Professors Trade Pads

Harvard faculty played a game of musical houses this summer, when Harvard Law School (HLS) Dean Elena Kagan last month snagged the $1.4 million Victorian home from one of Harvard’s famous faculty couples: the Bhabhas.

Rothenberg Professor of English and American Literature and Language Homi K. Bhabha and his wife, Jacqueline Bhabha, an HLS visiting scholar and an executive director in public policy at the Kennedy School of Government (KSG), put their condo, which occupies the first and part of the second floor of a three-story house on Forest St. in Cambridge, on the market earlier this year.

Kagan said she didn’t realize it was the “Bhabha house” when she “wandered into the house off the street” during an open house one Sunday afternoon this summer. She said that only upon entering the house did she realize that she had been there before—at a dinner party hosted by her pals, the Bhabhas.

And Kagan said she immediately wanted the place, with its “large first floor and smaller living space upstairs,” so she could host her own social events.


“I’ve thought for a long time that I should move into a place where I can throw some good parties,” said Kagan, who in the past has had to make do with impromptu meetings at Henrietta’s Table at the Charles Hotel.

Kagan, who has been searching for a new home for about six months, said she planned to throw her first fete in her new digs as soon as the contractors finished the renovations on two bathrooms, and re-sanded the floors and painted the walls.


She said both Bhabhas would be welcome, as well as select reporters for The Crimson.

The Bhabhas, who were traveling in Australia during the open house, said they too are moving to a new home in Cambridge with Harvard connections.

The Bhabhas’ new home was owned at one time by the late Harvard Professor of the History of Art and Architecture John Sherman.

Jacqueline Bhabha said she and her husband are moving just a few minutes away to the larger house in West Cambridge on Clement Circle, right off Sparks Street, to better accommodate visits from her Indian mother-in-law.

The Bhabhas returned home after the summer to find themselves happily homeless, and are now renting an apartment near the Quad in the interim before their next move.

Kagan is eager to sell her old home, a three-bedroom house on Huron Ave.

Kagan, who plans to move into the old Bhabha house in two weeks, said that she is looking for Harvard faculty to purchase her 1,800 sq. ft.

But Kagan added that she’d also “take any buyer who meets or exceeds the asking price,” which falls around $800,000.

As for whether Harvard faculty play musical houses, Jacqueline Bhabha said that she wasn’t too surprised. “I think it does happen quite a lot...Harvard employees make up a large portion of the population in this town,” she said.

—Staff writer Lauren A.E. Schuker can be reached at