Records relating to Harvard College collected by Charles Ewer, 1712-1723
About this Collection
- Legal instruments.
- Collection Title
- Records relating to Harvard College collected by Charles Ewer, 1712-1723
- .26 cubic feet (1 half-legal document box)
- Harvard University Archives
This collection contains ten 18th century documents relating to Harvard College and President John Leverett collected by Charles Ewer. The documents primarily pertain to the Harvard Fellowship controversy between 1716 and 1723 that expanded from internal disagreements about the role of Tutors in College governance into a political battle between the Corporation, Board of Overseers, and the Massachusetts General Court. The collection also includes a 1712 letter from John Leverett to Addington Davenport regarding a College petition before a Massachusetts General Court Committee, and 1716 and 1722 bonds between John Leverett, Elisha Cooke, and the Harvard College Treasurer. The Fellowship controversy material relates to the role of Harvard Corporation Fellows and provides evidence of the intensive review and interpretation of the College's founding documents by both Tutor Nicholas Sever and President Leverett, and reflect a period when the composition of the Harvard Corporation, the role of the Harvard faculty in College governance, and the influence on the Board of Overseers and the Massachusetts General Court in College governance was scrutinized and politicized.
Charles Ewer (1790-1853) was a Boston bookseller and a principal founder and first president of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, established in 1845.|Between 1716 and 1723, disagreements between Harvard President John Leverett and the College Tutors, led by Nicholas Sever, over the management of the College dissolved into political challenges between the Corporation, the Board of Overseers, and the Massachusetts General Court. The Fellowship Controversy, as it came to be known, centered on whether the Harvard Charter of 1650 granted Tutors the right to Fellowship in the Corporation, but also encompassed larger political issues related to President Leverett's authority and perceptions of the College by Massachusetts leaders.