Harvard can claim the largest university library in the nation, multiple companies around the world, much of Boston and Allston, and lots of money. But the University also owns some bizarre things thanks to past bequests by donors. FM researched some of the most shocking and peculiar donations made in the history of the University to learn more about their origins and how they came under Harvard’s possession.
We’re about to wrap up a year of recovering from Miley Cyrus, celebrating celebrity babies, and grappling with government hysteria. In honor of our namesake, we compiled a list of the fifteen minutes—some historically significant, others not much more than a filler story that ended up dominating national news—that defined 2013, to read and remember before we ring in the new year.
In March 2004, Harvard’s Calendar Reform Committee released a report recommending that the Faculty of Arts and Sciences move exams to before winter break. Gone would be the days of returning to campus for final exams barely a day after the ball dropped for the new year. Instead, FAS would allow for 62 days of classes each semester, five to eight days of reading period, and eight days for exams. It was suggested the longer winter break this schedule opened up could potentially house its own mini-term.
Douglas H. Shafner, currently a security officer at Harvard, witnessed the events of November 22, 1963 from a close vantage point: the master control room of Walter Cronkite’s CBS.
The Freshmen Union was formerly located in what is now known as the Barker Center.
At the turn of the 20th century, the Harvard Union was built to provide a club for social purposes open to all Harvard University students; the space was meant to unify a social scene that seemed to be primarily run solely by final clubs and other “elite” institutions.
In 1964, a truck used to roll through Harvard Yard selling sandwiches. One day, when the truck arrived, a freshman asked the vendor, “But where can I get a beer?” Without hesitation, the driver gave the student the name and number of a “business.” Within 15 minutes, another delivery truck rolled into the Yard with a case of beer, delivering it to his freshman dorm.
The story of The Hound & Horn, begun when two underclassmen broke off from the ruthless social and literary hierarchy of Harvard undergraduate publications and pursued their own course, ultimately faded away into the history of the many short-lived literary publications
Final clubs for Harvard men date back to 1791, but final clubs for women at Harvard didn’t emerge until a full 200 years later, in 1991. Though less institutionalized and established than their male counterparts, female final clubs have significantly impacted Harvard’s social scene in their two decades of existence
Many millenials have had the inauspicious pleasure of watching Miley Cyrus’ VMA performance. Well, performance is a strong word. For six minutes, hell was recreated on stage with all the attendant teddy bears and rasping attempts at singing. But the piece of the Miley experience that had people up in arms screaming over social media was her twerking, a word which largely hadn’t entered our vocabulary until the ex-Disney starlet graphically displayed its meaning on national television.
Besides Natural Light, boxed wine, and stein club ales, Harvard students in the 1950s had the option of drinking Harvard Brewing Co. beers.
It is a natural, perhaps inevitable reaction, when confronted with news of a star, to try to bask in his or her reflected light.