Answered By: Deborah Kelley-Milburn
Last Updated: Jul 15, 2015     Views: 723

Evert Jansen Wendell, Class of 1882, left his entire eclectic collection to Harvard upon his death in 1917.  Much of the material was dispersed to a variety of Harvard repositories such as the Theatre Collection and the Fogg Art Museum; the remainder was stored in Widener.  Over the years, other items were added, and it became known as the Harvard Portrait Collection.  For many years administered by the Harvard College Library, the Division of European and American Art of the Harvard Art Museums is currently responsible for it.  There are now over 1200 items in the collection, many of which are displayed in buildings throughout campus. 

You can search for works that are part of the Portrait Collection online.  To request a copy of an image, click on the image you want and then click the "Order Image" link underneath it (second from left, icon of an envelope). If you have questions about the imaging process, contact the Digital Imaging & Visual Resources department at 617-495-2389 or

There are two old catalogs of the collection in print:

Harvard portraits; a catalogue of portrait paintings at Harvard university, compiled by Laura M. Huntsinger under the direction of Edward Waldo Forbes. 

Photocopies of a list of portraits added to the Harvard University Portrait Collection since the publication of the 1936 catalogue.

There is also a computer-generated list from 2001 on file at the Widener Reference Desk.

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