The history of Harvard
Explore our history through time or topic
Frequently asked history
Harvard answers your most searched questions.
When was Harvard founded?
On September 8, 1636, Harvard, the first college in the American colonies, was founded.
Who founded Harvard?
Despite popular opinion (and a certain statue) John Harvard did not found Harvard, but he was the first major benefactor and he donated half of his estate and his library of more than 400 books to the School.
Harvard University was officially founded by a vote by the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
Where is Harvard University located?
While many think of Harvard Yard in Cambridge, Massachusetts as Harvard’s campus, the University also has robust campuses in the Longwood and Allston neighborhoods of Boston, Massachusetts.
Is Harvard College the same as Harvard University?
Harvard College is just one of 14 Harvard Schools. The College is for undergraduate students and the 13 graduate and professional Schools teach the rest of our students.
Harvard and the legacy of slavery
On April 26, 2022, Harvard President Larry Bacow released the Report of the Committee on Harvard & the Legacy of Slavery, accepted the committee’s recommendations in full, and announced a historic commitment of $100 million to fund their implementation.
Native American History at Harvard
The education of Native Americans is woven into the long history of Harvard University. The Charter of 1650, which continues to govern Harvard, pledges the University to “the education of English and Indian youth.”
From 1655 to 1698, the “Indian College” stood in Harvard Yard, on the site currently occupied by Matthews Hall.
It was not until 1970 that a program was established to specifically address Native American issues. In early 1970, the American Indian Program (AIP) emerged on campus.
Acknowledgement of Land and People
Native American program turns 50
Harvard’s first tenured professor of Native American history
Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development
Native American Heritage Month
The first Harvard-Yale football game
Yale hosted the first Harvard-Yale football game in 1875, which Harvard won, to the delight of some 150 student boosters from Cambridge.
Women’s History at Harvard
As staff members, then as students and faculty, the women of Harvard paved the way for the next generation, and continue to carve new paths today.
A complicated history
Black Women Oral History Project
Star analysts of Harvard
The first women at Harvard Medical School
Walter Gropius comes to Harvard
Founder of the Bauhaus art movement, Walter Gropius, became head of architecture at Graduate School of Design in 1939, ensuring that the University would have its first modern building, as well as one of the most comprehensive Bauhaus collections in the world.
African American History at Harvard
A complete look at Harvard’s Black history includes the dual legacies of slavery and discrimination along with pioneering moments of inclusion, equity, and empowerment.