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Conditions of First Half-Century of Harvard's Existence, Described in Five-volume Work.


Use of the English language in the College Yard was prohibited for almost half a century after Harvard was founded in 1636, according to Samuel Eliot Morison '08, Professor of History. Latin was used in all textbooks and lectures, but if one preferred, he could converse in Greek or Hebrew.

The above is one of many interesting facts about the early history of the University gleaned from stewards' books, old college laws and other records for the five-volume history of Harvard which Professor Morison is writing in connection with the Tercentenary celebration next fall. The second volume, which traces the history of the college through the 17th century, is soon to be issued by the Harvard University Press.

Another college law of 1655 unearthed by Professor Morison forbids the wearing of long hair by students. The statute reads: ". . . neither shall it bee lawful for any to weare long haire, Locks or foretopps, nor . . . to use Curling, Crisping, parting or powdering their haire." It seems that the adoption of flowing coiffures by Harvard scholars had demoralized the citizenry to such an extent that even preachers in the local pulpits were affecting the fad, "to the great greife and offense of many godly hearts in the country."

But in general the life of 17th century Harvardians was extremely simple, not to say severe. Only two regular meals were served each day, "dinner" at 11 o'clock and "supper" at 7.30 o'clock. The menu included bread, meat, and beer, with hasty pudding, or oatmeal porridge with eggs for variety. Those who wished an extra snack or two could have "bever" or a pot of beer and hunk of bread, served immediately after morning prayers and again at 5 o'clock in the afternoon.

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