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Collection on the Celebration of the Move of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from Boston to Cambridge

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: AC-0343

Scope and Contents of the Collection

This collection contains the administrative records of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Dedication Reunion Committee for the three-day celebration of the move of the campus from Boston to Cambridge in 1916. The Dedication Reunion Committee worked through numerous subcommittees, chaired by graduates of MIT. A number of subcommittees are represented in the collection.

The Technology Pageant Committee records include minutes of committee meetings, budgets, correspondence, memoranda, programs and schedules of events, lists of masque characters, costumes and properties, and masque scenarios.

These folders are a major portion of the records. The Undergraduate Reunion Committee is also well represented by records donated by Thomas D’Arcy Brophy, class of 1916, who was chair of that subcommittee. The Alumni Association made a scrapbook of the three-day celebration, which is also included.

News clippings in the collection show the public interest and involvement in the Institute celebrations, especially those held outdoors along the Charles River location of the new Cambridge campus.


  • Creation: 1916 - 1920
  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1916 - 1916


Access note

This collection is open.

Conditions Governing Use

Several items are fragile and require special handling.

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

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Alumni Council appointed Charles A. Stone, class of 1888, as chair of the Dedication Reunion Committee to oversee the celebrations for the dedication of MIT’s new Cambridge campus, which took place on June 12, 13, and 14, 1916, a move from the original campus in Boston to the new campus in Cambridge.

President Richard C. Maclaurin named Edwin S. Webster, Ralph Adams Cram (faculty, Department of Architecture), C. Howard Walker, William T. Sedgwick, and others to a Technology Pageant Committee in January 1916. The Committee was charged to plan a suitable program for the dedication of the new MIT campus in Cambridge in June 1916. The completed program included a series of "masques" celebrating various subjects related to MIT history; also the construction of the Bucentaur, a ceremonial barge constructed to convey the charter (a facsimile) of the Institute from Boston to Cambridge across the Charles River.

The three-day reunion of MIT alumni and alumnae drew almost 4,000 graduates of MIT, approximately half of the entire alumni body. They attended the celebration to open the completely new Cambridge campus, a campus made possible after an anonymous donor gave MIT the money to purchase the land and construct the new buildings.

It was the organized opposition of MIT graduates which thwarted a proposed merger of MIT and Harvard a few years earlier at the turn of the century, so it was appropriate that the 1916 reunion, which also bid farewell to the Boston buildings that had been home to MIT for the previous fifty years, was organized and run by the alumni themselves along with faculty and undergraduates.

The Dedication Reunion Committee was divided into over twenty subcommittees responsible for the set of festivities. Reunion highlights were a “Farewell to Rogers,” referring to the Rogers Building on the Boston campus; an open house and exhibition at the new Cambridge campus; a water fete on the Charles River; graduation day exercises of the class of 1916; and the “Day of the Classes” trip to Nantasket Beach for a parade of reunion classes. On the final day, the new Great Court (now Killian Court) of MIT was the setting for the Pageant and Masque of Power, a spectacle organized by Professor Ralph Cram of the Department of Architecture. This included the arrival of the Bucentaur, a ceremonial barge constructed to carry the Institute's seal across the Charles River from Boston to Cambridge. That evening the reunion ended with a banquet at Symphony Hall. Banquet attendees in Boston were connected by telephone with those present in thirty-four cities throughout the United States who were able to listen to the program and participate in the proceedings in a telephone roll call of each alumni club.

The publicity and souvenir subcommittee produced a special booklet that offers a glimpse of the extensive program of activities with descriptions such as “Flight by Farnum Fish in a Wright Biplane” and “Masque of Power.”

Member names and subcommittees of the Dedication Reunion Committee are listed in Technology Review, volume 18, pages 585-587.


0.6 Cubic Feet (1 manuscript box, 1 flat box, 14 items in enclosure, 1 oversize enclosure)

Language of Materials



The Dedication Reunion Committee was formed to oversee the celebrations for the dedication of MIT’s new Cambridge campus, which took place on June 12, 13, and 14, 1916. The committee was divided into over twenty subcommittees responsible for an elaborate set of festivities. Several subcommittees are represented in the collection, including the Undergraduate Reunion Committee and the Technology Pageant Committee, whose records form a major portion of the collection.

Physical Location

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

Location of Copies

A use copy of photographic plates in box 4 can be found in the Institute Archives and Special Collections reading room.

Related Materials

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Distinctive Collections, Records of the Office of the President, collection AC 13, including George Eastman correspondence in box 25; and lists with correspondence about naming buildings in the Great Court in box 12.

Related Materials

To learn more about the reunion, browse through the Souvenir Program, the July 1916 issue of Technology Review, or archival records of the Office of the President (AC 13) in the Department of Distinctive Collections.

A copy of the Souvenir Program is on the web site of Distinctive Collections:

Related exhibits:

Orville Wright at the reunion:

Reunion telephone banquet at Symphony Hall, Boston:

MIT’s two campuses, Boston and Cambridge:


  • Technology Review. July 1916 issue
  • The Technology Pageant and the Masque of Power, June 13, 1916. Printed for the Technology Reunion Committee.
Guide to the Collection on the Celebration of the Move of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from Boston to Cambridge, 1916
Deborah A. Cozort, Elizabeth Andrews
Copyright 1979, 2005
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2021 August 4: Edited by Lana Mason for compliance with DACS single-level optimum requirements and to remove aggrandizing terms in the historical note 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