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Trinity College - Major Events Programs

Identifier: Trinity College - Major Events Programs


The Trinity College Events Programs collection contains programs and printed ephemera related to some of the major campus events, notably Commencements, Matriculations, Baccaulaureates, Honors Day ceremonies, Alumni Reunions, Convocations, and inauguration exercises for new college presidents.

Some paper programs in the collection include marginalia and indicate changes made to the program subsequent to its publication. Taking into consideration the handwritten evidence of such last-minute changes to the Commencement programs, researchers are advised not to regard the student names listed on the Commencement programs as authoritative lists of Trinity College graduates. Consultation with other or authoritative sources is required.


  • 1827-present

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to the public and must be used in the John M.K. Davis Reading Room of the Watkinson Library, Trinity College Library, Hartford, Connecticut. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws when using this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with the duplication policy of the Watkinson Library.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information (e.g. social security numbers) in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.

Biographical / Historical

Major events on Trinity College's campus evolved over its first two hundred years.

Prior to 1901, the formal Commencement ceremony (where degrees are awarded to graduating students in a semi-public way) was not an event typically hosted on the grounds of Trinity College. From the 1870s through the late 1890s, the Commencement ceremony, for example, took place frequently at Roberts' Opera House and once at the Foot Guard Armory (in 1892). For three years from 1898 to 1900, the event was held at Parsons Theatre (located at the "corner of Central Row and Prospect Street" in Hartford). In 1901, a vote of the Trinity Faculty stated that the "opinon of the the Commencement Exercises should be held hereafter, as far as possible, at the College" (see Events Programs, Series 2 -- Alumni Survey Form, regarding location of Commencement Exercises, March 11, 1901).

In 1832, the Commencement ceremony was postponed temporarily from August and rescheduled a month later due to an outbreak of cholera. That year the event occurred on September 27 (Trinity College Board of Trustees Minutes, Vol. 1, p. 27-29). The 1918 Commencement ceremony was quite different in that many students could not graduate with their proper class because they had entered the United States military as a result of World War I, while others received their degrees in absentia. In 2020 and 2021, Commencement activities were altered greatly due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, including through the use of remote digital technologies.

The Baccalaureate sermon (later Baccalaureate service) at Trinity College dates to approximately the year 1862.

Throughout much of the nineteenth century, the Alumni Dinner was held off-campus at the United States Hotel or at the Allyn House restaurant in downtown Hartford.


3 Cubic Feet (3 archival storage boxes) ; 1 box (16.25 in. x 13 in. x 10.5 in.) equals 1 cubic foot ("cubic foot" defined in SAA Dictionary)

Language of Materials



Immediate Source of Acquisition

Most of the pre-1900 Commencement programs in the 1827-1937 "Trinity College Commencement Programmes" bound volume were donated to the Trinity College Library by C.J. Hoadley (Trinity class 1851); the post-1900 programs were added probably by Trinity librarian W. Carlton beginning in 1904.

The 1832 'Order of Exercises for Commencement. Washington College, XXVII. SEPTEMBER, MDCCCXXXII.' was donated by the Olin Library, Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT). Some Commencement programs were donated to the College Archives by Robert M. Vogel (as part of accession #7980-10) in August 1979.

The 1889 Commencement Week Schedule and 1889 Commencement Invitation were donated as a gift in January 1975 by Morgan W. Taylor (Sunset Farm, West Hartford, CT) to the Vice President/Treasurer of Trinity (Clifton M. Bockstoce) and transferred to the Trinity College Archives on January 23, 1975.

The 1899 Class Day program (accession #7879-14) was acquired as a gift from Richard Scheuch via Constance Ware (Development Office) on September 21, 1978. The 1912 and 1913 Class Day programs were donated to the Trinity President (James F. English, Jr.) on July 20, 1988, by Eleanor D. Williams and previously resided in an "old family album" owned by Williams' uncle Maximilian Sporer (Trinity class of 1913).

Matriculation and Convocation programs for 2018-2019 were transferred to the College Archives by Kate McGlew in the President's Office.

Some of the earliest Sophomore Prize Declamations and Prize Version Declamations programs are marked "CJH" in pencil, which could indicate their origin as C.J. Hoadley (class of 1851).

Related Materials

Events programs not available in this collection may be located in other collections of the Trinity College Archives or in other places on the campus of Trinity College.

For example, the Trinity College Photograph Collection includes two printed programs (with marginalia) of the Air Force ROTC commissioning ceremonies (1963 and 1964) in Folder 293 of Box 7:

The Harold H. Rudd papers includes programs for Class Day Reception (1901), Commencement dinner (1904), Class Day Dance (1906), Class Day Program (1916), among others.


The boxes are stored with the 13 inch side facing forward on the shelves; thus, the total linear footage of the entire collection is 3 linear feet.

Letter-size folders are used.

Processing Information

This artificial collection of Trinity College publications was brought together in 2021-2022 by Eric Stoykovich, Trinity College Archivist, from a number of different boxes and places in the College Archives stacks. Duplicates were separated and discarded. Multiple copies of print materials with marginalia were retained for the most part.

Trinity College Event Programs
In Progress
Eric Stoykovich, College Archivist
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Trinity College Archives Repository

Watkinson Library
300 Summit St.
Hartford CT 06106 USA