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COLLECTION Identifier: UAV 605.270.1

Harvard University News Office photographs, 1940-1956

Harvard was profoundly affected by the Second World War, de-mobilization, and the Cold War era. This group of over 7000 unique images taken by the Harvard University News Office provides a visual record of the era and its transformative impact. These black-and-white images taken primarily by staff photographers depict academic life, facilities, and events at Harvard.

Dates

  • 1940-1956

Creator

Physical Description

7,118 film negatives, 8,402 contact prints, and 4,681 work prints

Access Restrictions

Contact prints and work prints are open for research use. Access to negatives may be restricted or closed due to fragility or deterioration.

Extent

14.3 cubic feet (26 flat boxes, 9 legal document boxes, 9 card boxes, 2 half legal document boxes, 1 file folder)

Harvard was profoundly affected by the Second World War, de-mobilization, and the Cold War era. These photographs taken by the Harvard University News Office provides a visual record of the era and its transformative impact. These black-and-white images taken primarily by staff photographers depict academic life, facilities, and events at Harvard.

These photographs document the College, graduate schools, Summer School, scientific research, student life, buildings and facilities, ceremonies, and events at Harvard University during World War II and the following decade.

People portrayed include Harvard presidents James B. Conant and Nathan M. Pusey, administrators, faculty, librarians, staff, alumni, and visitors, along with students engaged in various activities in the classroom, around campus, and related to military service. Notable guests and visitors include prominent World War II figures, such as General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, General George S. Patton, and Winston Churchill; the Duke of Windsor, √Čamon De Valera, Jawaharlal Nehru, Crown Prince Akihito, and other heads of state; film producer Walt Disney, Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, architect Walter Gropius, poet Stephen Spender, jazz composer and pianist Duke Ellington, and composer Aaron Copland; and various local and state politicians.

Campus views show Harvard Yard and the John Harvard statue, Memorial Chapel and Memorial Hall, dormitories, libraries, graduate schools, Harvard College Observatory, laboratory and hospital facilities, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard Stadium, and temporary housing for student veterans and their families. Other views include Radcliffe's campus, Harvard Square, the Charles River, Weld Boathouse, and downtown Boston.

Some of the many newsworthy events recorded include commencement ceremonies and activities from the first graduating class after the war, Edwin Cohn's blood fractionation project, presentation ceremonies for the Harvard Mark I computer devised by Howard Aiken, construction of Lamont Library, a radio broadcast of America's Town Meeting of the Air, a U.S. tour of United Nations war heroes in 1942, a rally outside Memorial Hall for 1948 Progressive Party presidential candidate Henry A. Wallace, filming of MGM's Mystery Street directed by John Sturgis, and conservation by Fogg Art Museum Conservation Department Head Rutherford J. Gettens of Dead Sea Scrolls owned by Assyrian Archbishop Athanasius Yeshue Samuel.

The collection contains 19,701 black-and-white photographs, including 7,118 film negatives, 7,902 contact prints, and 4,681 work prints. The negatives are mostly acetate, interspersed with some nitrate, 4 x 5 in. or smaller. All prints are gelatin silver. For the most part, they correspond to the negatives. The bulk of the contact prints, 4 x 5 in. or smaller, are mounted on paper binder pages, with three or more prints to a page. Most of the pages include handwritten or typewritten image numbers, dates, and brief captions. Many of the work prints, chiefly 8 x 10 in., were retouched, cropped, or otherwise marked for publication.

The Harvard University News Office photographs, 1940-1956 were previously classified as UAV 605.270.1.1, UAV 605.270.1.2, UAV 605.270.1.3, and UAV 605.270.1.4. The collection was consolidated into a single call number, UAV 605.270.1, when described in 2012.

Harvard in the mid-20th century

Harvard was profoundly affected by the Second World War, de-mobilization, and the Cold War era.
The Harvard News Office The Harvard University News Office was established in 1919. The first photographer was hired in 1943.
Photographers Photographer credits appear mostly on the work prints. Many of the photographs were taken by News Office staff photographers Walter R. Fleischer, Paul Southwick, and William Tamberg. Other photographers include Fogg Art Museum photographer Jim Ufford, and student photographers Curtis Sanders (Class of 1950), Dimitri d'Arbeloff (Class of 1951), and Burt Dreyfus (Class of 1951?). Other sources include news agencies and Boston area commercial studios.

Arrangement and numbering

The Harvard University Archives as retained the original arrangement of these photographs as they were received from the News Office. The images are organized by photographic medium into three main groups: Contact prints, Work prints, and Negatives.

Contact prints, 1942-1956
  1. College, 1942-1946
  2. Post World War II commencement, 1946
  3. Graduate schools, 1942-1955
  4. Harvard University, 1947 and 1951-1952
  5. Science, 1942-1955
  6. Students, 1942-1955
  7. Summer School, 1942-1943 and 1948-1951
  8. Berkshire Music Festival, 1951
  9. University, 1942-1956
Work prints, 1941-1956
  1. College, 1942-1946
  2. Graduate schools, 1942-1955
  3. Harvard University, 1947-1952
  4. Science, 1942-1955
  5. Students, 1942-1955
  6. Summer School, 1942-1951
  7. University, 1942-1956 Other, 1941-1950
  8. Special events, 1943-1952
Negatives, 1942-1956
  1. College, 1942-1946
  2. Post World War II commencement, 1946
  3. Graduate schools, 1942-1955
  4. Science, 1942-1955
  5. Students, 1942-1955
  6. Summer School, 1942-1951
  7. Unidentified 35mm negatives, circa 1952
  8. University, 1942-1956
Groups are organized by image number. Numbers consist of a prefix and consecutive number. These were assigned incrementally over time, thus images within each coverage area, regardless of medium, are in chronological order. The same image number identifies a negative and any prints produced from it. News Office image numbers begin with a letter or letters as a prefix. Prefixes designate a coverage area.

Two groups of prints "Harvard University" (image numbers beginning with HU) and "Berkshire Music Festival" (image numbers beginning with R) lack corresponding negatives. The "Special events" group does not have a prefix.
Prefixes
  1. C College
  2. COM Post World War II commencement
  3. G Graduate Schools
  4. HU Harvard University
  5. SC Science
  6. S Students
  7. SS Summer School
  8. R Berkshire Music Festival
  9. U University

Online access

Some of these photographs have been digitized and are available online. Links to digitized photographs accompany item descriptions.

Related Archival Materials note

The Harvard University Archives holds the extensive photograph archive of the Harvard News Office and the Office of News and Public Affairs (records in classificatuons beginning UAV 605) as well as an substantial portrait collection http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.ARCH:hua04006.

General note

This document last updated 2016 October 14.
Physical Condition Contact prints in this collection show various signs of fading, discoloration, cockling, and degradation from the adhesive used to mount them to paper binder pages. The pages are acidic and turning brittle. Some pages have become sticky due to adhesive bleeding. In most instances where prints are missing or have been removed to be returned to the Office of News and Public Affairs the pages have been torn apart.

Many of the work prints are badly curled from lack of support. Some show slight fading or yellowing and damage (edge wear, creases, and tears) from improper handling and storage over the years. Some prints show what appear to be cracks in the gelatin binder.

The negatives are in reasonably good condition, although there are signs throughout the collection of damage from improper handling, curling, silver mirroring, and vinegar syndrome.

At-risk neagatives have been quarantined in Box 58.
General note
  1. Fleischer, Walter R.
  2. Southwick, Paul
  3. Tamberg, William
  4. Contact prints
  5. Film negatives
  6. Gelatin silver prints
  7. Harvard University--Administration
  8. Harvard University--Alumni and alumnae
  9. Harvard University--Buildings
  10. Harvard University--Commencements
  11. Harvard University--Employees
  12. Harvard University--Faculty
  13. Harvard University--History--World War, 1939-1945
  14. Harvard University--Libraries
  15. Harvard University--Military training and service
  16. Harvard University--Students
  17. News photographs
  18. Photographs
  19. Publicity photographs
  20. Work prints

Processing Information

Title conventions Titles of individual photographs have chiefly been transcribed from original captions located either on the back of the photograph or on the page to which the contact print was affixed. Photograph titles supplied by the archivist are enclosed in square brackets.
Processing Information Collection surveyed and described by Robert Burton, 2012; description edited and digitized photographs added by Kate Bowers, 2013-2014.

The Harvard University News Office photographs, 1940-1956 were previously classified as UAV 605.270.1.1, UAV 605.270.1.2, UAV 605.270.1.3, UAV 605.270.1.4, and UAV 605.270.1.1. The collection was consolidated into a single call number, UAV 605.270.1, when it was surveyed and described in 2012.
Link to catalog
Title
Harvard University. News Office. Harvard University News Office photographs, 1940-1956 : an inventory
Status
completed
Author
Harvard University Archives
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
English
EAD ID
hua15012

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.

Contact:
Pusey Library
Cambridge MA 02138 USA
(617) 495-2461