Your browser does not support JavaScript

The Harvard Law School Library Historical & Special Collections Department has compiled the following list of biographical sources, which offer basic information regarding Harvard Law School graduates. An increasing number of these sources are available online and can be accessed via links in this guide. If you require further assistance, please plan on visiting Historical & Special Collections.

Biographical Sources

Quinquennial catalogue of the officers and graduates, 1636-1930/Harvard University This catalog, published in 1930, includes information on the founding of Harvard College and lists officers of government for the University, as well as faculty with their dates of service. It has student information such as degree(s) and date(s) conferred and date of death for all of Harvard, including the Law School.
A catalogue of the students of law in Harvard University, from the establishment of the Law School, to the end of the … term in the year …
Also known as the Triennial Catalogue
This is the Law School’s very first “alumni directory.” It was issued every three years from 1833 to 1851. After the practice was terminated, one last triennial was issued in 1858. It lists former students alphabetically and by year, general information about the school, as well as courses of study and their accompanying academic texts.
Quinquennial catalogue of the officers and students of the Law School of Harvard University, 1817-1889Quinquennial catalogue of the Law School of Harvard University, 1894-1953 This is the precursor to the Harvard Law School Alumni Directory. It lists Law School faculty, as well as students. Student information is divided into three sections: chronological, geographical, and alphabetical, and usually includes the following information:
• Date student entered and left Harvard Law School
• Address at time of registration
• Address as of publication date
• Date and place of death
Harvard Law School Alumni Directory, 1958 – present The Alumni directory lists faculty dates of service and professional staff up to 2006. Student information is divided into chronological, geographical, and alphabetical sections, and includes the following information:
• Degree(s) and date(s) conferred
• Current address
• Class secretary
Class Reports, 1883-present (irregular) Starting in the 1880s, the secretary of each graduating class published a report listing the class members and their places of employment. Over time, these reports have come to include brief biographical entries for some alumni/ae. Earlier class reports may also include club membership. The present (2001) policy of the Harvard Law School Alumni Office is to sponsor publication of a class report every five years, up to and including the fiftieth anniversary of graduation.
Harvard University Catalog:
A Catalogue of the Officers and Students of the University in Cambridge, 1803-1871/72The Harvard University catalogue, 1872/1873 – 1974/1975
Before the Law School had its own course catalog, the Law School curriculum was included in the University catalog. In addition to information on faculty, tuition, and courses, these catalogs also included the following:
• List of University Overseers
• List of students by class year
• Residence at the time of entry to law school
• Housing location (listed under “room”)
• Previous degree(s)
Harvard Law School Catalog:
1835/1836-1868/1869 [With Gaps]1878/1879-1970/1971 [With Gaps]( Note: We have digitized the Law Library’s entire collection of Law School catalogs. For years we do not have a catalog, please consult the Harvard University catalog—links above.)
Some of the Law School catalogs from the 19th century do not include student listings; this information can be found in the University catalog (links above). For those years when we do not have Law School catalogs, try consulting the University catalog; the information in many of the Law School’s early catalogs was identical to the University catalog. In addition to information on faculty, tuition, courses, and degree requirements these catalogs might also include the following:
• List of students by class year (until WWII)
• Residence at the time of entry to law school
• Housing location (listed under “room”)
• Previous degree(s)
Harvard Law School Catalog:
1970/1971-2005/2006Beginning in the academic year 2006/2007, the course catalog was put online.
Includes information on:
• Courses
• Tuition
• Academic calendar
• Faculty
• Programs of study
History of the Harvard Law School and of Early Legal Conditions in America
by Charles Warren
(Note: An online version of this three-volume publication may be accessed through Google Books (link to volume 3), as well as the e-resource, The Making of Modern Law. You must have a Harvard PIN if you are accessing the e-resource from outside of the library)
This three-volume work includes a detailed history of the Harvard Law School from its founding in 1817 until 1907. Of particular interest is the third volume, which contains the Harvard Law School alumni roll, a listing of biographical data by class year. This volume also includes reproductions of various Harvard Law School Class photographs. The following information may be included:
• Place and date of birth
• Family information (parents, siblings, spouses, children)
• Degrees earned
• Career highlights
• Place and date of death
Yearbooks include listings and photographs of faculty, students, and student organizations. Earlier yearbooks include undergraduate information as well as current and permanent addresses.
No yearbooks were published from 1942/43 through 1944/45. However, the 1945/1946 yearbook includes a listing (without photos) of graduates since the previous publication in 1941/1942.
HOLLIS Classic The HOLLIS Catalog of the Harvard University Libraries is a database containing over 9 million records for more than 15 million books, journals, manuscripts, government documents, maps, microforms, music scores, sound recordings, visual materials, and data files.
Search for publications, including: class notes, third year papers, as well as LLM and SJD theses.
OASIS Harvard’s Online Archival Search Information System provides centralized access to a growing percentage of finding aids for archival and manuscript collections at Harvard. These finding aids are detailed descriptions of collections that contain a wide variety of materials, including letters, diaries, photographs, drawings, printed material, and objects.
VIA This is Harvard’s online catalog of visual resources. An increasing number of images relating to the history of Harvard Law School are available. Examples include: class pictures, photographs of faculty members, alumni, and student organizations. Our entire collection of class group photographs have been digitized and are available in VIA. For many students, this is the only photographic evidence we have of their time at the Law School.
To search for class photographs, do a title search for “harvard law school class” and limit your search to the dates the student was enrolled. In limiting by date, be sure to include the year of their September enrollment as well as their June graduation date.
Harvard/Radcliffe Online Historical Reference Shelf This site provides access to frequently consulted sources on the history of Harvard and Radcliffe. Sources of note include Harvard Presidents’ reports, 1825-1995. Most of these reports, up to and including the 1985/1986 issue, not only contain the report of the President of Harvard University, but also reports from the various Harvard faculties and departments, including the Law School. Law School reports from the late nineteenth century through the early twentieth century include the following:
• Number of students enrolled
• Number and types of degrees conferred
• Required courses, including faculty and textbook information, and how often the class met
• Curriculum changes
• Updates on the Library
• Description of art holdings, including: paintings, etchings, photographs, etc.
Bench and Bar of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts by William T. Davis (Note: An online version of this publication may be accessed through Google Books.) Published in 1895, these two volumes include a brief history of the Massachusetts bench and bar. Additionally, it features an extensive illustrated biographical register of attorneys or judges in Suffolk County and much of Massachusetts through 1894.
(Note: In 1894 Davis published Professional and industrial history of Suffolk County, Massachusetts . Vol. 1. of this earlier work contains similar information to the Bench and Bar and is available on-line through Making of Modern Law.)