‘Breeches, Bibles and Beauty Parlors’ — exhibition showcases Harvard student life through the ages

2 min read

In 1915, when he was a senior, Harvard College student Richard Edward Connell wrote a libelous article in the Crimson about a piece in Boston American, a Hearst publication, resulting in a lawsuit. Yet the debacle brought the young writer to the attention of William Randolph Hearst, and eventually helped Connell get a job with another publication. This story, among many others, was uncovered as Christine Hubbard, graduate student intern, processed materials in the Harvard University Archives.

Hubbard and fellow interns Olivia Mandica-Hart and Eve Neiger uncovered a wealth of information about Harvard student life while working in the Archives this summer. The three collaborated on an exhibition, “Breeches, Bibles and Beauty Parlors,” that showcases photographs, letters, and ephemera highlighting Harvard life during different historical periods.

“Revisiting materials I had processed to select highlights for an exhibit was an enjoyable culmination to my internship,” said Hubbard. “It was a wonderful way to share a sampling of the interesting items documenting student life at Harvard in the mid-19th and early 20th centuries.”

Hubbard and Mandica-Hart worked with Juliana Kuipers, special materials cataloger and processing archivist, and Neiger with Jennifer Pelose, processing archivist, and Robert Burton, cataloger for photographs.

“[Our interns] discovered so much content throughout the course of the summer that we wanted to put it on display for others—library staff and the public—to see,” Kuipers said. “We asked each to choose the materials she thought were the most interesting.”