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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained
During the summer months preceding the Tercentenary celebrations and later during the festivities themselves, several thousand persons visited Cambridge, and were escorted by undergraduates through almost all the college buildings. Although these undergraduate guides gave interesting, well-informed lectures on the various Houses, the Law School buildings, and the old edifices in the Yard, the most popular tour was always the trip to see the glass flowers in the Peabody Museum. Both the young and the old from all parts of the country had heard of these famous imitation flowers, and usually expressed a desire to see them before anything else.
Not only are the glass flowers highly fascinating in themselves because of the extraordinary reality of their appearance, but they have an undeniable fascination because of the veiled mystery that surrounds the formula by which they have been made. People have enjoyed speculating as to whether the process will remain forever unknown, just as much as they have enjoyed seeing the flowers themselves. For this reason, perhaps, the name of Harvard has become inseparably linked with the glass flowers in the minds of many persons who live far away from Cambridge.
Now that Leopold Blaschka has finished his life's work because of failing eyesight, Harvard's famous collection will receive no more additions. Much as this is to be regretted, Harvard should be glad that it has the most famous collection of these flowers in the world, and should the secret process never be passed on to future generations, the value of our glass flowers will be greatly enhanced.
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