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Frequently asked history

Harvard answers your most searched questions.

A building in Harvard Yard with columns and banners

  • 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 over 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.

A statue of John Adams in Annenberg Hall

Historical highlight

John Adams graduates

John Adams, future U.S. president, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1755 and began his career as a lawyer.

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