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Boston College alumni photographs

Collection BC-1999-056: Boston College alumni photographs


  • Creation: 1885 - 2012


This collection consists of photographs of alumni, both as individuals and at class and group events. There are also a small series of photographs of the Alumni Association. The collection includes photographs, proofs, contact sheets, negatives, slides, and cartes-de-visites.


Restrictions on access

Collection is open for research.

Restrictions on use

These materials are made available for use in research, teaching and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright Law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source. The original authors may retain copyright to the materials.

Historical note

When Boston College opened in 1863, it was designed to serve the children of Boston Catholics and Irish immigrants. After facing opposition from the anti-immigrant Nativist movement, the school’s charter provided that no student could be refused admission or denied any honors or degrees because of their religious opinions. The school’s classical curriculum was designed to teach boys ranging in age from around fourteen years to about twenty-one years old. Later on, Boston College split from Boston College High School, aligning the student age-range of the college with that of most university-level institutions.

In the twentieth century, Boston College’s student body slowly changed. Boston College began as a school designed to serve the local population, which shifted slowly during the first half of the twentieth century, and in the 1950s began to change significantly. In 1959, the school’s increasing selectivity and growing national reputation is evidenced from the year’s admissions statistics: a class of 1,350 freshman was enrolled from 4,300 applicants, and the number of students living on campus had risen to a record 670, 300 of whom were freshmen.

As a result of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s, the Boston College administration and student body pushed for a greater representation of minority students on campus. In the late 1960s, the University established the Black Studies Program. The Black Talent Program offered scholarship to African American students, including 47 new freshmen who entered in 1968.

Although women had been students in the Education, Nursing, and Social Work schools since the early twentieth century, in 1970 Boston College became fully co-educational. The diversity of the Boston College population continued to increase as the representation of women and minority students within the student body grew steadily throughout the latter half of the twentieth century. Continuing the trend towards national and international recognition begun in the 1950s, in the twenty-first century Boston College students hail from nearly all of the United States and over 50 countries.


“Boston College Fact & Figures,” Boston College, accessed June 4th, 2013,

Donovan, Charles F., S.J., Dunigan, David R., S.J., and FitzGerald, Paul A., S.J. History of Boston College: From the Beginnings to 1990. Chestnut Hill, MA: The University Press of Boston College, 1990.

O’Connor, Thomas H. Ascending the Heights: A Brief History of Boston College from Its Founding to 2008, Chestnut Hill: Linden Lane Press at Boston College, 2008.


3.75 Linear Feet (9 containers)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged in three series: I. Alumni Association; II. Alumni events and group photographs; and III. Individual alumni. The Alumni Association photographs and Individual alumni photographs are arranged alphabetically. Alumni events and group photographs are further divided into events organized by class year (for example "Class of 1965 twentieth reunion"), and events by event date.


The majority of the materials in this collection were transferred by the Alumni Association in several accessions. A small amount of material was given by the Archives of the Society of Jesus of New England in 2002.

Related Materials

Boston College Athletic Photographs, BC.1986.019, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Processing Information

These photographs have not been examined to verify identification or dates. Materials are minimally processed.

Boston College Alumni Photographs
Jessica Meyer
June 2013
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the John J. Burns Library Repository

John J. Burns Library
Boston College
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill MA 02467 United States