Skip to main content
COLLECTION Identifier: HUD 3121

Records of the Harvard Advocate


Founded in 1866, the Harvard Advocate is Harvard University's oldest existing student literary magazine. The Advocate publishes short stories, verses, essays and articles, reviews of books, interviews, photographs, and plays. The Records of the Harvard Advocate document the history and activities of this literary group. Business and financial records are the largest part of the collection.


  • Creation: 1866-1983 and [undated]


Researcher Access

The Records of the Harvard Advocate are open for research with the following exceptions: Harvard University building records and personally identifiable information are restricted for 80 years. Restrictions are noted at the series and folder levels. Please see reference staff for details.


6.67 cubic feet ((14 document boxes, 6 portfolio boxes, 2 folders, 2 flat boxes) exclusive of publications)

The Records of the Harvard Advocate document the history and activities of this literary group. Business and financial records form the largest group of material and focus on the Advocate's finances.

The David Longobardi series contains records from his tenure as president of the Advocate from 1983 to 1984, as well as the years preceding his presidency. It includes letters of inquiry from researchers asking permission to reprint; posters for various guest speakers and other events; and budgets, notes, and correspondence relating to the building's maintenance and repairs. There are agendas and minutes from meetings of the trustees and board members; financial records with expenses and grant applications; and the building's architectural plans. This series also contains ten issues of the Advocate dating from 1870 to 1982, and correspondence with authors and poets regarding invitations by the Advocate to speak at Harvard.

History of the Harvard Advocate

Introduction The Harvard Advocate is the oldest of Harvard University's existing student magazines.

Early Student Magazines at Harvard

The first Harvard magazine, The Harvard Lyceum, was founded in 1810, but closed after only nine months. Between 1810 and 1840, four more student magazines started, the last being The Harvard Magazine, which folded after ten years in 1864. In the spring of 1866, the first issue of the Collegian was published. Harvard administrators forced the Collegian to close after only three issues when its defiant editors challenged mandatory student attendance at chapel.

Undaunted, a group of former Collegian editors led by William G. Peckman (Harvard Class of 1867) and Charles S. Gage (Harvard Class of 1867) released the first issue of a new magazine, the Harvard Advocate. The Harvard Advocate, adopted the motto Veritas nihil veretur (Truth fears nothing) and continued its predecessors' attempts to represent the views and opinions of Harvard students. The first issue was a great success and sold out immediately.

Early Years to World War I

The early issues of the Advocate were bi-weekly and in newspaper format. The Advocate reported on football and baseball games, printed traditional verses, and taunted members of the faculty. Editorials became an important part of the newspaper and promoted the introduction of electives to the curriculum, admission of women to the college, and supported opposition to the University's book store monopoly. Although primarily a means by which undergraduates could practice their writing skills, members of the faculty were invited to contribute prose and verse to the newspaper as well.

The Advocate's literary and financial success encouraged other student publishing efforts. In 1873, a group of former Advocate staffers formed the Magenta which later became the Harvard Crimson . Additional defectors from the Advocate started the humor magazine the Harvard Lampoon in 1876 and a serious journal, the Harvard Monthly in 1885.

By the close of the 1890s, the Harvard Advocate had adopted its present format. Coverage of College news diminished, and poetry and short stories became prominent. The magazine had also established traditions such as annual and decennial dinners, published supplements, literary prizes, and an editor's catalogue.

By 1916, the Harvard Advocate's offices had become a gathering place for Cambridge's literary world to meet and socialize. In the period prior to World War I, a number of future literary giants such as Wallace Stevens, E. E. Cummings, T. S. Eliot, and Conrad Aiken, published frequently in the Advocate .

Between the Wars

The Harvard Advocate was the only Harvard publication to continue operation during World War I. After the war, the Advocate adopted a more political tone, publishing articles such as Persecution and Americanism by Lloyd McKim (Harvard Class of 1919) and The Liberalism of Herbert Hoover by Archibald MacLeish (Harvard Class of 1919). The Advocate also published parodies of other magazines including The Atlantic Monthly , Time , The Saturday Review , The New Republic , and The New Yorker.

It published a series of special issues in 1938 and 1940 devoted to T. S. Eliot and Wallace Stevens. Members of the editorial board included students who became literary luminaries such as James Agee, Robert Fitzgerald, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and Norman Mailer. In addition, the Advocate published contributions from established authors who were not Harvard affiliates, such as Ezra Pound, Boris Pasternak, and William Carlos Williams. Falling college enrollment and tight finances during World War II caused the Advocate to suspend publication in 1943.

Cold War

After World War II, a small group of the magazine's trustees worked to reestablish the Advocate and by the late 1940s the magazine was up and running again. The goal of the newly established Harvard Advocate was to create a high-quality magazine that would sell. Special issues devoted to William Faulkner (1951), British novelists (1952), and Robert Lowell (1961) gained critical acclaim. The magazine became noted for the variety of its undergraduate poetry and its support of the literary efforts of the beat generation in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Advocate editors introduced a new feature, The Harvard Square Sex Story which was discontinued by the end of the 1950s.

The Vietnam Era and After

During the 1970s, the Harvard Advocate faced increasing competition for readership and writers on campus from new magazines and alternative creative forums. Many of these competitors shifted away from the established literary circle to focus on specific cultural or community groups, provided an outlet for writers, poets, and other artists not interested in producing for a high-pressure publication, and produced issues that were inexpensively printed and distributed.

The Advocate took a number of steps to meet these new challenges. First, it increased opportunities for new writers. It opened to the public writing contests which had formerly been closed, it limited the number of times an individual could be published in order to increase the pool of writers, and it welcomed contributions from outside of the undergraduate community. Second, to promote itself, the magazine sponsored readings, art shows, and music events and it strengthened its relationships with other campus organizations. Third, it changed its staff to better reflect the entire student body by increasing the number of women and members of minority groups.


Baldwin, Thomas Tileston.History of the Harvard Advocate. In Catalogue of the Editors of the Harvard Advocate 1866-1886 to which is prefixed a short history of the paper. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Board of the Harvard Advocate, 1886.

Bethell, John T., Richard M. Hunt, and Robert Shenton. Harvard A to Z. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2004.

Culler, Jonathan D., ed. Harvard Advocate Centennial Anthology. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Schenkman Publishing Company, Inc., 1966.

Ellenberg, Jordan. A Sheet of the Right Character: The Harvard Advocate at 125. The Harvard Advocate, February 1992, 2-6.

Harvard University. Harvard University Handbook: An Official Guide to the Grounds, Buildings, Libraries, Museums, and Laboratories, with Notes on the History, Development and Activities of all Departments of the University. Cambridge: Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1936.

Jal D. Mehta, New Magazine Makes Debut Today, The Harvard Crimson, 28 February 1996.

Liza M. Velazquez, Literary Magazines Explore New Directions, The Harvard Crimson, 1 March 1990.

Nicole B. Usher, Advocate Elects New Board, The Harvard Crimson, 13 December 1999.

Old Clubs in a New Era, The Harvard Crimson, 4 December 1991.

Patrick M. McKee and Joshua P. Rogers, Advocate Faces College Pressure, The Harvard Crimson, 4 May 2004.

Obsolete Call Numbers

The following list provides a map to call numbers that were made obsolete by the archivist during the 2007 re-processing. All the materials for The Records of the Harvard Advocate now fall under the single call number HUD 3121.

  1. HUD 3000pf Posters: moved to General Information and ephemera, Posters.
  2. HUD General folder: moved to General Information and ephemera, Posters.
  3. HUD General folder: moved to General Information and ephemera, Invitations and Programs.
  4. HUD General folder: moved to General Information and ephemera, News clippings.
  5. HUD 3121.241 Hillyer, R.S. MS. address for seventy-fifth anniversary: moved to General Information and ephemera, Address given by Robert S. Hillyer at the Harvard Advocate's Seventy-Fifth Anniversary.
  6. HUD 3121.505 Minutes, 1918-1934, 1951-1954: moved to Business Records, Meeting Minutes.
  7. HUD 3121.521 Correspondence, 1886-1887: moved to Business Records, Correspondence.
  8. HUD 3121.522 Correspondence with office files, 1906-1938: moved to Business Records, Correspondence.
  9. HUD 3121.522 Correspondence with office files, 1906-1938: moved to Business Records, Correspondence.
  10. HUD 3121.522 Correspondence with office files, 1906-1938: moved to The Constitution of the Harvard Advocate.
  11. HUD 3121.702 Accounts receivable, 1930-1943: moved to Business Records, Financial Records, Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable Ledgers.
  12. HUD 3121.709 Bonds (paid), 1936-1937: moved to Records of the Harvard Advocate Trustees, Bonds.
  13. HUD 3121.713 Check stubs, 1933-1941: moved to Business Records, Financial Records, Check Stubs.
  14. HUD 3121.715 Comment Books (Editor's), 1973-1981: moved to Business Records, Comment Books.
  15. HUD 3121.729 Forms (includes letter to Roy E. Larsen, May 28, 1918): moved to Business Records, Correspondence.
  16. HUD 3121.742f Journal, 1908-1917: moved to Business Records, Financial Records, General Journal.
  17. HUD 3121.749f Ledger, 1919-1920: moved to Business Records, Financial Records, General Ledger.
  18. HUD 3121.752 Medals: moved to General Information and ephemera, William Bentinck-Smith's Harvard Advocate Medal.
  19. HUD 3121.779f Scrapbooks, various dates: moved to General Information and ephemera, Scrapbooks.
  20. HUD 3121.909 Guest book, 1909-1974 and folder or paper found inside book: moved to General Information and ephemera, Guest Signature.
  21. HUD 3121.913 Papers relating to proposed merger with the Harvard Monthly: moved to Business Records, Correspondence.
  22. HUD 3121.941 Bentinck-Smith, W. Papers as a Trustee of the Harvard Advocate, 1941-1961: moved to Records of the Harvard Advocate Trustees, Correspondence.
  23. HUD 3121.945 Financial and legal records of the Harvard Advocate Trustees, 1955-1977: moved to Records of the Harvard Advocate Trustees, Financial and Legal Materials.

Acquisition Information

The Records of the Harvard Advocate were acquired through donation from 1876 through 2019.

  1. undated, Samuel Hinckley
  2. 1876 Editors of the Harvard Advocate, Class of 1873
  3. 1886 Gratis
  4. 1887 Editors of the Harvard Advocate, Class of 1886
  5. 1896 Mary Osgood Fund
  6. 1897 Editors of the Harvard Advocate
  7. 1912 Mrs. W.M. Taussig
  8. 1916 William Sumner Appleton
  9. 1925 Harvard College Library
  10. 1926 Albert Bushnell Hart
  11. 1931 Harris Kennedy
  12. 1935 William Bentinck-Smith
  13. 1936 Mrs. W.P. Derby
  14. 1938 The Harvard Advocate
  15. 1938 Mrs. Winthrop Talbot
  16. 1939 Theodore L. Frothingham
  17. 1940 Charles Warren
  18. 1940 Walter W. Wright
  19. 1941 Gratis
  20. 1941 The Harvard Advocate
  21. 1943 Albert G. Waite
  22. 1944 Estate of Albert Bushnell Hart
  23. 1944 John W. Cummin
  24. 1945 Gratis
  25. 1946 Signet Society
  26. 1947 The Harvard Advocate
  27. 1947 Southworth Lancaster
  28. 1949 A.D. Club
  29. 1949 Gratis
  30. 1953 William Bentinck-Smith
  31. 1955 The Harvard Advocate
  32. 1956 Harvard University Library
  33. 1962 Arthur D. Graeff
  34. 1963 William Bentinck-Smith
  35. 1965 Estate of H. De Wolf
  36. 1966 Harvard University Library
  37. 1969 Rosamund and Annie Lamb
  38. 1977 Harvard University Library
  39. 1978 The Harvard Advocate
  40. 1982 The Harvard Advocate
  41. 2002 The Louis N. Littauer Foundation
  42. Accession number: 08068; 1977 March 3
  43. Accession number: 08094; 1977 April 13
  44. Accession number: 08817; 1980 January 2
  45. Accession number: 08898; 1980 June 2
  46. Accession number: 11911; 1990 February 5
  47. Accession number: 13272; 1996 February 29
  48. Accession number: 13937; 1999 April 29
  49. Accession number: 2020.102; 2019 August 30

Related Material

  1. Group photographs of the Advocate editors, are included in the Harvard University Archives' Photograph Subject Files and classified as HUPSF Advocate. Consult the Harvard University Photographs : Subject Files inventory.
  2. Search HOLLIS, Harvard's online library system, for related publications held both in the University Archives and other Harvard libraries.

Inventory update

This document last updated 2021 October 27.

Processing Information

The Records of the Harvard Advocate were first classified and described in the Harvard University Archives shelflist prior to 1980. In October 2007, Dominic P. Grandinetti re-processed the material. Re-processing included integrating and reorganizing the records, re-housing materials in appropriate containers, establishing a series and subseries hierarchy, and the creation of this inventory.

Call numbers were simplified and reassigned. A list of obsolete call numbers is included in this inventory.

Harvard Advocate (Organization). Records of the Harvard Advocate : an inventory
Harvard University Archives
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.

Pusey Library
Harvard Yard
Cambridge MA 02138 USA
(617) 495-2461