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Harvard College

Image courtesy Historic New England

Print Title:

North East View of the Several Halls of Harvard College


The pottery version Harvard College #1 shows a closeup of the buildings in the center right, Stoughton Hall and Hollis Hall. Harvard College #2 shows University Hall, on the far left.

Print Source:

Drawn by Alvan Fisher, engraved by Charles Cutler Torrey, and published in Boston by Cummings, Hilliard & Co on May 1, 1823, this image is one of a pair of views of Harvard. Cummings & Hilliard first offered the pair of "Views of the Colleges in Cambridge"  for sale  to subscribers in the August 15, 1821 issue of the Boston Daily Advertiser. The original oil paintings, completed by Alvin Fisher in 1821, were titled "A view of the interior of the college yard, taken from the President's House" and "A view of the Colleges in Cambridge taken from a situation between the Charlestown and Craigie Bridge Roads." Early sources indicate that the former, southern, view was actually taken from the roof of Wadsworth house. The Harvard Book, v. 1 also indicates that the first engravings were done after india ink sketches completed as studies by Fisher, rather than the oil cavases. Cummings & Hilliard advertised the canvases on view in ther bookshop at No. 1 Cornhill in order to gain subscribers for the print series.

Alvan Fisher, born in Needham, MA in 1792. He studied with John R. Penniman before hanging out his shingle as a landscape and portrait artist in Boston. Salem-born Charles Torrey studied engraving in Philadelphia from 1815 to 1820 before returning to Massachusetts. He did not remain there long, however, as he died of a fever in Nashville, TN in 1827. The Harvard plate is one of his few known images.

For a thorough history of the many printed and painted views of Harvard, see Hamilton Vaughan Bail, Views of Harvard: a pictorial record to 1860. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1949.

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Pattern & Print Source Comparison

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Harvard College #1


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Harvard College #2
Ralph Stevenson & Williams