It turns out that the Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory can't tether a cow in the Yard after all.
The truth came out Wednesday when Io, a one-and-a-half-year-old Holstein, was offered by a group of Mount Holyoke students to Robert S. Fitzgerald '33, who was recently appointed to the Boylston chair.
An article in Time had given Fitzgerald's benefactors the impression that the professor could tether a cow in the Yard. But in a telegram to the students, Fitzgerald explained it was not so.
Samuel Eliot Morison '08, Jonathan Trumball Professor of American History Emeritus, and author of a history of Harvard College, explained Thursday that the legend of the cow privilege derived from a century-old painting of such a creature grazing near Hollis Hall. The Boylston Professor, who was living there at the time, encouraged the rumor that the cow was his special privilege and it became legend.
Fitzgerald consoled the rejected Io yesterday with a special poem in her honor:
"A Jug of wine, a loaf of bread, a cow / Beside me grazing in the Harvard Yard / Oh would that Harvard Yard were paradise enow!"
What more could a girl ask?