Historical Harvard

Cambridge, MA, United States
Est. 1.6km / 32 mins / Map

Welcome to Harvard University. We hope that whether you are arriving from near or far you will enjoy a trip through Harvard's history. The tour begins at the Holyoke center located at 1315 Massachusetts Avenue. You will notice an cafe located at the bottom of the building. Staff members at the Harvard Information Center inside the Holyoke Center can provide you with additional information about the University, and direct you to other places of interest.

Historical Harvard - Cya On The Road

This tour which takes about an hour to focus on the architectural and historical details of the area in and around Harvard Yard. Additionally we encourage you to explore Radcliffe yard, the University professional schools, museums and athletic facilities and the grounds of undergraduate residential houses in the Radcliffe quadrangle and along the Charles River.

We advise that you exercise caution on Cambridge's cobblestone sidewalks and busy streets. Please stay on sidewalks and watch for vehicles in Harvard Yard. Also be sure to look out for plaques and historical signs along the way, which will provide more information. We thank you for visiting Harvard University and hope you have a wonderful time.

Hi, I'm Samantha Perrytory ,class of 2011 and I'm studying Psychology here at the college. Let's begin our tour! Established in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Harvard was named after its first benefactor, John Harvard of Charleston Massachusetts. Upon his death in 1638, the young Minister left his library and half of his state to the new college.

In 1639 in recognition of John Harvards request, the Great and General Court ordered to "that the college agreed upon former lead to be built at Cambridge, shall be called Harvard College". During its early years, the college offered a classic academic course based on the English University model, but consistent with the first colonists Puritan philosophy. Although many of its early graduates became ministers in Puritan congregations throughout New England, the college was never formally affiliated with a specific religious denomination.

The mission of the college, according to the 1650 Charter, was “the advancement of all good literature, arts and sciences”. Founded 16 years after the arrival of the pilgrims of Plymouth, the college has grown from nine students with a single master to an University including 10 graduate schools with programs spanning the globe. With a combined enrollment of more than 20,000 degree candidates, the University is dedicated to all aspects of teaching, learning and research.

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