In 1692, there was a tide in the affairs of the Mathers. Increase Mather, the family patriarch, had just reluctantly accepted his appointment as Harvard’s seventh president. His son, Cotton, was a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed young minister who fully immersed himself in all things Protestant. Neither had much to do with the other’s business, until something wicked came their way.
John the Orange Man began selling fruit in Harvard Square in 1858, about a decade after he immigrated to Cambridge to escape the Irish potato famine. He worked in the Square until his death following an operation in 1906, and during that period, saw the erection of 26 university buildings, and made the acquaintance of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and Theodore Roosevelt. In 1891, the Boston Daily Globe dubbed him “the most popular man at Harvard.”
SCENE: THE LIBRARY. (Curious Freshman removes a catalogue-card from its proper place). NOAH. Look here, sir! Don't you know it's against the rule to take those cards from the drawer? CURIOUS FRESH. But I suppose it's no matter, as I did it insensibly. NOAH (excited). Yes, but it is! You will incense Sibley, if you are not careful!
1637: John Harvard moves from England to Massachusetts Bay Colony. He dies later that year, leaving money to New College, which is later renamed for its greatest benefactor. Harvard develops plans to build a brewery on its campus. Legend has it that Harvard learned the art of beer brewing from family friend William Shakespeare. One could say that the College’s on-campus brewery used recipes directly from the “First Folio.”
A young Holyoke of the Class of 1746 chronicled the happenings at Harvard College before his admission: “1742, June 2. Foundation of the Chapel Laid Some part of ye begin’g of this month. [sic]” Thus he recorded the beginning of a symbolic change in the Harvard Yard: the construction of its first chapel. Despite the many religious commitments of Harvard men, who read the Scriptures multiple times in a day and practiced the teachings of the Bible, a century went by until Holden was built.
It was easy to get in then. No personal essays required, just a series of entrance examinations. 73 percent of applicants were admitted. Admittedly, there are lots of reasons to discount these numbers. The exams required special preparation available only at a few elite prep schools. There was no Common App, no female students, and only 937 people applied.
Though Final Clubs, fraternities, and sororities are long-standing staples of the Harvard social scene, their presence is anything but static. Last year, sorority Alpha Phi set down its roots in Cambridge, while fraternity Kappa Sigma reinstated its Harvard chapter last week after an eighty-year hiatus. FM digs into the archives to create a chronology of Harvard’s dynamic Greek life.
Please sit down. We’re passing out booklets now. You should have a question sheet and two booklets. Raise your hand if you—sorry about that James, there you go. You’ll have 53 minutes; there are four sections. We’ve included a suggested time for each section. I’ll also keep track of how much time is left on the board. And...begin.
Today, the Kuumba Singers of Harvard College is a choir of more than 100 members. Its mission “to express the creativity and spirituality of black people through song” has endured over the years, though the group has experienced many changes and faced various challenges since its founding in 1970. “No one person can understand Kuumba completely,” the choir’s vice president Matthew S. Williams ’14 says. “It’s still a mystery to me how this group has been able to last and maintain so much of what makes it itself for so long.”