Crimson History

A glimpse of Harvard's hallowed antiquity, as preserved in the pages in The Crimson

Harvard University has an exceptionally long and storied history. From its use as a barracks for Continental troops in the Revolutionary War to its use as a target for protesters during the Vietnam years--through coeducation, racial integration and randomization--the University has seen both strife and success.

Unfortunately, time blurs the memory and obscures the past. In our four short years as undergraduates, preoccupied with sections and social life, we tend to forget our place in the University's history. We know Harvard as it is, but none of us know Harvard as it used to be. None of us were here when Harvard's football team won its last national championship; none of us were here when Lamont Library went co-ed; none of us were here when students charged into University Hall.

But The Crimson was. And for the last 128 years, The Crimson has been there to cover these events--large and small, important and trivial, long-remembered and quickly forgotten. As the University changed, The Crimson faithfully recorded each day's news, creating a record that lives to this day. The crumbling, dusty volumes that line the shelves of 14 Plympton St. preserve a wealth of information on our shared past.

And so The Crimson offers "Crimson History" as a way for the students of today to read what the students of yesteryear wrote. Crimson History is a collection of news articles from past years, edited for space but otherwise untouched, reflecting on both the grave and the light-hearted events of the University's history.

Crimson History is a window into the past, a chance to explore "history's first draft" with the benefit of hindsight. And perhaps, browsing these articles, one might find that Harvard hasn't changed much after all.

100 Years ago

Services to Queen Victoria

Appleton Chapel was well filled on the occasion of the service in memory of Queen Victoria, Saturday afternoon. No elaborate decorations had been attempted, but the pulpit was draped with British and American flags, and with the purple of mourning...

So great have been the achievements under the last sixty years of British rule that the Victorian Age must be a mark in history. Yet it is not for this that we most honor the dead Queen, but from the witness of her life that "it is possible to live nobly, even in a palace." Because she was free from worldliness in the greatest of world-centres; because she held simple faith and love above all that the world could give, we forget the monarch we have lost, and remember only the woman and the friend.

--February 4, 1901

Special Notice

At the hair dressing rooms of La-Flamme, 21 Dunster St., all details for the customer's comfort are provided for. Only skillful workmen. Razors honed.

--January 30, 1901

50 Years ago

Lamont Could Be New Bomb Shelter

Several thousand people could be crowded into the bowels of Lamont in the event of an air raid, Keyes D. Metcalf, director of the University Library, told The Crimson last night. "It would be pretty stuffy," he admitted, "but it could be done."

The possibility of utilizing the libraries as bomb shelters was brought up Monday at a Cambridge council meeting when Councilman Edward A. Sullivan suggested negotiating with University officials for the use of Lamont and Widener. Metcalf said that he had not as yet been contacted.

Metcalf said that Lamont's air conditioning system would not supply a large group of people for any length of time.

He pointed out, however, that in case of an air raid, it would not be likely that many students would have time to get to the libraries.

--January 25, 1951

Porter Plan Not to Replace Maids

A student porter system for College dormitories is still under study by the University said Vice-President Reynolds yesterday, reaffirming his desire to try the system out this fall.

However, he emphasized that everything depended on what draft bill finally gets through Congress this spring and the number of students that are in the College next year...

[T]he system would not be designed to replace the maids now working for the University. Each year a certain proportion of the maids fail to return and the porter arrangement would "take up the slack" without displacing those maids who did return.

A student porter cleaning system has ben in operation on a trial basis at M.I.T. since last September, and has been favorably viewed by University officials.

--January 25, 1951

25 Years ago

Registration Today to Include Encoding of All Bursars Cards

Undergraduates registering in Memorial Hall today will queue up to have the stripe on their bursars cards validated with a magnetic code, R. Jerrold Gibson '51, director of the office of fiscal services, said last week.

The encoding is the first step in administration plans to test equipment designed to limit access to University facilities. Gibson said he hopes to experiment later this spring with shoe-box-like readers that scan the stripe to determine whether I.D. cards are valid and whether their holders are entitled to board privileges.

These experiments could eventually lead to introduction of an extensive, computerized system of bursars card readers in dining halls, libraries, and other University facilities, such as the University Health Services and the Indoor Athletic Building.

--February 9, 1976

Lines at Mem Hall Spur Reevaluation of I.D. Card Tests

Mutilated bursars cards and defective encoding equipment slowed students' progress through registration lines yesterday, and the director of the office of social services said late in the afternoon that he will reconsider plans to validate the magnetic stripe on every student's bursars card.

The director, R. Jerrold Gibson '51, had ordered the encoding to enable the administration this spring to test equipment designed to limit access to University facilities.

But through the day Gibson's staff in Memorial Hall was hampered by break-downs of encoding hardware and by torn and bent cards that became jammed in the machines.

--February 10, 1976