this finding aid.
William Coolidge Lane's Early Harvard Broadsides (Worcester, 1914) provides a comprehensive list of Triennials held at various institutions. Since the article's publication in 1914, a copy of the 1724 original was found in the library of Christ's Church, Oxford, and Harvard has acquired original copies from 1742 and 1773.
There are no known extant Triennial Catalogues for the following years: 1685 (mentioned in Henning Witte, Diarii biographici tomus secundus, [Riga, 1691]), 1697, 1703-1712, 1718, 1739, 1742.


This document last updated 2014 February 24.

Triennial Catalogue holdings in the Harvard University Archives, 1674-1800.



Container List