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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Thr 1809

Harvard University student theater posters, designs, and photographs


Consists of promotional posters, as well as a few calls for auditions and related programs; set, costume, and lighting designs; and photographs from student theatre group productions across Harvard University.


  • Creation: circa 1905-2019

Language of Materials

The collection is primarily in English, with two French items. These are noted in the file description.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material. Collection is open for research.

A portion of this collection is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. Retrieval requires advance notice. Readers should check with Houghton Public Services staff to determine what material is offsite and retrieval policies and times.


5.9 linear feet (5 boxes and 727 folders)

Includes both small and oversize posters relating to Harvard University student theatre group productions and dance performances. The majority of the posters are promotional, while some are for casting calls. A few programs are included with posters; some posters are included in both annotated draft and completed versions. Several posters relate to professional theatre performances on the Harvard campus, sponsored by the Office for the Arts at Harvard, Learning from Performers, as well as Harvard University student theatre groups. Additional posters relate to lectures and presentations by individuals relating to theatre and the arts. Further materials include set, lighting, and costume designs created by students for various theatrical productions, as well as photographs of student productions both in rehearsal and during performances. A few related items, including a Loeb Experimental Theater sign, job descriptions for Harvard Summer Repertory Theatre student staff, and a playreading at Black Star Theatre, are contained in this collection.

The student groups include the university-wide clubs, such as the Harvard Summer School Players, as well as clubs associated with residential houses. These clubs include arts societies, opera and music groups, as well as drama clubs.

Biographical / Historical

Harvard University offers multiple types of programs to students in terms of theatrical organizations, from formally organized Harvard-wide clubs to those associated with Harvard College students' residential houses, such as Adams House, Cabot House, Currier House, Dudley House, Dunster House, Kirkland House, and Leverett House, among others, including those at Radcliffe College, such as Agassiz House. Students run these theatrical clubs independently, and have produced and directed theatrical productions since the opening of these houses. Included in the collection are promotional posters from student group productions from various house-based clubs and other student organizations, dating back to the opening of Agassiz House at Radcliffe College in 1905, and up to the twenty-first century.


The processed oversized materials are arranged in three series: I. Posters, II. Designs, and III. Photographs. Unprocessed additional posters and photographs can be found in boxes, loosely organized by student group or location of the production.

Physical Location

Harvard Depository

pfd (Drawers P1.C1.04.7 - P1.C1.04.11 [Folders 1-250], P1.C1.04.13 - P1.C1.05.02 [Folders 258-619]; P1.C1.05.09 [Folders 670-725])

ppf (Drawers P1.C1.04.12 [Folders 251-257], P1.C1.05.03 - P1.C1.05.08 [Folders 620-669])

Immediate Source of Acquisition

No number. Various gifts at various dates. Accession information is included with the item or file description as possible.

2019MT-122. Gift of Julia and Michael McVaugh, 2018 November.

2019MT-Gift of Harvard-Radcliffe Dramatic Club, 2019 May.

Processing Information

Processed by Betts Coup, 2018 June.

Harvard University. Harvard University student theatre posters, designs, and photographs, circa 1905-2019 (MS Thr 1809): Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard University.
2018 June 11
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, archives, and more. Houghton Library's collections represent the scope of human experience from ancient Egypt to twenty-first century Cambridge. With strengths primarily in North American and European history, literature, and culture, collections range in media from printed books and handwritten manuscripts to maps, drawings and paintings, prints, posters, photographs, film and audio recordings, and digital media, as well as costumes, theater props, and a wide range of other objects. Houghton Library has historically focused on collecting the written record of European and Eurocentric North American culture, yet it holds a large and diverse number of primary sources valuable for research on the languages, culture and history of indigenous peoples of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

Houghton Library’s Reading Room is free and open to all who wish to use the library’s collections.

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