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COLLECTION Identifier: HUA 969.100

Harvard University Student Strike, 1969: General File


In April 1969, Harvard University experienced a two-week period of almost daily crisis. Harvard students vehemently expressed their concerns regarding the Vietnam War and other social and political issues with protests, including the take-over of a university administration building. This collection documents both sides of the conflict and consists of contemporary documents produced by both the protesters and the University administration.


  • Creation: 1969

Conditions Governing Access

Open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Posters may be oversized and fragile and require special handling. Some posters may be deemed too fragile for research use.


3 cubic feet (8 boxes)

The collection documents both sides of the conflict and the student unrest of April 1969. A voluminous amount of paper produced by both sides includes posters, broadsides, flyers, press releases, official statements and committee reports, student and administrative publications, newspaper clippings and other printed and primarily ephemeral material.

Historical Note

In April 1969, Harvard University experienced a two-week period of almost daily crisis as Harvard students, primarily under the leadership of the Harvard-Radcliffe chapter of Students for a Democratic Society, vehemently expressed their concerns regarding the Vietnam War. Additional political issues that were the focus of protest were the status of the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) on campus, the University's policy on the conversion of residential property in Cambridge and Boston to University use, the governance of the University, and the establishment of a Department of Black Studies. One protest included the take-over of University Hall, a Harvard administration building. President Pusey's decision to have police on campus to evict and arrest the demonstators resulted in an additional set of confrontations over disciplinary procedures.

Series in the Collection

  1. Chronological file, 1968-1969
  2. Subject file
  3. Press Releases, February-December 1969
  4. Publications
  5. Groups
  6. Oversized material
  7. Newspaper clippings

Acquisition Information

The material in this collection was gathered by the University Archives chiefly through gifts, 1969-2000. Some donors were involved on either side of the conflict, some were Harvard Archives or library staff concerned with preserving the historical record, and others were Harvard faculty or students. Because donation was neither systematic nor coordinated, many duplicate items were received, and many items were received without a record of who made the donation or when.

Known accessions
  1. 9180; received 1981 May 13 from Bernard Bailyn
  2. 12100; received 1990 November 27 from Daniel D. Reiff
  3. 12227; received 1991 July 2 from Alice T. Friedman
  4. 12257; received 1991 August 6 from Hazel Denton
  5. 13492; received 1997 January 27 from Miles Cahler
  6. 13714; received 1998 February 09 from Ronald Pfiel
  7. 14016; received 1999 August 17 from Ken Carpenter
  8. 14096; received 2000 January 10 from Dave Warrington

Related Material

Search HOLLIS, Harvard's on-line library information system, for the word "Harvard" and the phrase "student unrest" to find books, visual materials, and other works relating to student protest activity.

  1. Papers: the papers of many faculty members who were on campus during this era contain references to the conflict. Access may be restricted to papers of faculty members depending on the restrictions imposed by the donor.
  2. Records: the records of virtually all Harvard University offices, departments, or agencies from the time period contain references to the conflict. Access to these records is subject to standard policies, which usually restrict access for periods of 50 or 80 years.
  3. Press releases: the Harvard University News Office issued press releases (HU 37.5) during this period. The press releases are not restricted.
  4. Photographs: the Harvard University News Office took many photographs (UAV 605.295.x) during this period. These photographs are not restricted.
  5. Posters: these posters were held by protesters or are broadsides intended for display on bulletin boards or walls (HUA 969.82 and HUA 969.100.2). Access and handling of some posters may be restricted because of fragility.

General note

This document last updated 2014 February 24.

Processing Information

The collection is an artificial collection, put together by the Harvard University Archives from a variety of sources, rather than an organic collection from an individual or group. From ca. 1970 to 2001, some of this material resided in the Archives' collection under the call numbers HUA 969.100 and HUA 969.100.1. Barbara Meloni began reorganization of the material in December 2001. She consolidated the processed material under a single call number, added material from previously unprocessed accessions, and produced this finding aid. Work was completed in March 2002.

Harvard University. Student Strike, 1969 : General File : 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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