For the first time in its twenty-four years of existence the Associated Harvard Clubs will hold its annual meeting this year on June 16 and 17 in Boston and Cambridge, with at least 8000 graduates, double the number that have ever attended a meeting before, expected.
Formed in 1897 at Indianapolis by twenty-three graduates called together by Mr. G. B. Leighton '88 the association has grown year by year in both size and scope and has served especially to connect the University more closely with the West and Middle West. Meetings have been held heretofore at all the larger cities west of New England and including New York, Chicago, St. Louis, Philadelphia, and Detroit, but this year will mark the first attempt to bring the meeting back to the site of the University.
Attendance Averages About 500
During the last decades the average attendance at meetings has been approximately 400 or 500. In 1920, 650 attended the meeting at Washington while in 1912 some 1600 travelled to New York for the biggest reunion previous to this year.
For the most part, the annual meetings have been in the Middle West, for New England is closely associated with the University under any circumstances and it was felt to be a good thing to give New England some knowledge of other parts of the country. In 1898, the meeting was in St. Louis, and from then on as follows: 1899, Chicago; 1900, St. Paul; 1901, Milwaukee; 1902, Cincinnati; 1903, St. Louis; 1904, Indianapolis; 1905, Louisville; 1906, Chicago; 1907, Detroit; 1908, Philadelphia; 1909, Cincinnati; 1910, Cleveland; 1911, Minneapolis and St. Paul.
By coming to New York in 1912, the association took its greatest step in transferring its scope from the west and more especially the Middle West to the entire nation, and now the Associated Harvard Clubs has grown to comprise considerably more than a hundred clubs in the United States, in Canada, in Europe and in the Far East.
In 1913 the reunion was held at St. Louis and in the following year at Chicago. The meeting at San Francisco in 1915 was held in connection with the Pan-Pacific Exposition of that year and was considered as great a step in bringing the far West in touch with the movement as the New York meeting had been in the East. In 1916 the reunion was held at Pittsburgh with President Lowell and Major H. L. Higginson '82 leading the marchers.
After the war the meetings were revived at Buffalo in 1919 with Washington and Milwaukee as the hostess cities in 1920 and 1921.
The purpose of the Associated Harvard Clubs was originally to advocate a place on the Board of Overseers for a man from the West, but from this rather narrow outlook it has broadened into an organization which is interested in the efficient conduct of every graduate activity. Among other things the association promotes the maintenance of scholarships, liberal in number and stipend, in sections where the alumni alone are not strong enough to provide for them.
Will Start June 15
In late years it has been the custom to divide the time of the meeting into a day of work, with speeches and attention to graduate problems, and a day for sport. This scheme will be carried out again this year with slight modifications. The meeting will open officially on Thursday evening, June 15, at the Harvard Club of Boston, at which time the routine business will be disposed of.
On Friday, June 16 at ten o'clock in the forenoon, President Lowell will speak to the association in Sanders Theatre and, after luncheon in Memorial Hall. President E. M. Grossman '96, of the Associated Clubs will preside at another meeting in Sanders Theatre. At six o'clock, the members will meet at the Harvard Club and march to Symphony Hall, where the annual dinner will be held at seven. On Saturday, June 17, the graduates will have their field day at Nantasket Beach, and in the evening a dinner and the "show", put on by Pliny Jewell '99 in the Palm Garden, will be presented.
Plans for the meeting this year are being carried but under the general direction of the Boston Harvard Club committee with Mr. N. F. Ayer '00 as Chairman. Under the executive committee, which is headed by Mr. Ayer, there are twelve sub-committees in charge of the various activities of the meeting.
Directly under Mr. Ayer on the general executive committee are the following graduates who are chiefly responsible for the work in preparation for the meeting: James Lawrence '01, vice-chairman; J. W. Lund '90, registration and transportation; J. W. Hallowell '01, reception; Ralph Lovell '12, finance; Edward Wigglesworth '08, treasurer; J. A. Parker '91, Friday night banquet; R. B. Merriman '96, Harvard University; T. S. Ross '12, Saturday field day; Pliny Jewell '99, Saturday dinner; Robert Winsor '05, music; F. A. Harding '09, secretary; H. S. Ross '13, assistant secretary.
The Associated Harvard Clubs has in the past twenty-four years accomplished a great deal in coordinating the work of the graduates with the University authorities. As part of the program of the association, this year a postal vote for Overseers is in effect for the first time.
At the first meeting of the Associated Harvard Clubs at Indianapolis in 1897, George B. Leighton '88, chairman, said: "Formerly the plan was general that a Harvard man when he had crossed the Hudson passed from all further contact with the College, or material interest in her future. Those days and those ideas are past. Harvard looks to the youth of America for her pupils, and to the counsel of her graduates for aid and support".
E. M. Grossman '96, now president of the Associated Harvard Clubs, has made the following statement about the Associated Clubs as they are today:
"The Associated Harvard Clubs exists for three big purposes. First, it does spontaneously for Harvard what many other universities have been compelled laboriously to do for themselves, namely, it builds up and directs the enthusiasm, cohesiveness and loyalty of her graduates so that the University may always have at hand a well-organized machinery for the accomplishment of any desired purpose. Second, it organizes and stimulates local city and state Harvard clubs and correlates them and their activities. It administers scholarships in those states where Harvard men are not strong enough to maintain scholarships of their own.
A committee concerns itself with the relations between the secondary schools of the country and the University. A committee devotes itself to the collection of historical material for the College Library. Another cooperates with the Harvard Alumni Association Appointment Office to find the right job for the right Harvard man.
The third big purpose of the Associated Harvard Clubs is to provide an annual forum for the discussion of the problems affecting the University. It is the only forum Harvard graduates have"