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COLLECTION Identifier: Arch GA 82.15

Howard H. Stevenson papers


The collection covers the career of Professor Howard H. Stevenson, including his teaching and administrative roles at HBS, external consulting activities, and work in the private sector.


  • 1957-2013


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Some materials may be stored offsite; access requires advance notice. HBS Archives collections require a secondary registration form, please contact for more information.

Restricted material has been identified and separated. Note that box and folder lists of restricted material have been redacted.

Due to the fragility of audiovisual materials and the difficulty with play back, researchers must work with digital copies rather than with the original recordings. Digital use copies for items that have been digitized can be accessed only onsite in the de Gaspé Beaubien Reading Room on a designated Special Collections computer. Researchers are not permitted to copy or download any digital files. To request access please contact prior to visiting the library.

Please note that digital use copies have not been created for every item listed in this finding aid.


242 linear feet (565 boxes, 27 oversize boxes, and 2 oversize items)

The collection covers the career of Howard H. Stevenson, beginning with his completion of a Doctor of Business Administration degree in 1968 and conferral in 1969; it includes his professorial and administrative roles at Harvard Business School, external consulting activities, and work in the private sector. The collection covers a period of fifty years during which Stevenson improved the real estate and doctoral programs at HBS, built the entrepreneurship program at HBS and, in so doing, established entrepreneurship as a recognized academic field, sat on numerous boards of directors, and founded the Baupost Group. All of these activities are reflected in the material of the collection.

The collection documents Stevenson’s research, writing, and teaching activities in the subject areas of entrepreneurship and venture capital, entrepreneurship education, and real estate. These files include research material gathered by Stevenson, drafts and reprints of his written work, and material he used to teach MBA and doctoral courses. Of particular note are the cases of Head Ski Company, R and R Associates, Heather Evans, Mark Edwards, and Eric Weston, as well as research, writing, and teaching material that shows how Stevenson developed entrepreneurship into a serious academic field. His contribution to contemporary academic discourse is also illustrated in materials from conferences he attended and speeches he gave to external audiences.

The collection also contains materials from Stevenson’s external consulting work and his experience in the private sector. Documentation of his work on boards of directors reveals his desire to gain skills in, and an understanding of, real world business practices that he could incorporate in the curriculum of his business courses. A small amount of material relates to Stevenson’s work at Simmons Associates, the Preco Corporation, and the Baupost Group.

Types of material present in the collection include anonymous alumni study questionnaires and data analyses; annual reports; appointment calendars; articles that Stevenson reviewed for refereed journals; assignment and examination descriptions; bonus plans; book chapters; book reviews; business plans; cases and teaching notes; compensation history and recommendations ; conference programs and informational packets; correspondence; course bibliographies, descriptions, outlines, and overviews; discussion questions; drafts of written works; financial reports and summaries; financial results and analyses; financial statements and projections; government publications; information for board meetings; informational brochures and handouts; internal audit information; investment data; journals; lecture notes; magazine articles and features; meeting minutes; memoranda; motions; negotiations and agreements; newsletters; newspaper articles; operating and capital budgets; operating reports; organizational charts; phone messages; photocopies of assigned readings; portfolio appraisals; presentations; printouts of speeches and presentation slides; program brochures; publicity brochures; publicity photographs; quarterly reports; quotations; reading lists; research articles; resolutions; sales and booking analyses; SEC annual reports; short biographical sketches; speeches; strategic studies; strategy documentation; syllabi; systems planning information; tax information; and updates on subsidiaries.

Biographical Note:


Howard H. Stevenson (MBA 1965, DBA 1969), Sarofim-Rock Professor of Business Administration, Emeritus, began teaching at Harvard Business School during the Fall 1968 semester after finishing his Doctorate in Business Administration from HBS, which was conferred at official ceremonies in 1969. He spent two years teaching Business Policy before taking a leave of absence to work in the private sector as Vice President of Simmons Associates. Though he intended to stay in the private sector to pursue opportunities in real estate, in 1971 he was convinced to return to HBS to teach real estate. Over the next five years, Stevenson increased the number of sections of Real Property Asset Management, added the course Real Property Asset Development, and was joined by Professor William Poorvu. Stevenson and Poorvu wrote cases on real estate and developed the mantra of "people, property, deal, environment." Stevenson later adapted this mantra to "people, opportunity, deal, context" for courses on entrepreneurship.

Stevenson received tenure in 1978 and took a leave of absence to rejoin the private sector as Vice President of Finance and Administration for Preco Corporation. In 1981 Dean John McArthur offered Stevenson the opportunity to develop an entrepreneurship program; he returned to HBS as the first Sarofim-Rock Professor of Business Administration. During this time, Stevenson developed the academic study of entrepreneurship from the ground up, including case and course development, defining entrepreneurship as "the process by which individuals pursue opportunities without regard to the resources they currently control." At the same time, he focused on improving and enhancing the doctoral program. An important course within the doctoral program curriculum, Basic Readings in Administrative Theory (BRAT), helped shape his thinking and reinforced his belief that his job was to help mold student's attitudes. Three important concepts he tried to impart were: every situation can be improved (find a problem and then improve the situation); do something even if you don't have the requisite power or the resources (create change: if you have found a problem then you can do something about it); and the experts and the experienced might be wrong. According to Stevenson, these three principles defined his career.

Involvement in the Private Sector:

Howard H. Stevenson actively sought consulting opportunities in order to increase his understanding of real world problems. He searched for difficult cases that he could help solve as a way to develop his skills and his knowledge of how companies worked. The experience that Stevenson gained through these opportunities directly affected his teaching at HBS and helped him develop the groundwork for his real estate and entrepreneurship courses. He sat on the board of directors and held many committee roles for a wide range of corporations and nonprofit groups.

Stevenson was also a founding member of the Baupost Group in 1982 and served as its president for the first six years; he founded the company with Jordan Baruch, Isaac Auerbach, and William Poorvu. Stevenson served on the Board of Trustees of the Baupost Fund and the Board of Advisors of the Baupost Group, L.L.C. He worked with the firm while teaching at HBS.

Contributions to Harvard Business School and Harvard University:

At HBS, Stevenson was Chairperson of the Publications Review Board for the HBS Press and the Harvard Business Publishing Company, Senior Associate Dean and Director of Financial and Information Systems from 1991-1994, Chair of the Latin American Faculty Advisory Group from 1999-2001, and Senior Associate Dean and Director of External Relations from 2001-2005. During his chairmanship of the Publications Review Board, Stevenson was involved in the division of the Harvard Business Publishing Company from the HBS Press. He also helped generate a culture of innovation that led to widespread electronic distribution of materials.

As Senior Associate Dean and Director of Financial and Information Systems, Stevenson was involved in increasing faculty accountability and began the process of tracking faculty work and teaching loads. His decision to collect and analyze the physical measures of teaching and research, such as the number of students taught and articles written, led to an understanding of the productivity and contribution of HBS faculty.

Stevenson served as Chair of the Latin American Faculty Advisory Group during the founding of the Latin American Research Center. He was also involved in broadening partnerships with Latin American schools, improving education in Latin America, and re-pricing HBS cases that were sold to other schools.

As Senior Associate Dean and Director of External Relations, Stevenson played an integral role in the Campaign for Harvard Business School; he changed the way HBS conducted fundraising, focusing on the impact that each gift had on others and on connecting donor interests to tangible results at HBS. Stevenson was involved in the simplification of the HBS mission statement during the Campaign and took part in roughly 1,200 one-on-one meetings. The Campaign raised $600 million in five years.

Finally, as Vice Provost and then Senior Associate Provost for Harvard University Resources and Planning, Stevenson did for Harvard University what he had done for HBS during the Campaign for Harvard Business School: he focused fundraising efforts on discovering potential donors' charitable interests, linking them with existing and potential endeavors unique to Harvard University.

International Acclaim:

Stevenson received the 2010 Entrepreneur for the World Award in the Expert category from the World Entrepreneurship Forum. He was described by the Forum as the founder of entrepreneurship as an academic field and lauded for his pioneering research and course development at HBS, and for a body of work that has helped and influenced both academics and practitioners around the world. He also received an honorary degree from the Université de Montréal in 2007.

Series Outline

The collection is arranged in the following series:

  1. Series I. Correspondence, 1970-2010
  2. Series II. Calendars and Phone Messages, 1961-1997
  3. Series III. Research and Writing, 1969-2008
  4. ___Subseries A. Research, 1969-2008
  5. ___Subseries B. Writing, 1975-2004
  6. ___Subseries C. Michael Moldoveanu, 1992-2007
  7. Series IV. HBS Teaching Files, 1969-2003
  8. ___Subseries A. Cases and Teaching Notes, 1969-2001
  9. ___Subseries B. Course Materials, 1971-2003
  10. Series V. Conferences and Presentations, 1972-2009
  11. ___Subseries A. HBS Conferences, 1972-2009
  12. ___Subseries B. Non-HBS Conferences, 1976-2008
  13. ___Subseries C. Presentations and Speeches, 1983-2005
  14. Series VI. Consulting, 1973-2013
  15. Series VII. Private Sector Work, 1969-1990, 2000-2004
  16. Series VIII. Biographical and Publicity Files, 1957-1958, 1970-2005
  17. Series IX. Digital Records, 1985-2001
  18. Series X. HBS Administrative Files, 1971-2008
  19. Series XI. HBS Personnel Files, 1983-2009
  20. Series XII. HBS Student Files, 1982-2009
  21. Series XIII. Harvard University Administrative Files, 1994-2007

Physical Location



The Howard H. Stevenson Papers were received by Baker Library as a gift from Howard H. Stevenson in 2010 (S-88-006, A-09-17, A-10-15, A-11-03, A-11-06, and A-11-41) and 2016 (A-16-024, A-16-027).

Processing Information

Processed: February 2016

By: Keith Pendergrass

Additions processed: September 2016

By: Keith Pendergrass

Audiovisual content on physical media have been reformatted and are described at the series and folder levels below.

Digital content on physical media has not been extracted.

Processing Information

Material relating to Stevenson’s administrative roles at HBS and Harvard University, as well as personnel and student material he accumulated as part of his administrative and teaching roles, has been separated and restricted in accordance with Harvard University guidelines.

Stevenson, Howard H. Howard H. Stevenson Papers, 1957-2013: A Finding Aid
Baker Library
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Repository Details

Part of the Baker Library Special Collections and Archives, Harvard Business School Repository

Baker Library Special Collections and Archives holds unique resources that focus on the evolution of business and industry, as well as the records of the Harvard Business School, documenting the institution's development over the last century. These rich and varied collections support research in a diverse range of fields such as business, economic, social and cultural history as well as the history of science and technology.

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