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Last Updated: Jun 16, 2020     Views: 20

Founding and early history of HBS

When was HBS founded?


The Harvard Corporation established the Graduate School of Business Administration on March 30, 1908. The first Dean, Harvard economist Edwin F. Gay, helped establish the core curriculum, including courses in accounting, commercial law, transportation (with an emphasis on railroad management), and industrial organization, and later electives in business policy, business history, and business ethics. Eighty students began the program in the autumn of 1908, taking their courses in classrooms on the Harvard campus in Cambridge. HBS’s new campus, across the Charles River from Cambridge, was dedicated on June 4, 1927. For more information about the development of the campus, see Buildings and Campus. You can learn more about the early years of HBS in Jeffrey Cruikshank’s book A Delicate Experiment: The Harvard Business School, 1908-1945.

School publications contain valuable information on the early history of the School. Many of these early publications can be searched online: the Deans Reports; the HBS Alumni BulletinHBS Alumni Bulletin 1925-1941, HBS Alumni Bulletin 1941-1950, and HBS Alumni Bulletin 1951-1979; and the HBS Course Catalogs, 1908-1973.

In addition, a number of historical photographs are available through HOLLIS Images; search for “HBS Archives” (in quotation marks) and choose “Baker Business” from the drop-down list of repositories. Please note that some full size images are only available to the Harvard community.

Please Ask Us! or reach out to the Baker Special Collections Reference Staff directly at if you have questions about the early history of the school or any additional questions about our collections or services.