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HUD 257.714 F

Harvard College (1780- ). Class of 1857. Class Book, 1853-1910: an inventory

Harvard University Archives


Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: HUD 257.714 F
Repository: Harvard University Archives
Creator: Harvard College (1780- ). Class of 1857.
Title: Harvard College Class of 1857 Class Book, 1853-1910.
Date(s): 1853-1910.
Quantity: 0.3 cubic feet
Quantity: 1 Volumes 19 inches.
Abstract: The volume forms part of the Records of the Harvard College Class of 1857. It contains biographical information on class members and minutes of class meetings.

Acquisition Information and Provenance:

A notaion in the class book indicates that it was donated to the Harvard Archives by the Class Secretary Francis H. Brown on January 17, 1887. However, there are many entries written in this book after this date, which suggests that the class book was either donated at another time, or Brown continued to update the book after it left his care.

Processing Information:

Inventory created and encoded in November 2004 by Melissa J. Andrews, Intern.

Conditions on Access:

Open for research.

Related Material

This Class Book forms a part of the Records of the Harvard College Class of 1857.

History of the Class of 1857

While at Harvard, the class of 1857 took part in traditional student activities. Many were involved in student organizations, societies, publications, and sport. For example, the class organized and exclusively owned The Huron Boat Club, the victories of which are dutifuly recorded in the class book.
A few changes at Harvard experienced by the class of 1857 were the construction of Boylston Hall, the switch from oral final exams to written "blue book" exams, and abolishment of fraternal societies. Other changes were the addition of a music program in 1856, and the discontinuance of evening prayers in 1855.
After graduation many of the class members followed typical career paths, becoming lawyers, physicians, and theologians remaining in the New England area. Many also served in the Civil War, typically starting military service with the Massachusetts Volunteer Army. An exception to this typical career path was Livingston Stone, who worked for the U.S. Fish Commission transporting and developing salmon hatcheries for the Pacific Coast, as well as becoming one of the first explorers of the Columbia River and the Kodiak Islands. There were a few notalbes among the class.
John Davis Longhad a long political career, serving as the Governor of Massachusetts from 1880-1883, a Representative of Massachusetts in Congress, and Secretary of the Navy under President McKinley and President Roosevelt from 1897-1903. Other distingished class members were John Codman Ropes, a well published author and first editor of the American Law Review, and Charles Folsom Walcott who served in the Civil War, earning the rank of General.
As alumni, the class of 1857 left a lasting legacy at Harvard by designing and donating the Memorial Window to honor those who died in died during the Civil War. The window was placed in Memorial Hall in 1879 and cost well over 2,000 dollars, all of which was paid for by the class fund. The class committee took the task very seriously, selecting the design and subjects of the window, Epaminondas and Sir Phillip Sidney, representing their class with a solider and a scholar.

Evolution of the Harvard College Class Books

The Harvard classes began compiling class books in about 1800. These documents capture college life from freshman to senior year. They were typically written by an elected class secretary and included information about class members after graduation, as well as a record of alumni gatherings.
Each class book is titled according to a specific class's graduating year, but actually includes information about the entire college and post-college group experience. Harvard classes discontinued the practice of compiling class books around 1900.
Class books typically pre-date photography. The class books are complemented in the later years of the nineteenth century by another series, the class albums. Unlike class books, class albums were usually compiled by individual students, not the class secretary. Therefore, many class albums may exist for only a single class year. Class albums typically include a student's selection of photographs of students, faculty, staff, the campus, and buildings. Class albums exist for classes of the mid-20th to early 21st-century.


Gaps in the sequence of page numbers are pages that were left blank with in the class book. The last page with content is page 657; there are many blank pages that follow the last entry.

Scope and Content

The class book contains information about the Class of 1857 as a whole and its individual members. The information describes the life of the Harvard Class of 1857 starting with Freshman year and continuing through the years to when they were alumni more than 50 years past graduation. The information includes biographical information, class literature, and minutes of class meetings.

Inventory update

This document last updated 2016 April 13.

Other titles

Stamped on spine: Class Book of 1857.

Container List