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COLLECTION Identifier: HUG 1768.60

Dudley Allen Sargent measurement cards from schools and organizations other than Harvard, 1880-1920


The Dudley Allen Sargent measurement cards from schools and organizations other than Harvard, 1880-1920, contains the anthropometric measurements of thousands of research subjects used in Sargent's research.


  • Creation: 1880-1920


Researcher access

The Dudley Allen Sargent measurement cards from schools and organizations other than Harvard are open for research.


6.97 cubic feet (41 document boxes)

These cards comprise a portion of the total research data collected by Dudley Allen Sargent. The research subjects from which data on these cards were collected were from institutions other than Harvard College.

Each measurement card notes detailed measurements of the subject's body and lists some genealogical and family health information as well. This information often includes the subject's birth date and place, subject's father's occupation, and both the nationalities and the causes of death of the subject's parents.

The measurement cards in this collection were received separately from the Papers of Dudley Allen Sargent, 1879-1924 (HUG 1768.xx) and processed accordingly.

Biographical note on Dudley Allen Sargent relating to the measurement cards

Dudley Allen Sargent (1849-1924) was an early innovator in physical education. His long association with Harvard included his years as Director of the Hemenway Gymnasium at Harvard from 1879 to 1919. During this time, he also established and taught at the Harvard Summer School of Physical Education.

Sargent also established a private gymnasium in Cambridge, Massachusetts, known as the Sanatory Gymnasium. At the Sanatory Gymnasium, he directed an exercise program for the female Harvard students until 1892. These were students who studied in the Harvard Annex, which later became Radcliffe College.

He also conducted physical education teacher training courses, which eventually became the Sargent College of Physical Education, and was later associated with Boston University.

Sargent's academic interests went beyond teaching to include research. He went to great lengths to research the perfect proportions of the human body, using his Harvard and other connections to procure research subjects and data. He had three ways of obtaining subjects for anthropometric measurement. He recorded and/or collected sets of anthropometric measurements from his Harvard students, Sargent School pupils, and Sanatory Gymnasium clients. He also sent individuals blank data cards, on which their measurements could be recorded, and responded with an assessment or chart of their condition. Finally, Sargent's students and colleagues returned to their home institutions, found research subjects, recorded their measurements, and sent completed data cards back to Sargent.


The measurement cards are organized alphabetically by institution. There is no apparent arrangement of the cards within the institutional groupings. There is a small number of unidentified cards listed at the end.

Acquisition Information

Received from the Harvard University Peabody Museum Archives, 2002 January 31; Accession 14492.

Related Material in the Harvard University Archives

  1. Papers of Dudley Allen Sargent, 1874-1924 (HUG 1768.xx)
  2. Records of the Department of Physical Education: an anthropometric measurements of Harvard students, 1860-1920 (UAV 689.270 and UAV 689.270.1)
  3. Publications by and about Dudley Allen Sargent and about the Department of Physical Education cataloged in HOLLIS.

To read more about the measurement process, see:

Bowls, Gordon Townsend. New Types of Old Americans at Harvard and at Eastern Women's Colleges. Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1932. Call number: HU 137.399 Bennett, Bruce Lanyon. The Life of Dudley Allen Sargent, M.D., and His Contributions to Physical Education. Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Michigan, 1947. Call number: HUG 1768.15.2 (microform)

Inventory update

This document last updated 2021 December 9.

Processing Information

Processed March 2002 by Barbara Meloni.

Sargent, Dudley Allen, 1849-1924. Dudley Allen Sargent measurement cards from schools and organizations other than Harvard, 1880-1920 : an inventory
Language of description

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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