852 RARE: The Monthly Special – The Littlest Graduate

Historical & Special Collections, Harvard Law Library, VIA Record ID:olvwork654430 Photograph by Martin Paul


In 2004, Historical & Special Collections began a project to catalog its collection of Harvard Law School class pictures, which culminated in the conservation and digitization of the collection in 2008. The collection includes over 130 posed, professionally shot group photographs of LL.B./J.D. students, graduate students, and students from abroad, often with members of the Harvard Law School faculty and staff. For many students, this is the only photographic evidence we have of their time at the Law School.  The collection spans the late nineteenth century to the early twenty-first century; the oldest class picture dates back to circa 1876.

Thanks to two recent gifts from the Harvard Law School Graduate Program we have been able to fill gaps in the collection relating to graduate students and students from abroad.

Among the recent acquisitions is a group portrait of HLS graduate students from 1975-1976. This picture is unique because seated in the front row, first chair on the left, is a small child. Who the child is and how he ended up in the picture is still a mystery.

You can explore the entire digitized collection of class photographs through VIA, Harvard’s online catalog of visual images. To search for specific class photographs in VIA, do a title search for “harvard law school class” and limit your search to the dates the student was enrolled.  In limiting by date, be sure to use the year of their September enrollment and the year of their graduation.

Stay tuned — we still have more photographs awaiting digitization! If you have a class photograph for a year we don’t currently have, and would like to donate it, we would love to hear from you! Here is our contact information.

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