Through the Centuries, The Other '08s


• In 1708, John Leverett becomes Harvard’s seventh president and the first non-clergyman to assume the post.

• The 13-member Class of 1708 includes John Quincy, John Tufts, and Josiah Oakes.

• Quincy served as trustee and guardian of the Punkapoag Indians for 20 years and as an overseer of Harvard College. Quincy’s namesake and great-grandson John Quincy Adams became the sixth president of the United States.

• Tufts created the first book of religious songs of the 13 original colonies. A failed preacher, Tufts earned fame as a musician.

• Oakes, nephew of Harvard’s fourth president, worked as a minister in the Massachusetts town of Billingsgate before his congregation fired him amid outrage over his scandalous marriage and indeterminate parish.


• Members of the Class of 1808 participate in a 1807 student protest against the quality of College food. Seventeen students are eventually expelled for their participation in the revolt, which would become known as the “Rotten Cabbage Rebellion.”

•In 1808, the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra is founded by a group of young men interested in cigars, brandy, and serenading young women. Cambridge Street, the present-day home of CGIS and Cambridge Hospital, is constructed.

•The 34 members of the Class of 1808 include Samuel E. Smith and Samuel Bacon.

•Smith became the 10th governor of Maine and moved the state’s capital from Portsmouth to Augusta. He served during a contentious period marked by tensions between the United States and Canada over the location of Maine’s northern border.

•Bacon was an ordained minister who was appointed by the U.S. government and the American Colonization Society to colonize Africa with freeborn blacks from the United States. His two companions died in Sierra Leone, and Bacon moved to Kent where his health steadily declined.


• On Oct. 1, 1908, Harvard Business School opens its doors with fewer than 100 students and a faculty of 15.

•In April 1908, Harvard makes public a report in which University President Charles W. Eliot denounced football, calling “the exaggeration of athletic sports in schools and colleges” a “crying evil.”

•A College report finds that most of the Class of 1908 spent $500 to $1,000 per year to attend Harvard. A 1909 New York Times article reports that “the popular view of expensive living at the Cambridge institution was erroneous.” The survey also shows that every 1908 graduate either had “a lucrative position or is pursuing advanced study in college.”

•The Class of 1908 includes George R. Minot and Sylvanus Griswold Morley.

•Twenty-six years after his graduation, Minot won the Nobel Prize for his discovery of a liver treatment for anemia.

•Morley traveled to Central America to conduct archaeology fieldwork in Mayan ruins. Later in life, he directed the reconstruction of Chichén Itzá.