- Harvard University. Corporation (Organization)
Due to its physical condition, the Admittatur of Richard Waldron (Harvard AB 1738), 1735 (UAIII 15.5.8 Box 1, Volume 10) is unavailable for research use. Contact reference staff for details.
1.63 cubic feet (4 document boxes, 1 half size document box, and 2 volumes)
The admittaturs document a component of the College's 17th and 18th century admissions procedures, and the manuscript and printed copies of the College laws complement the Laws and Statutes collection by providing insight into the Harvard administration's expectations of student behavior. The admittaturs offers a resource for studying collegiate governance, student life, and codes of conduct in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Richard Waldron's 1735 admittatur contains the oldest known extant copy of the "College Customs." The College Customs were a set of nineteen rules reflecting the social hierarchy of the different undergraduate classes, including wearing of hats and errand-running by freshmen for upperclassmen. The 1737 admittatur of Timothy Prout and the 1756 admittatur of William Clark include handwritten lists of Harvard students at the time of their admission. The admittaturs in the collection include the signatures of Presidents Benjamin Wadsworth, John Leverett, Edward Holyoke, and Joseph Willard. The collection also includes the admittatur of President Willard himself when he entered Harvard as a freshman in 1762.
The 1655 College laws defined the admittatur practice: "every Scholler sh[all] procure for himselfe a true Coppy of the Lawes wh[ich] being Signed with the Presidents and one of the Fellows hands shall be a testimony of his admission into the Colledge and also of the time thereof, which hee shall keepe with himselfe for his better guidance, whilest hee shall Continue a member of the Colledge." Students transcribed the College Laws prior to their examination and subsequent approval. As an example, Timothy Prout, who entered Harvard in 1737 as a member of the Class of 1741, dated his transcription of the Laws July 10, 1737, and the President signed the admittatur on October 5, 1737.
The practice of signing a student's transcription of the College laws was reiterated in the 1734 College laws, with the modification that it should be signed by the President and a "major part of Tutors." In the next significant revision of the College Laws in 1767, the admittatur requirement was substantially altered and instead of a manuscript copy of the laws, the President signed a printed certificate. The "Form of Admission," certified first by the College Steward, affirmed that the student's parents or guardians had both paid the specified sum and given a secured bond to the College Steward for their son's college expenses. The 1767 laws stated, "Every one that has been accepted on Examination shall, as soon as may be, exhibit to the President a Certificate from the Steward, that the foregoing Law has been compiled with; upon the receipt of which the President shall sign an Order for the Admission of such Persons."
The practices set forth in the Codes of 1734 and 1767, and later merged in the 1790 edition of the College laws stated: "Every one, who has been accepted, on examination, shall as soon as may be, exhibit to the President a certificate from the Steward that the foregoing law has been complied with; upon the receipt of which, the President shall deliver him a printed copy of the laws, to which shall be annexed an order for his admission to the privileges of the College." In the 1800s the President signed admittaturs in various formats, including a "Certificate of Admission" printed with a single-sheetAbstract of Laws and Regulations of the University in Cambridge, for the Information of Parents and Guardians of Students accepted on Examination.
- Manuscript College law admittaturs, 1715-1762
- Published College law admittaturs, 1786-1802
- Forms of admission, 1784-1791
- Abstracts of the laws and regulations, 1806-1867
- Lane, William C. "Manuscript laws of Harvard College" in the Publications of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, Volume 25, April 1923.
- Morison, Samuel Eliot. Harvard College in the Seventeenth Century. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1936.
This finding aid was created by Diann Benti in October 2010.
Preservation and description of the admittaturs was supported by the Arcadia-funded project Harvard in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries.
- Harvard University. Corporation. Admittaturs, 1715-1867: an inventory
- EAD ID
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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