In accepting a portrait of John Reed to hang in one of her dormitories, Harvard has shown again, as she has so often in the past, that fine tolerance which is the hallmark of intellectual distinction. John Reed was one of her brilliant sons. He died for his faith in the Bolshevik revolution. It matters not that his political creed was in violent opposition to anything of the kind entertained by most Harvard men then or now. Harvard is not concerned with his opinions, but with the spirit of a man who gave everything he had in support of what he believed. Not as a Communist, but as an idealist does she honor his memory.
This, we submit, is just as it should be. Certainly, it is not the least important function of a university to preserve for itself and its students an attitude of mind that is above partisanship and eager to acclaim human worth wherever found. American can be proud that its oldest university is one that never sidesteps this duty.
Of course there would be someone like Representative Hamilton Fish--himself a Harvard man--to find fault with her recognition of a Bolshevik son. Mr. Fish insists that the committee which presented the portrait "was intellectuals and others who are trying to undermine and destroy our present form of government." How, exactly, does such a charge, if true, concern Harvard's acceptance? Her interest is in John Reed, not the committee, and this would be true if the latter had been composed of bond salesmen. We would suggest to Mr. Fish that the only legitimate point of attack in the whole affair is the portrait itself. Is it good enough? As a classmate of the original, his opinion of it should be worth something. --New York Herald-Tribune.