Campus & Community

This month in Harvard history

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  • May 1, 1775 – By order of the Committee of Safety, the College closes early. The Provincial Congress soon commandeers Harvard’s buildings and orders the library and scientific instruments to Andover for safekeeping. It takes several months for the College to find a suitable place (Concord) to reconvene. Four Harvard buildings soon quarter local troops: Massachusetts and Hollis Halls (640 each), Stoughton College (240; dismantled in 1781 and replaced in 1805 by the current hall of the same name), and Holden Chapel (160). Half a ton of lead from the Harvard Hall roof is also recycled into bullets that help drive the British from Boston.
  • May 29, 1789 – From the “Journal of Disorders” of Eliphalet Pearson, the Hancock Professor of Hebrew and Other Oriental Languages: “In the evening Russell, Adams I, Blake first and second, Sparhawk, and Ellery, went to Bradish’s [tavern], and there supped with one Green, an Englishman. The expense was mutual. About 3 o’clock next morning the company left the house, and on their way to College grossly insulted the President by shouts and yells, challenges, curses, threats of laying siege to, undermining, and burning his house, by throwing clubs and stones. In College yard Mr. Abbot found Green and Sparhawk conducting Russell, naked, to his chamber.”- From the Harvard Historical Calendar, a database compiled by Marvin Hightower