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Collection on Student Life at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Identifier: MC-0618

  • Staff Only
  • Select item to request

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The collection contains materials that document student life on the MIT campus, including notebooks and papers, news clippings, magazines, student publications, photographs, brochures and programs, and other memorabilia.

List of Donors and/or Collectors

Class of 1885
Thomas W. Fry
Class of 1896
Walter H. James
Henry A. Waterman
Class of 1899
William A. Kinsman
Class of 1907
Edwin C. Richardson
Class of 1908
William C. Kerr
Class of 1913
Everett St. John
Raymond B. Haynes
Class of 1915
George W. Simons
Class of 1916
Henry B. Shepard
Class of 1917
John M. DeBell
Jay Jacob Sindler
Class of 1920
Edward G. Zahn
Class of 1922
Douglas M. Burckett
Ram Prasad (ScD)
Felix Stapleton
Class of 1926
Leon J Goldberg (SB 1926, SM 1927)
Class of 1927
Laurence B. Cheney
Albert Paul Kauzmann
Class of 1928
Ralph Jope
Class of 1929
John Wayne Courter (SM 1929)
Albert Eigenbrot (SB 1929, SM 1931)
Eben N. Wells
Class of 1931
Otto C. Kohler
Class of 1933
Donald W. Brookfield
Richard B. Smith
Class of 1935
G. Donald Fenton
Class of 1936
Robert Burns Woodward (SB 1936, PhD 1937)
Class of 1937
Winthrop Comley
Robert Morton
Class of 1939
Basil Parkhurst Gray
Jerome Gross
Class of 1940
Martin R. (Richard) Erickson
David E. Swenson
Class of 1941
Edmund Sidney Rittner
Harold A. Ricards, Jr. (SM 1941)
Class of 1946
William J. Rapoport
Class of 1948
Albert E. Bowen, Jr.
Class of 1954
Carolyn Cohen (PhD 1954)
Class of 1961
Robert Nagro
Class of 1970
Michael Kay
Class of 1971
Robert D. (Dale) Zellers
William (Bill) C. Birthisel
Scope and Contents of the Collection

This collection is assembled by the staff of the Institute Archives from material donated throughout the years by MIT Alumni, staff, and friends of the Institute.


  • Creation: 1876 - 2017


Access note

This collection is open.

Digital Access Note

Some parts of this collection are available online. Links to specific online digital items are found within their entry in this finding aid.

Conditions Governing Use

Access to collections in the Department of Distinctive Collections is not authorization to publish. Please see the MIT Libraries Permissions Policy for permission information. Copyright of some items in this collection may be held by respective creators, not by the donor of the collection or MIT.

Historical note

Since its founding in 1861, Massachusetts Institute of Technology has been known for the caliber of its student body. The first students were enrolled at MIT in 1865 and graduated in 1868. MIT was first located in Back Bay Boston with a limited campus and no housing. In June 1916 the campus, including new dormitories, moved to Cambridge. Clubs and activities have occurred on both campuses.

This collection, assembled from donated materials by the staff of the Institute Archives, offers a glimpse of the social backdrop that has been as much a part of the knowledge gained by MIT students as the lessons learned in the classroom. It does not ignore the importance of academics at MIT; collection materials include items created for courses by students – be they senior theses, exam diagrams, or course notes.

While the whole of the diversity represented in MIT students' lives is difficult to document, these records show how student life has evolved at MIT and how student life retains some similarities through the years – from the effects of war on student activities and protests, to Spring Weekend festivities and entering class photos.


11.75 Cubic Feet (13 manuscript boxes, 4 half manuscript boxes, 1 tall legal manuscript box, 14 flat boxes, 1 oversize folder)

1.22 Gigabytes (223 digital files)

Language of Materials


Arrangement of the collection

The collection is organized into three series: Series 1, Student Life Items (items collected by or about students); Series 2, Student Notes, Papers, and Theses; and Series 3, Posters. Series 1 and Series 3 contain oversized items, which are housed in separate boxes or map case drawers as noted.

Series 1 and 2 are arranged chronologically by the donor’s MIT class year or, in cases where the donor was not an MIT alumnus, by the date of the material itself. Series 3 is arranged generally by topic, since a majority of the series’ materials are undated.

Source of Acquisition

The Department of Distinctive Collections (formerly the Institute Archives and Special Collections) received items in the collection from various MIT alumni and alumnae, families, friends, and affiliates and assembled them into one collection

Related Materials

Related material providing information about student life and culture at MIT may be found in the other student and MIT community organizations collections.

Associated Collections

AC 70
Athletic Association, Records, 1906-1970s
AC 351
Chemical Society, Records, 1903-1932
AC 385
Civil Engineering Society, Records, 1889-1893
AC 312
Combined Musical Clubs, Records, 1927-1969,
AC 313
Community Players, Scrapbooks, 1932-1958
AC 384
Cosmopolitan Club, Records, 1911-1915,
AC 380
Freshman Quiz, 1981
AC 246
Graduate Student Council, Records, 1953-1989
AC 301
Osiris (Society), Records, 1968
AC 299
Tech Show, Records, 1899-1968
AC 381
Women's League, Records, 1917-1982

Many of MIT’s student publications also provide information about student life and culture. The publications, which can be viewed in the Department of Distinctive Collections reading room, include:

Tech Talk, 1957-

Technique, MIT’s yearbook, 1887-

The Tech, 1881-

Technology Review, 1899-

VooDoo, 1919-

To search for other MIT publications, please use Barton, the online catalog for MIT Libraries,

Separated Materials

In 2023 November, the following materials were moved from this collection into MC-0766 Student Notes:

Robert S. Harper student notes (2011-073)

Calvin N. Mooers student notes (2010-076)

Reginald A. Krystyniak student papers (2013-059)

John Fredericks student papers (2017-076)

Randall Richardson course notes (2019-012)

Sanitation and Hydraulic engineering student notebook (2006-021)

Philip S. Morse student paper (2006-041)

Frederick Fox, Jr. graduate thesis (2006-042)

Wiliam M. Beaman student paper (2006-044)

James A. Guttridge student paper (2006-026)

George L. Hosmer student paper (2006-027)

Harry F. Sawtelle student thesis (2006-028)

John B. Stouder student thesis (2006-029)

Francis H. Watts student thesis (2006-030)

John H. Larrabee student paper (2006-037)

William F Steffens student notebook (2006-018)

Warren M. Archibald student paper (2006-035)

Fred L. H. Kimball, Clancey M. Lewis, Lester A. Newell student thesis (2006-036)

James H. Richardson student paper (2006-039)

“Report on the Cheever Ore Bed, at Port Henry, New York” student paper (2006-040)

Class of 1887 student papers (2006-043)

Eben L. Chapman student paper (2006-038)

Hiram E. Beebe volume (2011-061)

Charles L. Crosier student thesis and research notes (2024-023)

In 2023 November, the following item was moved from this collection into MC-0220 George V. McLauthlin Student Notes:

George V. Mclauthlin laboratory notebook (2006-019).

In 2023 November, the following folder was moved from this collection into AC-0093 Massachusetts Institute of Technology Examinations:

Schuyler Hazard exam papers (2006-020)

Processing Information note

Needs review - especially the series S&Cs.

Processing Information

An autograph album in this collection was inititally designated as a separate collection, George F. Dunn autograph album (MC-0312). In October 2015, the autograph album was merged into the Collection on Student Life at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MC-0618).

Additionally, Series 1, Box 10 of this collection was inititally designated as a separate collection, Felix Stapleton student memorabilia (MC-0568). In April 2012, the former MC-0586 was merged into the Collection on Student Life at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MC-0618).

Guide to the Collection on Student Life at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2018-09-13: Edited by Rachel Van Unen to reflect the addition of accessions 2019-016 and 2019-017

Repository Details

Part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Libraries. Department of Distinctive Collections Repository

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Libraries
Building 14N-118
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge MA 02139-4307 US