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COLLECTION Identifier: HUG 300

Harvard University Biographical (i.e. "Quinquennial") files,

Files of basic biographical data on a large number of Harvard faculty, graduates, administrators, and visitors.  Material consists chiefly of biographical data collected for a comprehensive register of Harvard graduates published in 1930 and news clippings for individuals whose association with Harvard is later.


  • 1700-

Physical Description

Extent is approximate.

Open for Research

The biographical files are open for research.


372 cubic feet (1116 document boxes)

Most files for those who lived in the 17th through the mid-19th centuries contain only a card recording basic biographical information. Files for persons active from the late nineteenth through the first half of the twentieth century are more likely to contain news clippings, biographical ephemera, or brief biographies, many in the form of obituaries.

Not all members of the Harvard community are represented by a file in this collection. Persons who held faculty or administrative appointments or who earned a degree prior to 1930 are almost comprehensively included; however, those who attended without completing their degrees are not. Persons whose association with Harvard came after 1930 are represented only selectively.


The files are arranged alphabetically by the name of the individual.

Names beginning with "Mc" and "Mac" are filed together at the beginning of the "M" names, rather than in strict letter order. Researchers should note that names with prefixes such as "van," "von," "de," "da," or "d'" may be found filed either by prefix or the non-prefixed spelling.

If more than one individual share a name, distinctions are made by the addition of a Harvard degree year.

Acquisition and Maintenance of the Quinquennial Files

The accumulation of biographical information on every Harvard graduate for the 1930 Quinquennial catalogue of the officers and graduates, 1636-1930 established this collection of biographical files. After use in compilation of the publication, the library continued to use the files for reference purposes. Until the mid-20th century, news clippings, often obituaries, were routinely added and new files established as needed. The practice of adding new material diminished over time. As of the writing of this inventory in 2009, new material is rarely added.

Inventory update

This document last updated 2018 April 26.
Harvard University Biographical files (i.e. "Quinquennial files"), circa 1700- : 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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