Cantabrigiæ, Nov-Anglorum (Cambridge, New England): Typis Richardi et Samuelis Draper (Richard and Thomas Draper, Printers), 1766. This large broadside, measuring approximately 17” x 21.5”, announces the upcoming public defense of 127 academic theses by students who would be graduating from Harvard College in August of 1766. It has some minor edgewear and light soiling. There are storage folds with some splits reinforced on the reverse with what appears to be tissue and/or archival tape.
The 127 disputations announced within this broadside are grouped into eight categories: ethics, metaphysics, mathematics, physics, grammar, rhetoric, technology, and theology. Broadsides, similar to this one, were issued from Harvard’s first commencement in 1642 until 1810. The student defenses were based on the traditional European practice of public student disputations. These broadsides which had been constructed in conjunction with the faculty summarized the students’ theses had been designed to demonstrate mastery of their curricular foci.
(For more information about disputations, both in general and at Harvard, see Rudolph’s The American College & University: A History, Thelin’s A History of American Higher Education, and “Commencement Theses, Quaestiones, and Orders of Exercises” online at Harvard Library.). Item #009688
This broadside was issued at the height of New England's infuriation over the Stamp Act. At the time, both Francisco Bernardo (Sir Francis Bernard), the Governor of Massachusetts, and Thomae Hutchinsono (Thomas Hutchinson), the Lieutenant Governor, were reviled and under constant threat of attack by much of the populace. Edward Holyoke was Harvard's 9th President.
Scarce. At the time of listing there are no similar Harvard broadsides printed in any year for sale in the trade. The Rare Book Hub shows only three auction sales for similar broadsides since 1916. OCLC shows identifies a digital and microform copies, but similar physical examples are only held at two institutions besides Harvard, although some appear to be in the Library of Congress collection.