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SUB-SUBSERIES Identifier: UAIII 5.33

Incoming Correspondence of Dean Briggs 1890-1927., 1890-1927.

Scope of the Incoming Correspondence of Dean Briggs

This sub-subseries provides a record of the tremendous volume of correspondence that came across the desk of the Dean of Harvard College on a daily basis and the broad range of his administrative responsibilities. Although the work of the Administrative Board accounted for a significant percentage of this correspondence, the main cause for the flood of communication was the College rules and regulations that required students to notify the Office of the Dean of every absence, illness, and course change. Material consists of handwritten and typed correspondence, petitions, recommendations, memoranda, telegrams, students' academic and medical records, and newspaper clippings. Also includes correspondence between Briggs and Eliot during the former's tenure as Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the latter's tenure as President Emeritus. Much of this correspondence is concerned with the development of the position and responsibilities of the Dean of the College and the relationship between University administrators and students and faculty. For related records, please see Briggs' Outgoing Correspondence sub-subseries.


  • 1890-1927.

Physical Description

15 cubic feet (45 boxes)

Special Restriction on Access

Selected folders below are restricted for 80 years. See Reference Staff for details.


230 cubic feet (670 boxes)

History relating to the Incoming Correspondence of Dean Briggs

Reflecting his personal interest in the total welfare of the young men that came to Harvard College, Briggs asked parents to write to him about their sons. He wanted parents to be frank regarding their son's qualities, strengths and weaknesses, and educational, moral, and physical needs. Previously, the College received statements on the moral character of a particular student from their secondary school master. Briggs assured parents that their letters would be kept confidential, accessible only to faculty advisers, medical staff, and College administrative officers who would use this information to better serve the students.

By 1902, the heavy physical and emotional strain of the office, in addition to ever-increasing administrative tasks, led Briggs to resign as Dean of Harvard College due to health reasons. Subsequently he was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, serving until 1925. This post required less hands-on administration, but allowed Briggs to continue to provide leadership and guidance to the College's younger administrators and to act as a liaison between Presidents Eliot and Lowell and the wider University community. In addition to his duties as Dean of the Faculty, from 1903 to 1923 Briggs served as President of Radcliffe College, working to create closer ties between Radcliffe and Harvard University.


Arranged alphabetically by correspondents' last name.


Repository Details

Part of the Harvard University Archives Repository

Holding nearly four centuries of materials, the Harvard University Archives is the principal repository for the institutional records of Harvard University and the personal archives of Harvard faculty, as well as collections related to students, alumni, Harvard-affiliates and other associated topics. The collections document the intellectual, cultural, administrative and social life of Harvard and the influence of the University as it emerged across the globe.

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