Erica Chenoweth and Zoe Marks Named Pfoho Faculty Deans


Harvard SEAS Faculty Reflect on Outgoing Dean, Say Successor Should Be Top Scholar


South Korean President Yoon Talks Nuclear Threats From North Korea at Harvard IOP Forum


Harvard University Police Advisory Board Appoints Undergrad Rep After Yearlong Vacancy


After Meeting with Harvard Admin on ‘Swatting’ Attack, Black Student Leaders Say Demands Remain Unanswered

The Crimson Bookshelf

The Tercentenary of Harvard College by Jerome D. Greene. Harvard University Press, Cambridge.


TO those who have bound volumes of "Harper's Monthly" and "Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper" tucked away on the dusty shelves of the third floor, this volume of social history of the days when "Leslie's" was in vogue will contribute little that is now. But to those who are young enough to be ignorant of the marvels which the "Illustrated Newspaper" held, this book will be a fascinating tale of a most interesting period in our history.

While it is taken for granted that the reader knows something about the history of the period, one is not utterly lost who uses this book as his first text of Americana. For those who are acquainted with the troubles through which the people of the day passed the reminiscences will prove most interesting to follow. The account is not a mere Schlesingeresque list of facts as some may unfortunately fear, but it is a story of those years written in a most readable manner. For those who look to it as a reference for certain idiosyncrasies of the period it offers a wealth of information, which as far as can be discerned is most accurate, and extremely enjoyable reading.

Of course a book of this nature is difficult to keep from falling into one definite pitfall, and it may probably be said that this one makes the stumble which few have escaped. Anything written today on a subject of this sort and in the manner of this book is frequently undertaken either consciously or unconsciously, from a standpoint of superiority. In other words the book is occupied with the business of proving how far we have advanced over the ridiculous actions of our ancestors, and especially our sentimental ones. One cannot help but receive the feeling while reading the book, that Branch does have that feeling in mind. It is not one of intentional scoff, but merely that the narration of the story of this weepy, sentimental yet struggling generation shows them up for what they were, a fact which inevitably leads to a superior feeling on our part for having advanced to the stage in which we are today. It need hardly be said that this philosophy does not detract from the accuracy of the picture presented, or from the enjoyment which one receives from reading the book. Yet it is this impression which the author presents which tinges the work and somewhat clouds its real value.

But as a history of the times it is extremely valuable, and it may well be hoped that Mr. Branch will see fit to carry his researches in this field on to another period in which he can present us with the same delightful story of its social history.

Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.