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Boston College University Archives

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Primary Sources

Campus celebration of Ferdinand Foch, 14 November 1921, Boston College special guests and events photographs

First-hand accounts created at the time events occurred are primary sources. They can provide direct evidence about topics you are researching.

Boston College history can be discovered through many primary sources, from official university publications such as course catalogs and newspapers, to student organization records, photographs, artifacts and more. These records document a variety of experiences and viewpoints including those of students, staff, faculty, and administration. If you're looking for photographs, check our photographs page.

Newspapers, Journals, & Yearbooks

Other newspapers, journals, yearbooks, and student organization materials not listed here are also available. If you don't see what you are looking for, contact us with your area of interest to learn if we have relevant material.

The Stylus (1883-present)

Boston College's first student publication. 

Look here for: 

  • Alumni news through 1933
  • Athletics through 1919
  • News through 1919 (look for the column "Domi")
  • “Reminiscences,” a series of essays about BC’s early days (1896-1899)
  • Student literary and artistic tastes and opinions
  • ​And more!

Microfilm (1883-2000) and print (2000-present) are available in the O'Neill and Burns Libraries.
Available online (1883-1922).

 

The Heights (1919-present)

The Heights newspaper documents student life and campus activities. Beginning in 1971, the newspaper was legally and fiscally separated from BC. It continued using the name The Heights, but with the qualification “Independent Student Weekly of Boston College.”

Look here for:

  • “Art in Boston College,” a series describing the early Chestnut Hill campus (1924)
  • Arts - concerts, dramatics, exhibits, etc.
  • Athletics
  • News of students, faculty & administration
  • Student government
  • Student opinion
  • Student organizations
  • And more!

Available online (1919-2018)

Sub Turri (1913-present)

Sub Turri, Latin for “Under the Tower,” is  the Boston College student yearbook. It documents the senior class.

Look here for:

  • Arts
  • Athletics
  • Building and campus images
  • Campus events
  • Candid photographs of student life
  • Faculty
  • Senior class portraits
  • Student organizations
  • And more!

Available in print in the Burns Library (1913-2020)
Available online (1913-2009)

Boston College Bulletin (1869-present)

Boston College Bulletin and its predecessors are course catalogs. They are comprehensive documents that include academic, administrative, and service-related information for graduate and undergraduate students. Content varies over the years.

Look here for:

  • Alumni lists in 1884/85, 1894/95–1899/1900, and 1915
  • Commencement - names of students who received degrees or prizes
  • Course descriptions
  • Degree requirements
  • Early student organizations such as the St. Cecilia Society and debating clubs
  • Faculty & administrators
  • And more!

Available in print in the Burns Library

Available online 1868-1911
Available online 1912-1914
Available online 1914-1928
Available online 1929-2019

Boston College Chronicle. (1971-present)

A newspaper covering campus issues and events from an administrative viewpoint, it began in 1971 after the Heights newspaper became a student publication independent from Boston College. It has been known by the following names: Thursday Reporter (1971-1973); Boston College Focus (1974-1980); Boston College Colleague (1975-1980); Boston College Biweekly (1980-1992), Boston College Chronicle (1992-present).

Look here for:

  • Campus events calendar
  • Features on BC departments, infrastructure, security, and initiatives
  • Many kinds of campus and institutional news
  • And more!

Available on microfilm at O'Neill and Burns Libraries (1971-1997)
Available online (1992-present)


Boston College Magazine (1933-present)

Boston College’s magazine for alumni is now called "Boston College Magazine." Other names for this publication have been: Alumnus (1933-1935); Alumni Review (1935-1936); Alumni News (1937-1970); Bridge (1970-1978); and, now, Boston College Magazine (1978-present).

Look here for:

  • Alumni news
  • Articles on a wide variety of BC history topics
  • ​Images of a wide variety of BC subjects

Print issues are available at O'Neill and Burns Libraries.
Available online (1933-2011)

 

Collage (1977-1979)

Boston College’s first minority student newspaper focused on the experiences of Black students and other minorities.

Look here for:

  • Arts
  • Events
  • News of students, faculty & administration
  • Student opinion
  • Student organizations
  • ​And more!

Print issues are available in Burns Library (1977-1979)
Available online (1977-1979).

 

Image of Collage staff, 1978

Image of Collage staff, 1978

President's Office Records

Relief sculpture of St. Ignatius, 1931

University President's Office Records provide both high-level and detailed administrative information on decisions and changes at Boston College. The Archives does not hold papers for every president of the College, and the records of Fr. Monan and Fr. Leahy are not available. There are access restrictions in nearly every set of records held by the Archives, however, you can request permission to access specific files

For a complete list of BC Presidents, see the Fact Book.

Learn more about each collection below.

Pictured: Relief sculpture of St. Ignatius, 1931, James H. Dolan, SJ, President's Office records

John McElroy, SJ, President's Office records 

McElroy is considered the founder of Boston College but was never the president, which is why no years in office are listed.

Material dated 1813-2005, (bulk 1813-1878)
Finding aid for McElroy records

John Bapst, SJ, collection 

Years in office: 1863-1869 
Material dated 1851-1982 (bulk 1851-1887)
Finding Aid for Bapst collection

Look here for:

  • Bapst’s missionary work in Maine
  • ​Know-Nothings’ assault of Bapst in Ellsworth, Maine, 1854

Robert J. Fulton, SJ, President’s Office records

Years in Office: 1870-1880 
Material dated 1866-1895
Finding Aid for Fulton office records

Look here for:

  • Formation of the Young Men’s Catholic Association

Edward V. Boursaud, SJ, President's Office records

Years in office: 1884-1887
Material dated 1897, 1900
Finding Aid for Boursaud office records

Robert J. Fulton, SJ, President’s Office records

Years in office: 1888-1891 
Material dated 1866-1895
Finding Aid for Fulton office records

Edward I. Devitt, SJ, President's Office records

Years in office: 1891-1894 
Material dated 1864-1916
Finding Aid for Devitt office records

Look here for:

  • Draft of Devitt's history of Boston College from its founding to the presidency of Charles W. Lyons, SJ., a later version of which was published in Woodstock Letters in 1935. 

Timothy Brosnahan, SJ, President's Office records

Years in office: 1894-1898 
Material dated 1897-1929
Finding Aid for Brosnahan office records

Look here for:

  • Harvard Law School controversy

W.G. Read Mullan, SJ, President's Office records

Years in office: 1898-1903 
Material dated 1898-1930s (bulk 1898-1900)
Finding aid for Mullan office records

Look here for:

  • Harvard Law School controversy

Thomas Ignatius Gasson, SJ, President’s Office records

Years in office: 1907-1914 
Material dated 1868-1940, (bulk 1907-1914)
Finding aid for Gasson office records

Look here for:

  • Boston College’s move to Chestnut Hill from the South End
  • Competition to design the Chestnut Hill campus
  • Construction records for the Recitation Building, now called Gasson Hall
  • Daniel O’Connell Memorial Hall, Irish Hall of Fame
  • Records of fundraising contributions
  • ​"Michael Over Lucifer" statue

Charles W. Lyons, SJ, President's Office records

Years in office: 1914-1919
Material dated 1914-1979, (bulk 1914-1919)
Finding aid for Lyons office records

Look here for:

  • Boston College during World War I 
  • Students' Army Training Corps (SATC)
  • Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC)
  • ​Saint Mary’s Hall Construction

William J. Devlin, SJ, President's Office records

Years in office: 1919-1925 
Material dated 1915-1930, (bulk 1919-1925)
Finding aid for Devlin office records

Look here for:

  • Fundraising for campus buildings
  • ​Schools of Business and Education, preliminary information

James H. Dolan, SJ, President’s Office records

Years in office: 1925-1932
Material dated 1909-1958, (bulk 1925-1932)
Finding aid for Dolan office records

Look here for:

  • Bapst Library
  • St. Mary’s Hall addition
  • Graduate School
  • ​Law School & Extension School

Louis J. Gallagher, SJ, President's Office records

Years in office: 1932-1937 
Material dated 1920-1945, (bulk 1932-1937)
Finding aid for Gallagher office records

Look here for:

  • Anthropology Museum
  • Archeological expeditions to Columbia and Lebanon
  • Boston College in the Great Depression
  • Establishment of the School of Social Work
  • National Youth Administration
  • Lawrence farm letter and photograph
  • Philomatheia Club
  • Vatican Relief Mission to Russia

 

William James McGarry, SJ, President's Office records

Years in office: 1937-1939 
Material dated 1922-1944, (bulk 1937-1939)
Finding aid for McGarry office records

Look here for:

  • Celebration of Boston College’s 75th anniversary
  • College of Business and Administration
  • Evening School
  • Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
  • Intown College

William J. Murphy, SJ, President's Office records

Years in office: 1939-1945
Material dated 1929-1948, (bulk 1939-1945)
Finding aid for Murphy office records

Look here for:

  • Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP)
  • Boston College in WWII
  • College of Business Administration’s move to Chestnut Hill
  • Institute of Adult Education
  • Liggett Estate, later called O’Connell Hall
  • Solemn Votive Mass of the Holy Spirit, also known as the Red Mass

William L. Keleher, SJ, President’s Office records

Years in office: 1945-1951
Material dated 1937-1975, (bulk 1945-1951)
Finding aid for Keleher office records

Look here for:

  • Boston Heresy Case/Fr. Leonard Feeney Controversy
  • Capital fund campaign for the construction of a new building for the College of Business Administration, Fulton Hall.
  • Development of schools and departments
  • Expansion following World War II
    • Campus development
    • Veterans returning to the classroom
  • ​School of Nursing founding

Joseph R. N. Maxwell, SJ, President’s Office records

Years in office: 1951-1958 
Material dated 1930-1971, (bulk 1951-1958)
Finding aid for Maxwell office records

Look here for:

  • Alumni Stadium opening
  • Citizens Seminars
  • Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
  • Law School’s move from downtown Boston to the newly built St. Thomas More Hall
  • Numerous building projects including first residence halls
  • School of Education founding

Michael P. Walsh, SJ, President's Office records

Years in office: 1958-1968 
Material dated 1933-1982, (bulk 1958-1968)
Finding aid for Walsh office records

Look here for:

  • Admission of women
  • Centennial celebration, 1963
  • Curriculum changes
  • Increase in admissions, faculty, and programs
  • Numerous building and renovation projects

W. Seavey Joyce, SJ, President's Office records

Years in office: 1968-1972  
Material dated 1944-1974, (bulk 1968-1972)
Finding aid for Joyce office records

The records are not open, but in limited cases permission may be requested.

Office Records

Records of Boston College offices are primarily closed; however, you can request permission to access specific files. To find out if office records are open or learn how to request access, contact us with your questions.

Some examples include:

From a photograph album, Thea Bowman AHANA and Intercultural Center records

Faculty & Alumni Papers

 

Collected and created by faculty and alumni, these collections document aspects of life, work, teaching, and research at Boston College and beyond. “Papers” may also include photographic, audiovisual and digital materials.

Examples of these collections include:

Look here for:

  • Class plans, teaching materials, and course notebooks
  • Conference material, manuscripts, and research material
  • Diaries, correspondence, scrapbooks, and photographs
  • Interviews, newspaper clippings, and ephemera
  • Awards, student medals, and military documents

Available at Burns Library

 

Performers in King Lear, 1941, scrapbook, John Louis Bonn, SJ, papers

Illustration from Stylus

Illustration, The Stylus, 1 December 1885

Front page, The Heights, 1919

Title page, Sub Turri, 1914

O'Neill Library, cover of Boston College Magazine, Winter, 1985