The Harvard Years

Ellsberg attended Harvard University on a full scholarship from 1948-1952 to receive a Bachelors in Economics. He was a member of the Signet Society and the Phi Beta Kappa fraternity. During his time there, he met a woman from Radcliffe College named Carol Cummings. They were married in 1950, but divorced 13 years later. After graduating Summa Cum Laude, Ellsberg was awarded the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship to Cambridge University in England, where he studied for a year before returning to Harvard to finish his M.A. After serving briefly in the Marine Corps, Ellsberg again returned to Harvard as a junior member of the Harvard Society of Fellows. From 1957-62, Ellsberg worked at both the RAND corporation as an analyst and on his PhD, before publishing his thesis on Risk and Ambiguity theories. The thesis is still widely referenced by economists and is known as “The Ellsberg Paradox”.  

Creative Writing & Editing

Throughout his years at Harvard, Ellsberg worked on both The Harvard Crimson, the student run daily newspaper that has been published since 1873 and The Harvard Advocate, the oldest college literary magazine in America. He was on the editorial board of The Crimson, and sometimes wrote reviews of books, movies or plays. For The Advocate, he wrote short essays and was the literary editor before eventually becoming the magazine’s president.