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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained
The 306th anniversary of the birth of John Harvard will be celebrated under the auspices of the Memorial Society this morning at 8.30 o'clock. A short service open to all members of the University will be held at the John Harvard statue, which will be wreathed for the occasion. A number of the Glee Club members have arranged to be present to lead in the singing of "Fair Harvard." After these exercises the meeting will adjourn to Appleton Chapel, where Bishop Hughes will conduct a special morning service in honor of the occasion, and all will take part in the singing of an old Harvard hymn.
November 26 Official Birthday.
Until several years ago, the celebration of John Harvard's birth was not on a fixed date. No record of the date has ever been discovered by historians, but the following entry is found in the baptismal files of St. Saviour's Church, Southwark: "1607, November 29, John Harvye, S. of Robt. a Butcher." According to the custom of the church at this time, it has been assumed that he was not baptized on the day of his birth but three days later. Accordingly, at the time of the 300th anniversary of the birth of John Harvard, the date for the celebration was set for November 26. In accordance with this official celebration, this day of the year has been fixed as the rightful birthday of John Harvard.
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