Campus & Community

This Month in Harvard History

2 min read
  • Feb. 24, 1789 — From the “Journal of Disorders” of Eliphalet Pearson, the Hancock Professor of Hebrew and Other Oriental Languages: “Mr. James [. . .] found Mackey was drunk in bed, and Dennie and Trapier were also highly intoxicated. Mr. James saw the room cleared.” 
  • Feb. 5, 1846 — Edward Everett, Class of 1811, is elected Harvard’s 16th President. The brief presidency of this former Massachusetts governor and U.S. diplomat is peppered with pranks as students throw chestnuts at a lecturing professor, overturn the stove in University Hall, attend a cockfight in a fellow student’s room, and entertain two women in a College room at midnight.Everett eventually reprimands his students at Morning Prayers: “When I was asked to come to this university, I supposed I was to be at the head of the largest and most famous institution of learning in America. I have been disappointed. I find myself the sub-master of an ill-disciplined school.”


  • Feb. 17, 1879 — With approval from President Charles Eliot, the newly formed committee on women’s education (chaired by Elizabeth Cary Agassiz) writes to several Harvard professors to solicit their participation in a plan to provide separate instruction for women.By Feb. 20, the group receives 53 replies, with 44 professors agreeing to take part. First to respond is Mathematics Assistant Professor William Elwood Byerly, Class of 1871, one of the strongest early supporters of the experiment.

    On Feb. 22, the still-unnamed group publishes its first circular on “Private Collegiate Instruction for Women.” The first steps leading to the creation of Radcliffe College have been completed.


  • Feb. 11, 1913 — Groundbreaking for Widener Library takes place.— From the Harvard Historical Calendar, a database compiled by Marvin Hightower