An exhibition featuring materials drawn from the collections of the Harvard University Archives.

American universities have begun to reckon with their historical ties to slavery. Harvard University is no exception.

Although little more than passing traces of enslaved lives were noted in the written documents that survive as the record of Harvard's history, much can be gleaned by reading between the lines and by understanding the broader context of American life in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Drawn from the collections of the Harvard University Archives, the items on display in this exhibition represent the beginning of work underway to identify the links between Harvard and the system of racial bondage that defined American society.

Bound by History: Harvard, Slavery, and Archives is on view in the Lammot du Pont Copeland Gallery in Pusey Library on the Harvard campus. The exhibition is free and open to the public. The exhibition is a collaborative effort of the Harvard University Archives, the Weissman Preservation Center, Harvard Library Communications, and Harvard Public Affairs and Communications. Numerous 17th and 18th century materials on display were digitized as part of Colonial North America at Harvard Library.

Can you help us? The Harvard University Archives is eager to collect materials documenting the relationship between slavery and the University. If you have or know of materials you think we should collect, please contact the University Archives at 617.495.5961 or email