Illustration: Society of '87, 1887

Illustration: Society of '87, 1887
Courtesy MIT Museum

Student illustration from Technique yearbook (caption: "Oh well, we were freshmen then!"), 1887.

In 1887, there were no documented black students or faculty members at the Institute. Robert R. Taylor, MIT's first black graduate, would enter MIT a year later.

The earliest graphic evidence of a black presence at the Institute is found in illustrations of MIT service staff--cooks, waiters, janitorial staff, and the porter service attached to residence halls. Caricatures in student publications (yearbook, newspapers, and "humor" magazines) echo tropes also prevalent in the national media of the time.

Timeline: 1880s
Object: Document
Collection: Illustrations, Roots and Exponents 1875-1920, Students, Technique Yearbook