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Harvard University. Office of Career Services. Records of the Office of Career Services : an inventory

Harvard University Archives


Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: UAV262
Repository: Harvard University Archives
Creator: Harvard University. Office of Career Services.
Title: Records of the Office of Career Services,
Date(s): 1913-1985
Quantity: 32 cubic feet (100 boxes)
Quantity: Extent is approximate.

Custodial Information:

Accessioned into the Harvard University Archives directly from the Office of Career Services and its predecessor bodies.Accession number: 14688 ; received November 22, 2002 from the Office of Career Services.

Processing Information:

Processed by Michael Austin,January 2003-June 2004. Before 2003, the records of the Office of Career Services (OCS) were represented by nine different records sub-groups and classed under 54 separate call numbers. The record group has been extensively weeded, reorganized, refoldered, rehoused, and unified under one call number.
Users should note that individual subseries usually represent parts of the record group previously classed under separate call numbers. Efforts have been made to maintain the organization and integrity of these constituent parts since they conform most closely to the order in which they were maintained by OCS staff. However, when there was no discernable order within a given subseries, processing staff organized the records to facilitate physical and intellectual access.
Because these records were transferred to the Archives by OCS and its predecessors intermittently over some 70 years and processed under widely varying circumstances, there is corresponding variation in the method of writing dates and in the style of punctuation, capitalization, etc. For the most part this variation has been left as is, but in the cases noted above, i.e., where processing staff have created folder titles, an attempt at consistency has been made.

Conditions on Use and Access:

Access to unpublished archival records is restricted for 50 years from the date of creation of the record(s). Access to student records is restricted for 80 years. See reference staff for details. No restrictions on access apply to published records.

Related Material

See also Records of the Associate Dean in Charge of Alumni Placement and Student Employment, 1934-1942.

History of the Office of Career Services

The rudiments of career services at Harvard date from the late nineteenth century. Since then, services have grown in scope and complexity and have spread from one office to many. By the beginning of the twenty-first century, most faculties had established programs to assist students and graduates in managing their careers.
In the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, changes in career services can be seen in changes in the name of the office:
1929-1941, Harvard Alumni Placement Service; 1941-1946, suspended (War Service Information Office/Phillips Brooks House);1946-1960, Office of Student Placement;1960-1972, Office for Graduate and Career Plans;1972-1985, Office of Career Services and Off-campus Learning; 1985-, Office of Career Services.
In 1885 Frank Bolles, Secretary to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), issued blanks (registration forms) to be filled in by members of the senior class if help was needed in securing employment after leaving college. The blanks, when filled out, described the applicant, his capabilities and tastes, and the employment he wished to take up after graduating. (Boston Journal, 7 February 1894)
From 1895 to 1897 the Recording Secretary, Byron Satterlee Hurlbut, was in charge of the program until the general management was passed on to the Appointment Committee. The Appointment Committee, which consisted of one representative from each department of FAS, recommended students who were studying or had studied under that faculty for various positions. The Committee was used chiefly to place graduates in teaching positions, but also handled other professions.
In 1904 the Appointment Committee became known as the Appointment Office. In 1929 the Harvard Alumni Association established the Harvard Alumni Placement Service to introduce career advising for undergraduates. In 1930 the Faculty of Arts and Sciences appointed a Consultant on Careers to assist undergraduates. In 1935 the University assumed responsibility for the Alumni Placement Service which served seniors, graduate students, and alumni, and appointed George F. Plimpton as Associate Dean of Harvard College in Charge of Alumni Placement and Student Employment. The Alumni Placement Service concentrated on business and industrial positions, while the Appointment Office (administratively under the dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences) continued to place graduates in teaching positions. The Alumni Placement Service and the Appointment Office were suspended in 1941 as a result of war preparations (during the war years all non-military placement was done through Phillips Brooks House); these two offices were integrated as the Office of Student Placement in 1946 to serve recent graduates and students of Harvard College and of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. In 1960 the office became the Office for Graduate and Career Plans. In 1972 it was reorganized as the Office of Career Services and Off-campus Learning; in 1985 the name was shortened to the Office of Career Services.

Series and Subseries in the Collection

Scope of the Records of the Office of Career Services

These records document the activities of the Office of Career Services and its predecessor bodies. The records include correspondence with and about recruiting agencies, colleges and universities, and student and alumni counsellors; placement service files; records of fellowship administration relating to fellowship recipients, including letters of recommendation, applications for graduate study abroad, account balances on the fellowship stipend, and names of donors; form letters; sample Harvard-Radcliffe student folders; unpublished statistics and data for reports; and student and alumni questionnaires.

Inventory update

This document last updated 2013 June 21.

Obsolete Call Numbers

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