Campus & Community

This month in Harvard history

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  • April 17, 1893 – The first Blaschka glass flowers are formally presented to the Botanical Museum as a memorial to Dr. Charles Eliot Ware, Class of 1834, by his widow Elizabeth C. Ware and daughter Mary L. Ware. The two women had taken an early interest in the developing project and given it generous financial support. When completed in 1936, the Ware Collection of Glass Models of Plants will include more than 3,000 world-renowned specimens. 
  • April 26, 1942 – The Harvard Glee Club and the Radcliffe Choral Society join forces with the Boston Symphony Orchestra for a Pension Fund Concert featuring Bach’s Magnificat and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Serge Koussevitzky conducts. 
  • April 16, 1943 – Beneath cold, snow-spitting skies, the Harvard baseball team plays an exhibition game with the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. The Sox win, 21-0. 
  • April 14, 1944 – In honor of the 50th anniversary of the American movie industry, Warner Bros. presents the Harvard Film Service with a reprint of a 150-foot film of Mark Twain made in 1907 by Thomas Edison with a hand-cranked camera. The presentation occurs 50 years to the day after the first motion picture was shown for an admission charge on the second floor of a shoe shop near the current Macy’s department store in New York City. The footage constitutes the only motion picture ever made of Twain. 
  • April 1944 – A female mallard duck nests on the grounds of the Business School. Military trainees there soon discover her, promptly dub her Mabel, and start feeding her, mostly with cupcakes.”Mabel liked these from the first unwrapping,” reports the Harvard Alumni Bulletin. “Since the nest was within a cupcake’s throw of the nearest building, it is conceivable that she became not only overwatched but overnourished. Duck eggs hatch in a little less than four weeks, but this mother went right on past the whistlestop for a seven weeks’ stretch.

    “On D-Day (June 6) when the site was inspected, friends found that Mabel had carefully gathered up the litter of cupcake papers and covered her nest with them. With equal tidiness she had buried the eggs and departed. Any questions?”

    – From the Harvard Historical Calendar,
    a database compiled by Marvin Hightower