Most extensive collection of historic documents on Harvard's growth ever displayed--including the original college charter of 1650, the original College seal and insignia, and aged records of the General Court--will be on public exhibition in Widener Library from now till Commencement.
Headed by President Conant, the Board of Overseers made an official visit to the library yesterday morning.
More than 50 exhibits depicting in general terms the present scope and the historical background of the library's principle activities will be shown from May until November, Clarence E. Walton, Assistant Librarian, said Each department of the library, including the Treasure Room, the Education Division, the Theatre Collection and the Poetry Room, will display material of public interest.
No particular book or books will be stressed, officials pointed out. The aim of the exhibit is to relate the displays to the University's function of education. The human side of source materials will be featured. "We are not interested in singling out specific books or particular titles," Mr. Walton said. "We are seeking to show groupings of books and their influence on education in the broader sense."
In special tribute to the visitation of the Board of Overseers on May 11, the first exhibit will include the largest collection of important material from the University Archives ever shown in Harvard's history. Included in the display will be significant books relating to Harvard's founding and growth, diaries of the early presidents, records of the Board of Overseers, financial records of the 17th and 18th centuries, college insignia, keys, seals, resolutions, the original charter of 1650, the Resolve of 1707, and the first college book. Many of these records are shown only on official occasions.
Among the documents to be exhibited are the only existing records of the college butler's office, one of the best sources of information on undergraduate life of the first half of the 18th century.
Upwards of fifty aspects of university and library functions will be covered in the Tercentenary exhibits, which will include many library treasures in different fields of knowledge.