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Alumni Association of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology records

Identifier: AC-0024

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

This collection includes the earliest records and minutes of the Alumni Association of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, dating from 1874 discussions of its formation to the formal minutes and report from 1875, when the Alumni Association was organized.

There are reports on course of study at the Institute, prepared in the years 1870 to 1877. The colleciton also includes annual reports of the Committee on the School dated 1881, 1884, and 1885. A report on the Women's Laboratory dated 1878 by Ellen Swallow Richards is appended to the Report of 1882. The collection also includes financial and other papers of the Committee on the William Barton Rogers Scholarship Fund, the Committee on the Walker Memorial, and the Publication Committee.

The collection also contains a complete set of Executive Committee minutes, January 5, 1897, through June 11, 1968, and a complete set of Alumni Council minutes, from the first meeting May 12, 1909, though the 401st and last meeting, May 27, 1968. Minutes of both groups are bound together from 1909 to 1961; starting in 1962 they are housed separately.

Topics include athletics, musical clubs, the Tech Show, The Tech, Technology Review, cooperation with Harvard, the move to the Cambridge campus and other alumni events and celebrations, and interactions with the MIT Corporation.


  • Creation: 1874 - 1968


Access note

This collection is open.

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

In 1875, seven years after the first class graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1868, an Alumni Association was formally set up to foster contact between the Institute and its graduates. Members of the class of 1873 first discussed a formal organization at their first annual dinner in 1874, leading to the formation via a Constitution in 1875, “to further the well-being of the Institute and its graduates by increasing the interest of members in the school and in each other." Membership was initially limited to graduates of the Institute, but in 1898 the membership was opened to include all those who attended the Institute.

Professor Robert H. Richards (class of 1868) was the first president of the Association. In 1878, the Association formed a Committee on the School, composed of alumni who were to report to the Association annual on courses of instruction, Institute administration and policy. In 1899, a Committee on Publication was formed, which planned and started publishing Technology Review.

A small Executive Committee was established and first met in January 1897 to oversee the general interests of the Alumni Association. A broader Alumni Council was created by a revision of the By-laws of the Association in 1909 which provided a mechanism for closer collaboration with the Association of Class Secretaries, which then served as an adjunct group to the Alumni Council. The first meeting of the Alumni Council was held on May 12, 1909, and the 401st and last meeting of the Alumni Council was held on May 28, 1968. On July 1, 1968, it was reconstituted as the Alumni Advisory Council.1

The Association of Class Secretaries was formed as a distinct group in 1896 to promote class spirit and to systematize all matters pertaining to class organization and record. This group initiated several activities which continue today. The Association of Class Secretaries formed a three-member Committee on Publications, made up of Arthur D. Little, class of 1885, C. Frank Allen, class of 1872, and James P. Munroe, class of 1882. They conceived the plan to publish a quarterly alumni magazine. The first issue of Technology Review was published in January 1899. In 1910, the magazine began to be published monthly during the academic year. Oversight of Technology Review was later turned over to the Alumni Association. Another project of the Class Secretaries was the tradition of the annual sponsorship of Technology Night at the Pops. The Class Secretaries were also important in organizing and focusing alumni support against the Harvard-MIT merger proposed by MIT President Henry Pritchett.

The Executive Committee last met on June 11, 1968, and ceased to exist on June 30, 1968, as specified by the amendments to the Constitution and By-laws. Most of its functions were taken over by the Board of Directors of the Alumni Association, which first met in October 1968. The Board of Directors sets policy for the Association, and is overseen by an Executive Vice President. A National Selection Committee nominates alumni and alumnae for appointment to the MIT Corporation, under whose by-laws at least one-third of term members must be alumni or alumnae. In 1990 the name of the Association was changed from the Alumni Association to the Association of Alumni and Alumnae of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


1. From the Executive Committee and Alumni Council Minutes.


3.3 Cubic Feet (10 manuscript boxes)

Language of Materials



Materials are stored off-site. Advance notice is required for use.

Related Materials in the Institute Archives

The Association of Alumni and Alumnae of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Records (AC 224).

Alumni Association of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Board of Directors records (AC 25).

Guide to the Records of the Alumni Association of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1874-1968
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

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