The Harvard Advocate

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The Harvard Advocate
Headquarters of The Harvard Advocate
Headquarters of The Harvard Advocate at 21 South Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
CategoriesArt, culture, fiction, humor
  • Charles S. Gage
  • William G. Peckham
FoundedMay 11, 1866; 158 years ago (1866-05-11)[1]
CountryUnited States

The Harvard Advocate, the art and literary magazine of Harvard College, is the oldest continuously published college art and literary magazine in the United States. The magazine (published then in newspaper format) was founded by Charles S. Gage and William G. Peckham in 1866 and, except for a hiatus during the last years of World War II, has published continuously since then. In 1916, The New York Times published a commemoration of the Advocate's fiftieth anniversary.[2] Fifty years after that, Donald Hall wrote in The New York Times Book Review: "In the world of the college—where every generation is born, grows old and dies in four years—it is rare for an institution to survive a decade, much less a century. Yet the Harvard Advocate, the venerable undergraduate literary magazine, celebrated its centennial this month."[3] Its current offices are a two-story wood-frame house at 21 South Street, near Harvard Square and the university campus.

Today, the Harvard Advocate publishes quarterly. Its mission is to "publish the best art, fiction, poetry and prose the Harvard undergraduate community has to offer."[4] It also accepts submissions from professional writers and artists beyond the Harvard community.


Founding and early years[edit]

When the Advocate was founded, it adopted the mottos Dulce est Periculum (Danger Is Sweet) and Veritas Nihil Veretur (Truth Fears Nothing), which had been used by an earlier Harvard newspaper, the Collegian. The magazine originally avoided controversial topics, lest university authorities shut it down; by the time the editors were making the then-radical demand for coeducation at Harvard, the magazine had attracted the support of James Russell Lowell and Oliver Wendell Holmes, and its life was less precarious.

The founding in 1873 of The Harvard Crimson newspaper (originally the Magenta) and in 1876 of the Harvard Lampoon humor magazine led the Advocate by the 1880s to devote itself to essays, fiction, and poetry.

Over the years, the undergraduate editors of and contributors to the Advocate have attained fame, literary and otherwise. Theodore Roosevelt edited the magazine in 1880. Edwin Arlington Robinson, Wallace Stevens, E. E. Cummings, and T. S. Eliot all published their undergraduate poetry in the Advocate. Before World War II, undergraduates who worked on the Advocate included Malcolm Cowley, James Agee, Robert Fitzgerald, Leonard Bernstein, James Laughlin (who got into trouble with local police for publishing a racy story by Henry Miller) and Norman Mailer.

After World War II[edit]

The Advocate suspended publication during World War II, and resumed publication with its April 1947 issue. Editors after the war included Daniel Ellsberg. The postwar Advocate published undergraduate and/or graduate work by Richard Wilbur, Robert Bly, John Ashbery, Donald Hall, Frank O'Hara, John Hawkes, Harold Brodkey, Kenneth Koch, and Jonathan Kozol, as well as illustrations by Edward Gorey. Contributors from outside Harvard during this time included Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, and Archibald MacLeish.

Other contributors after World War II included Adrienne Rich (the first woman to publish regularly in the magazine), Howard Nemerov, Marianne Moore, Robert Lowell, Tom Wolfe, James Atlas, and Sallie Bingham.

Some recent alumni of note include novelists Louis Begley, Peter Gadol, Lev Grossman, Benjamin Kunkel, and Francine Prose, poets Carl Phillips and Frederick Seidel, biographer and critic Jean Strouse, journalists Elif Batuman and Timothy Noah, literary scholar Peter Brooks, editors Jonathan Galassi and Susan Morrison, businessmen Steve Ballmer and Thomas A. Stewart, filmmaker Terrence Malick, and writer and video game developer Austin Grossman.

First Flowering: The Best of the Harvard Advocate, 1866–1976, an anthology of selections from the magazine edited by Richard Smoley, was published by Addison-Wesley in 1977. In 1986, The Harvard Advocate Anniversary Anthology was published in conjunction with the 120th year of the magazine's publication and Harvard's 350th anniversary. The anthology reproduced actual pages and artwork published in the magazine, introducing each literary era with a brief historical overview.

21st century[edit]

The Advocate received a degree of national press attention after a controversial 2000 interview with writer Dave Eggers.[5][6][7]

In 2016, the Advocate celebrated its sesquicentennial. The celebrations included the launching of a new website, a campaign to raise $150,000 for the magazine, and a party in New York City.[8][9]

As of 2023, the Advocate publishes two print issues annually, and has increased its digital presence with increased engagement through social media and a renewed website, replacing the sesquicentennial website.

Notable past members[edit]

Academics and criticism[edit]

Art, architecture, and engineering[edit]

Business and philanthropy[edit]

Editing and translation[edit]


Film, theater, television, and entertainment[edit]

Journalism and non-fiction writing[edit]

Law and politics[edit]


Science, technology, medicine, and mathematics[edit]

Past presidents[10][edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Harvard Advocate - Google Books". Google Books. 1911. Retrieved 2016-07-01.
  2. ^ "Harvard Advocate Has Its Fiftieth Anniversary; Celebration This Week Will Be Attended by One of the Founders and Many Former Editors; Theodore Roosevelt on the Board". The New York Times. May 7, 1916. Retrieved May 14, 2014.
  3. ^ Hall, Donald (May 16, 1966). "Speaking of Books:The Harvard Advocate". The New York Times Book Review. Retrieved May 14, 2014.
  4. ^ "The Harvard Advocate".
  5. ^ Gladwell, Malcolm (December 10, 2013). "Being Nice Isn't Really So Awful" – via
  6. ^ Garner, Dwight (August 15, 2012). "A Critic's Case for Critics Who Are Actually Critical". The New York Times.
  7. ^ Kearney, Ryan (December 11, 2013). "Malcolm Gladwell Thinks We Are All Laughing to Our Deaths". The New Republic.
  8. ^ "Harvard Advocate Launches Website, Seeks $150K in Fund Drive | News | The Harvard Crimson".
  9. ^ "An insider's look at "The Harvard Advocate" at its sesquicentennial | Harvard Magazine".
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs bt bu bv bw bx by bz ca cb cc cd ce cf cg ch ci cj ck cl cm cn co cp cq cr cs ct cu cv cw cx cy cz da db dc dd de df dg dh di dj dk dl dm dn do dp dq Harvard Advocate Archives, 21 South Street, Cambridge MA. Includes copies of all past issues, with mastheads listing memberships.
  11. ^ Hall, Donald, ed. (1950). Harvard Advocate Anthology. New York: Twayne Publishers, Inc. p. 87.
  12. ^ (Hall 1950, p. 169)
  13. ^ (Hall 1950, p. 44)
  14. ^ a b (Hall 1950, p. 104)
  15. ^ (Hall 1950, p. 39)
  16. ^ (Hall 1950, p. 57)
  17. ^ (Hall 1950, p. 50)
  18. ^ (Hall 1950, p. 68)
  19. ^ (Hall 1950, p. 77)
  20. ^ (Hall 1950, p. 115)
  21. ^ (Hall 1950, p. 177)
  22. ^ (Hall 1950, p. 272)
  23. ^ (Hall 1950, p. 59)
  24. ^ (Hall 1950, p. 84)
  25. ^ (Hall 1950, p. 98)
  26. ^ (Hall 1950, p. 113)
  27. ^ (Hall 1950, p. 135)
  28. ^ (Hall 1950, p. 75)
  29. ^ (Hall 1950, p. 147)
  30. ^ (Hall 1950, p. 53)
  31. ^ (Hall 1950, p. 60)
  32. ^ (Hall 1950, p. 93)
  33. ^ (Hall 1950, p. 156)
  34. ^ Stephanie Burt. "Advice from the Lights" (PDF). Retrieved 28 March 2023.

External links[edit]