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Frequently asked history

Harvard answers your most searched questions.

A Harvard building seen through some trees

  • When was Harvard founded?

    On October 28, 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.

An image of buildings making up Harvard College in 1767

Historical highlight

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.

Explore the report and recommendations

A drawing of the founding fathers signing the declaration of independence

Historical highlight

Eight Harvard alumni sign the Declaration of Independence

John Adams, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Elbridge Gerry, Robert Treat Paine, William Williams, William Ellery, and William Hooper

Learn more about Harvard in the 1700s

A poster of a football with Harvard Yale written on it

Historical highlight

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.

Learn more about Harvard in the 1800s


Historical highlight

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.

Learn more about Harvard in the 1900s