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COLLECTION Identifier: UAI 5.168.XX

Records of the President of Harvard University, James Bryant Conant, 1933-1955


These records document the actions, speeches, and writings of James Bryant Conant as President of Harvard University. In documenting the presidency, these records document events in the administration of Harvard University and its involvement with world events for the years 1933-1953.


  • 1933-1955


Conditions on Use and Access

University Records are restricted for 50 years from the date of creation; student records and personnel records are restricted for 80 years from the date of creation; there is no restriction on published material. Consult Harvard University Archives reference staff for details.

Additional notations concerning restrictions appear throughout this inventory.


175 cubic feet (525 containers)
These records document James B. Conant's tenure as President of Harvard University and illustrate his involvement in national affairs, his administrative duties, and the major events in Harvard's history that occurred during his presidency. The records include his official and unofficial correspondence, annual reports, handwritten and final drafts of speeches, manuscript notes and various drafts for Conant's book, Education and Liberty: the Role of the Schools In a Modern Democracy, and Conant's office calendars.

History Note: Conant's Harvard Presidency, 1933-1953

James Bryant Conant held the office of President of Harvard University from 1933 to 1953. Accomplishments from his administration include enhancing Harvard's position as a national institution with an international reputation for academic achievement. He established the National Scholarships which allowed talented young men to attend Harvard regardless of their economic circumstances or proximity to Cambridge.

His tenure as President was notably marked by World War II. Before the United States entered the war, he was a vocal supporter of U.S. involvement. Conant served on the National Defense Research Committee directing atomic research and the implementation of atomic warfare. Under Conant's leadership, Harvard used its facilities and personnel to support the war effort with defense training and research.

Series and Sub-series in the Records of the President of Harvard University, James Bryant Conant

  1. Correspondence (1933-1955) 167 cubic feet
  2. ___ Official Correspondence
  3. ___ Unofficial Correspondence
  4. ___ Congratulatory Correspondence
  5. ___Gift File
  6. Administrative materials (1933-1952) .7 cubic feet
  7. ___Memoranda
  8. ___Form letters
  9. ___Annual Reports
  10. Speeches and writings (1933-1952) 7 cubic feet
  11. ___Final Drafts
  12. ___First Drafts 1934-1950
  13. ___First Drafts 1950-1953
  14. Calenders (1933-1953) 1 cubic foot
  15. ___Engagement Calendars
  16. ___Office Appointment Calendars

Custodial Information

Records were received irregularly by the Harvard University Archives directly from the Office of the President ca. 1949-ca. 1955.

No accruals are expected.

Allied Material in the Harvard University Archives

Researchers may wish also to consult two collections in the Harvard University Archives: The Papers of James B. Conant

Inventory update

This document last updated 2016 June 21.
General note Some records may be stored in an off-site facility. Researchers are advised to contact Reference Staff of the Harvard University Archives for more information concerning retrieval of material.

Processing Information

Processed by Harvard University Archives staff 1953-1991; comprehensive finding aid created by Jackie Dean and additional folder lists created by Richard Currier, Rachel D'Agostino, and Keith Anderson under the direction of Kate Bowers October-November, 1998.

The original order of the records as received by the Harvard University Archives (HUA) has been preserved. However, HUA staff created a series and subseries hierarchy and assigned titles to the series and subseries. HUA staff also constructed folder lists for the Official Correspondence, Congratulatory Correspondence, Gift File, and Speeches: Final Drafts subseries. Staff created box lists for the remaining subseries. See series descriptions for arrangement of each series and subseries.
Link to catalog
Harvard University. President's Office. Records of the President of Harvard University, James Bryant Conant, 1933-1955 : an inventory
Harvard University Archives

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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