Harvard College Lottery Book, 1794-1797: Harvard College Lottery Book, Stoughton 1794

About this Collection

Harvard University , Treasurer.
Financial records.
Collection Title
Harvard College Lottery Book, 1794-1797Harvard College Lottery Book, Stoughton 1794
.03 cubic feet (1 volume)
Harvard University Archives
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Minot, George Richards
Austin, Benjamin
Harvard College (1636-1780)--Finance--History
Charitable uses, trusts, and foundations--Massachusetts--Sources
Lottery tickets--Early works to 1800

Content Notes

The long hardcover account book contains handwritten records of the Harvard College Lottery in the hand of College Treasurer Ebenezer Storer. The volume begins with a transcription of the Massachusetts General Court June 13, 1794 legislation sanctioning the lottery, and a note that the managers of the lottery gave security bonds to the Corporation. The bulk of the volume records the activities of the four classes of the lottery including lists of the individual tickets returned by the managers Benjamin Austin Jr., George R. Minot, Henry Warren, and John Kneeland, and the accounts of prizes drawn and tickets returned. The volume has a table of contents and there is a note pasted onto the third page calculating the sum raised if all tickets had been sold.

Biographical Notes

Government-sanctioned lotteries originated in Massachusetts as an alternative to taxation, but soon expanded as a fundraising tool to help fund building projects and support charities. The Massachusetts General Court began using lotteries in the 1740s to raise money for military operations. In 1765, the General Court passed the first legislation allowing Harvard College to run a lottery to support dormitory building projects. Lottery plans stalled, and in 1772 the General Court passed an act authorizing new managers of the lottery at Harvard. Tickets were then sold for the first lottery beginning in 1772, but the lottery was later interrupted by the Revolutionary War in 1775. General Court legislation on June 14, 1794 sanctioned a Harvard College lottery to be administered by appointed managers of the lottery. The lottery drawn between 1794 and 1797 raised money to build the second Stoughton Hall. In the early 1800s, Harvard again used the lottery to raise money for the building of Holworthy Hall.