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COLLECTION Identifier: HC 25

Student Works Collection, 1899-1948


This collection contains teaching materials and student works from the Harvard University Department of Fine Arts from 1899-1948. Materials include notes, works on paper, and sample course exercises.


  • Creation: 1899-1948

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Conditions on Access

Access to the Student Works Collection (HC 25) is unrestricted.

Conditions on Use

Copyright: The President and Fellows of Harvard College hold any copyright in the Student Works Collection. Copyright in some papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors’ heirs or assigns. Researchers must obtain the written permission of the holder(s) of copyright and the Harvard Art Museums Archives before publishing images or quotations from any material in the collection.

Copying: Collection may be copied in accordance with the Harvard Art Museums Archives' usual procedures.


33.18 linear feet (22 folio boxes + 2 oversize folio boxes)

Items in this collection include student works on paper and teaching materials from various courses in the Division of Fine Arts created and used from 1899-1948. Teaching materials include lecture notes, visual aids, and sample assignments. Student works include color studies, oil paintings, pencil or ink drawings, watercolors, and pastels. Many of the materials were originally housed in bound portfolios, and in some cases stored in the “Pope cabinet,” now housed in the Harvard Art Museums Archives. The collection was arranged to reflect known courses and instructors, as no original order could be identified.

Historical Note:

The Harvard Art Museums Student Works Collection is comprised of student-produced work and teaching aids from various courses taught in the Harvard University’s Division of Fine Arts. The department got its start in 1874 when Harvard appointed its first professor of art history, Charles Eliot Norton, an influential lecturer with a focus on the Middle Ages and Renaissance Italy. Almost immediately, Norton hired landscape artist Charles Herbert Moore to teach drawing and design courses. This combination of lecture and hands-on learning would be refined as the department developed, and the emphasis on practical education would lend itself well to the next major development in the department’s history: its home in Harvard’s new art museum. The Fogg Museum was completed in 1895 and Moore was named director. Though he and Norton had serious misgivings about the building itself, it was a boon to the department. The museum, with its classrooms, lecture spaces, and offices, accommodated increased faculty, among them Arthur Pope, Martin Mower, and Edgar O. Parker, and added courses, such as those of the School of Architecture’s Denman W. Ross. When Moore retired as director in 1909, one of Norton’s students, Edward W. Forbes, was appointed to the position. In 1927, Forbes, along with associate director Paul J. Sachs, facilitated the opening of a second, and much-improved, Fogg Museum in its current location on Quincy Street. Now housed in this new museum building, the Division of Fine Arts could further innovate within the emerging discipline of art history.

In 1909, upon being named director and starting the lectureship that accompanied the position, Forbes began to develop his signature course, Methods and Processes of Painting. It was a half-year course that included drawing and hands-on painting techniques such as egg tempera mixing and fresco painting, the term assignment that lent it its nickname the “Egg and Plaster Course.” Forbes was not a trained lecturer, and the evolution of the course’s name in reflects his constant efforts to improve. The graduate-level course was originally titled Fine Arts 20b: Florentine Painting in the Fifteenth Century, circa 1909-1913. The course evolved into the mixed undergraduate and graduate course Fine Arts 5g: Methods and Processes of Italian Painting in 1914 and kept this name until the 1924-25 academic year. In its final iteration, the course was called Fine Arts 15b: Methods and Processes of Painting through 1934, and was primarily for graduate-level students.

Longtime faculty member, and later director of the Fogg Museum, Arthur Pope taught an array of graduate- and undergraduate-level courses into the 1940s. The classes represented in this collection are the undergraduate courses Fine Arts 1a: Principles of Drawing and Painting and Theory of Design, Fine Arts 2c: Drawing and Painting; Design and Representation, Fine Arts 2d: Drawing and Painting, Fine Arts 8a: Theory of Design, and Fine Arts 8d: Theory of Design (advanced course), and the graduate course Fine Arts II: General Theory of Representation and Design.

Denman W. Ross was a student of Norton who went on to become an influential art historian, collector, and painter in his own right. As a faculty member in the Harvard School of Architecture, his design courses in the Division of Fine Arts greatly enriched the department. The courses were originally listed in the 1908-09 Harvard University course catalog as Architecture 7: On Designing as Applied in the Arts, and described as “lectures, with exercises in Designing.” In 1909 and until 1935, Ross was appointed to the Division of Fine Arts. He taught the mixed undergraduate/graduate course Fine Arts 8b: On Drawing and Painting: Theory and Practice in 1912 and 1915, but was primarily focused on graduate-level students, teaching Fine Arts 20c: Advanced Practice in Drawing and Painting from 1911 to 1933 and instructing students in advanced study.

Series and Subseries in the Collection

The material in this collection have been arranged into four series by instructor, if identifiable. Items in Series I. Arthur Pope's teaching materials and student works, have been further broken down by course.

  1. Series I. Arthur Pope’s teaching materials and student works, 1910-1948, undated
  2. ___Subseries A: Teaching materials from Fine Arts 1a and Fine Arts 11, 1948, undated
  3. ___Subseries B: Student works from Fine Arts 1a and Fine Arts 11, 1910-1946, undated
  4. ___Subseries C: Teaching materials from Fine Arts 2c, 1923-1936, undated
  5. ___Subseries D: Student works from Fine Arts 2c, 1911-1933, undated
  6. ___Subseries E: Student works from Fine Arts 2a and 2b, 1909-1942, undated
  7. ___Subseries F: Student works from Fine Arts 2d, 1918-1928, undated
  8. ___Subseries G: Student works from Fine Arts 8a and 8b, 1899-1944, undated
  9. ___Subseries H: Student works from Fine Arts 20 and courses of special study, 1932-1933, undated
  10. Series II. Denman W. Ross’s teaching materials from Fine Arts 8b and Fine Arts 2c, 1899-1930, undated
  11. Series III. Edward W. Forbes’s student works, 1910-1927, undated
  12. Series IV. Student works from various courses, 1940-1948, undated
  13. Series V: Collected student works from courses taught by Arthur Pope, 1916-1942, undated

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was given to the Harvard Art Museums Archives by the Drawings Department in July 2005. An addendum from the Library at the Art Institute of Chicago was added in July 2018. The cause of its transit to the Art Institute from Harvard is unknown.

Related Material

The Edward W. Forbes Papers, Arthur Pope Papers, Forbes Teaching and Research Materials Collection, and additional Denman W. Ross materials are held by the Harvard Art Museums Archives.

Box and Folder Locations

  1. Box 1: 1-7
  2. Box 2: 8-12
  3. Box 3: 13-16
  4. Box 4: 17-20
  5. Box 5: 21-25
  6. Box 6: 26-35
  7. Box 7: 36-39
  8. Box 8: 40-48
  9. Box 9: 49-53
  10. Box 10: 54
  11. Box 11: 55
  12. Box 12: 56
  13. Box 13: 57-59
  14. Box 14: 60-67
  15. Box 15: 68-71
  16. Box 16: 72-76
  17. Box 17: 77-80
  18. Box 18: 81-89
  19. Oversize box 19: 90
  20. Box 20: 91
  21. Box 21: 92
  22. Oversize box 22: 93-99
  23. Box 23: 100-104
  24. Box 24: 105-108

General note

  1. Eliot, T. S. (Thomas Stearns), 1888-1965.
  2. Forbes, Edward Waldo, 1873-1969.
  3. Pope, Arthur, 1880-1974.
  4. Ross, Denman Waldo, 1853-1935.
  5. Schroeder, Eric, 1904-.
  6. Fogg Art Museum.
  7. Harvard Art Museums.
  8. Harvard University. Art Museums
  9. Harvard University. Department of Fine Arts.

General note

  1. Art--History--Study and teaching.
  2. Art--Study and teaching--History--20th century.
  3. Art historians--United States.
  4. Art in education.
  5. Art in education--Massachusetts--Cambridge.
  6. Harvard University--Faculty.
  7. Harvard University--History--20th century.
  8. Harvard University--Students.

General note

Form/Genre Terms
  1. drawings
  2. painting(s)
  3. student drawings

Processing Information

This collection was initially processed in Spring 2017 by Janna Mabee with assistance from Megan Schwenke. The finding aid was written in Summer/Fall 2017. End processing was completed by Yan Ma in May 2018. The finding aid was encoded in May 2018 by Michelle Interrante. One folio box of addendum was processed in July 2018 by Michelle Interrante and can be found in Series V.

Student Works Collection (HC 25), 1899-1948: A Guide
Harvard Art Museums Archives
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Harvard Art Museums Archives Repository

The Harvard Art Museums Archives is the official repository for institutional records and historical documents in all formats relating to the Fogg Museum, the Busch-Reisinger Museum, and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum, 1895 to the present. Its collections include papers of individuals and groups associated with the museums' history, including records of past exhibitions, architectural plans, photographs, scrapbooks, and memorabilia, as well as correspondence with collectors, gallery owners, museum professionals, and artists throughout the twentieth century. Its holdings also document the formation of the museums' collections and its mission as a teaching institution.

32 Quincy Street
Harvard University
Cambridge MA 02138 USA