Harvard University lost a distinguished member of its Faculty and an administrator of many years loyal service when Robert DeCourcy Ward '89, professor of Climatology, died suddenly yesterday morning at his home, 37 Fayerweather Street, Cambridge. Funeral services will be held tomorrow at 11 o'clock from Christ Church in Cambridge, and at that time all classes under the Faculty of Arts and Sciences will be suspended.
Professor Ward had a worldwide reputation as a climatologist and teacher of meteorology, and was well known for his work on immigration. He served for 31 years on the Administrative Board, and from 1925 to 1931 was Chairman of the Board of Freshman Advisers.
Leader in His Field
Born in Boston in 1867, he took an A.B. and A.M. degree at Harvard, and after serving in various grades as instructor in meteorology, became a full professor in 1910. He was editor of the American Meteorological Journal from 1892 to 1896, and a contributing editor to the Geographical Review. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the Royal Meteorological Society of London, he served, in 1917 and in 1920-21 respectively, as president of the Association of American Geographers and of the American Meteorological Society. In 1926 he was gold medalist of the Harvard Travelers Club.
His work of 23 years for the Immigration Restriction League, which he aided in founding, culminated in 1917 with the passing of the Immigration Act of February 5, containing the illiteracy test clause.
Among his most important writings are, "Climate Considered Especially in Relation to Man," and the "Climates of the United States."
Professor Ward formed a connecting link between old and new administrations, as an incorrigibly regular attendant at Administrative Board meetings for 31 years. In 1925 he was made chairman of a newly created Board of Freshman Advisers, which was superseded this year by an altered system under a Freshman dean.
In this position Professor Ward directed the advisory efforts of 50 Faculty members, each responsible for 20 Freshmen. He read letters from the parents of 1000 incoming men, marking the passages which would be of use to their advisers. Of the advisers he wrote, "they are doing a service which, although usually unappreciated, is nevertheless of the fundamental and lasting importance to Harvard."
In the spring of 1929 Professor Ward made a voyage around the world, stopping in many ports, notably Shanghai, Hongkong, and Manila for Scientific work.
Professor Ward was a member of the Shaler Memorial Expedition to Brazil in 1908