Charters and legislative acts relating to the governance of Harvard, 1650-1814: Roll for College Charter to be used in inaugural ceremonies: Case used for wrapping the Charter of 1650, ca. 1936-1986: Charter of 1650: Charter of 1692: Charter of 1697: Charter of 1700: Resolve of 1707: Charter of 1723: Charter box, ca. 1830

To cite this material, use the information provided in the "Cite" tab in the top menu of the viewer with the digitized image. Please also add Colonial North America at Harvard Library to each citation.
Launch viewer
To cite this material, use the information provided in the "Cite" tab in the top menu of the viewer with the digitized image. Please also add Colonial North America at Harvard Library to each citation.

Content Notes

This collection contains copies of the Charters of 1650, 1692, and 1697; the Resolve of 1707 (that reinstated the 1650 Charter); a draft of a proposed Charter likely penned by President John Leverett in 1723; and two pieces of Massachusetts legislation, an Act of 1810 that altered the composition of the Board of Overseers, and an Act of 1814 that reinstated the 1810 legislation. The documents include official ceremonial originals signed by the Governor and stamped with the Massachusetts seal, as well as various handwritten and typed drafts and copies. The documents reflect contemporary politics, the influence of the British government in colonial affairs, and the role of religion in the College's governance. The collection does not represent a complete holding of all papers related to the Charter; similar official documents, including the Appendix of 1650 and the Charter of 1672 are held in record books in the Massachusetts State Archives. Additional charter copies, and supplemental documents are held in the Massachusetts State Archives, in the British Archives, and in other University collections.

Biographical Notes

The College charters are documents establishing Harvard College as a legal entity and defining the composition and authority of its governing boards. For most of Harvard's history to the present, the College has operated under the Charter of 1650; between 1672 and 1707, alternate Charters were recognized.