[OASIS] Harvard University Library
OASIS: Online Archival Search Information System
http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.ARCH:hua43010View HOLLIS Record   Frames Version
Questions or Comments   Copyright Statement
UAI 15.800

Harvard University. Corporation. Laws and statutes of Harvard, 1655-1890: an inventory

[link]


Harvard University

©President and Fellows of Harvard College, 2011

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Harvard University Archives
Call No.: UAI 15.800
Creator: Harvard University. Corporation.
Title: Laws and statutes of Harvard, 1655-1890
Quantity: 3.21 cubic feet (1 legal document box, 1 half document box, and 28 volumes)
Abstract: The Harvard laws and statutes, first compiled in 1642 and revised periodically thereafter, defined appropriate student conduct, and detailed the requirements for admitted students; later laws included regulations for the library, the steward and butler, and governors and officers of the College. The collection contains manuscript copies of College laws from 1655 through 1789, a handwritten copy of the "Freshmen laws," and printed copies of laws in both draft and published forms from 1790 onward. Most of the items were used by Harvard Presidents and the Corporation while revising and editing the codes, and many include annotations. The records provide insight into the Harvard administration's expectations of student behavior and also offer a resource for studying collegiate governance, student life, and codes of conduct in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Note: This document last updated 2014 Febraury 25.

Acquisition information :

Most documents in this collection are University records and were acquired in the course of University business; others were donated and acquisition information is noted at the item level.

Researcher Access:

The Laws and statutes of Harvard are open for research.

Copying Restriction:

Copying of fragile materials may be limited.

Related Materials

In the Harvard University Archives

Preferred Citation:

Harvard University. Corporation. Laws and statutes of Harvard, 1655-1890. UAI 15.800, Harvard University Archives.

Processing Information :

The material was first classified and described in the Harvard University Archives shelflist prior to 1980. The material was originally described as part of a larger Harvard Corporation finding aid. The material was re-processed in 2010. Re-processing involved a collection survey, re-housing in appropriate archival folders and boxes, and the creation of this finding aid. Post-1800 materials have been included in the finding aid, but are not fully processed.
This finding aid was created by Diann Benti in October 2010.
Preservation and description of the Laws and statutes of Harvard was supported by the Arcadia-funded project Harvard in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries.

Arrangement

The records are organized in seven series:

Historical Note

The Harvard laws, first compiled in 1642, and revised periodically thereafter, defined appropriate student conduct and detailed the requirements for admitted students; later laws included regulations for the library, the steward and butler, and governors and officers of the College. Many of the College Laws focused on student behavior, religion, and academics, and attempted to confine students within the College Yard. The early laws were written in both English and Latin and recorded in Harvard’s College Book, but additional manuscript copies were made for use by the President, and also copied by students. The earliest published laws appeared in "Rules, and Precepts that are observed in the Colledge" in the 1643 tract, New Englands First Fruits.
The Harvard College Charter of 1650 assigned the authority to make “orders & Bylawes for the better ordering & carying on the worke of the Colledge as they shall thinck fitt” to the Harvard Corporation. The 1655 College laws, enacted during President Charles Chauncy’s tenure, and known as the Chaunceian Code, were the first laws created by the Corporation. The 1655 code expanded on early laws to include rules on admission, student life, absences, expenses, academic courses, and punishments.
Through the end of the 17th century, both the Overseers and Corporation added rules and amendments to the College Laws. Notable revisions and additions included the 1667 establishment by the Overseers of rules pertaining to the Library and the Library keeper, the Dudley Code of 1686 (recorded in College Book IV), and the Mather Code of 1692 (extant only in Cotton Mather's Magnalia).
As early as 1719, the Corporation began discussing a large-scale review of the College Laws, and in 1734 a new code was approved. The 1734 code encompassed eight chapters and addressed all aspects of student life: I. About admission into the College; II. Concerning a religious, virtuous life; III. Concerning scholastical exercises; IV. Concerning penal laws; V. Concerning the scholar’s commons; VI. About academical degrees; VII. About the Steward, Cook, and Butler; and VIII. Concerning miscellaneous matters.
The 1734 code declared that, “every candidate for Admission shall procure and keep by him a true Copy of the College Laws respecting his Duty and Priviledges, which being signed by the President and Major Part of the Tutors shall be his Admission into College.” Through the 1767 revision of the College Laws, this signed copy of the Laws was known as the “Admittatur." In 1767, the “Admittatur” evolved into a certificate approved by the Steward and signed by the President indicating that the student was aware of his responsibility to pay his College debts.
Many 18th century Harvard freshmen not only copied the College Laws, but also heard the College Customs read aloud to them by a Sophomore soon after they began college. The College Customs were a set of nineteen rules reflecting the social hierarchy of the different undergraduate classes, including the wearing of hats and errand-running by freshmen for upperclassmen. While the original date of the Customs is unknown, the Corporation's acknowledgment of them extended into the late 1700s. Only in 1786 did the Corporation vote to prohibit freshmen errands.
In 1765, Harvard administrators began planning an expansive revision of the College laws, and in 1767, a ten-chapter code was distributed that expanded on the rules related to the Library as well as to the officers of the College. On May 14, 1790, the Corporation voted, for the first time, to publish a printed edition of the College Laws. The laws of the 18th century remained in effect until June 1825, when the Corporation and Overseers published a new code with one hundred and fifty-three laws in thirteen chapters.

References

Scope and Content

The collection contains copies of the Laws and Statutes of Harvard. Documents consist of manuscript copies of College laws from 1655 through 1789, a handwritten copy of the "Freshmen laws," and printed copies of laws in both draft and published forms from 1790 onward. Most of the items were used by Harvard presidents and the Corporation while revising and editing the codes, and many include annotations, including notes by Presidents John Leverett and Charles Chauncey.
The laws and statutes provide insight into the Harvard administration's expectations of student behavior and offer a resource for studying collegiate governance, student life, and codes of conduct in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Laws and statutes in this collection dating from after 1800 are listed in the finding aid, but are not described in detail.

Series and Item List

Superseded call numbers

The call number for all material in the Laws and Statutes of Harvard is now UAI 15.800. To assist researchers in identifying materials noted in previous citations, the list below provides references from obsolete call numbers to new box and folder numbers. Please use the current call number, UAI 15.800, with the appropriate box and folder number in place of the superseded call number when citing material from this collection.

Formerly HUC 9790 A Laws of Harvard College, 1790.

Formerly HUC 9790 B Laws of Harvard College, 1790.

Formerly HUC 9790.2 A Laws of Harvard College, 1790.

Formerly HUC 9790.2 B Laws of Harvard College, 1790.

Formerly HUC 9798 Laws of Harvard College, 1798.

Formerly HUD 790.48 Laws of Harvard College, 1790.

Formerly HUD 790.48 Laws of Harvard College, 1790.

Formerly UAI 15.803 vt Manuscript copy of laws of 1655 and others, 1655-1708

Formerly UAI 15.805 vt Manuscript copy of laws of 1655

Formerly UAI 15.807 vt Manuscript copies of laws of 1734, ca. 1735-ca. 1765

Formerly UAI 15.809 vt Manuscript copy of laws of 1767

Formerly UAI 15.809.5 vt Laws and statutes: manuscript copies of laws of 1767

Formerly UAI 15.809.6 vt Photocopies (negatives) of Laws and statutes: manuscript copies of laws of 1767

Formerly UAI 15.809.7 vt Manuscript copy of fragment of Freshman Laws, undated

Formerly UAI 15.811 vt Laws and statutes: annotations on laws of 1790, [ca. 1790]

Formerly UAI 15.811.3 vt Annotations on laws of 1798, [ca. 1798]

Formerly UAI 15.813.5 vt Annotations on laws of 1807, [ca. 1807]

Formerly UAI 15.815.3 vt Laws of Harvard College, 1807

Formerly UAI 15.815.5 Annotations on laws of 1807, [ca. 1807]

Formerly UAI 15.819.5 Annotations on laws of 1816, [ca. 1816]

Formerly UAI 15.820.5 Annotations on laws of 1820, [ca. 1820]

Formerly UAI 15.825.3 Annotations on laws of 1825, [ca. 1825]

Formerly UAI 15.825.5 Annotations on laws of 1825, [ca. 1825]

Formerly UAI 15.827.5 Annotations on laws of 1826, [ca. 1826]

Formerly UAI 15.827.7 Annotations on laws of 1826, [ca. 1826]

Formerly UAI 15.827.9 Annotations on laws of 1826, [ca. 1826]

Formerly UAI 15.827.10 Votes of the Corporation amending the statutes of 1827, 1969

Formerly UAI 15.829 Selections of College laws, 1832-1845.

Formerly UAI 15.829.5 Proof sheets for statutes and laws of 1834, ca. 1834

Formerly UAI 15.831 A Revision of the Statutes and Laws of the University at Cambridge, Prepared to Be Submitted to the Corporation For Those Whose Use It Is Privately Printed, 1847 and 1848

Formerly UAI 15.831.5 The Statutes and Laws of the University at Cambridge, as Revised and Adopted by the Corporation on the 10th of June, and Concurred In By the Overseers on the 17th of September, 1848.

Formerly UAI 15.831.7 The Statutes and Laws of the University at Cambridge, as Revised and Adopted by the Corporation on the 10th of June, and Concurred In By the Overseers on the 17th of September, 1848. Second edition, 1854.

Formerly UAI 15.831.9 The Statutes and Laws of the University at Cambridge, as Revised and Adopted by the Corporation on the 10th of June, and Concurred In By the Overseers on the 17th of September, 1848. Third edition, 1860.

Formerly UAI 15.833 The Statutes and Laws of Harvard College as Revised and Adopted by the Corporation and Concurred in by the Overseers, 1866.

Formerly UAI 15.834 Statutes of 1870 (photocopy), 1870

Formerly UAI 15.835 Drafts of 1876 and 1890.


hua43010