Although Cambridge (1632) was founded four years earlier than Harvard (1636), much of the history of the City and the University are closely tied – so much so that the Harvard University Archives’ wonderful new digital resource is a boon to all those interested in Cambridge. The Harvard University Archives has created Harvard in the 17th and 18th Centuries, an online guide to all their earliest materials. Thousands of items – diaries, commonplace books, correspondence, legal documents, University records, drawings, maps, student notebooks, scientific observations, and lecture notes – are described; many have been digitized and are freely accessible.
Users can browse by subjects from college life to world events or scroll through collection highlights, such as the 1577 deed to a London tenement signed by a Harvard – presumably the ancestor of the University’s benefactor, John Harvard – the earliest record in the Harvard University Archives’ collection. The search function is fantastic as well. Try a search for Judah Monis (or any other of your favorite Cambridge personalities from the 18th century) and see what you get.