Campus & Community

This month in Harvard history

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  • Aug. 11, 1637 – John Harvard formally becomes a “Townsman” of Charlestown. He and his wife are given land on Gravel Lane. The town contains about 150 houses. 
  • August 1819 – After two years of preparatory study in Europe, George Ticknor takes up duties as Harvard’s first Smith Professor of the French and Spanish Languages. He is soon giving Harvard’s first systematic lectures in the historical literary criticism of those languages. In 1852, he helps found the Boston Public Library. 
  • Aug. 29, 1826 – Divinity Hall (the first Harvard building outside the Yard) is dedicated in a two-part ceremony starting in the meetinghouse of the First Parish in Cambridge and concluding in the Divinity Hall Chapel. William Ellery Channing is the guest speaker. 
  • Aug. 3, 1852 – Harvard and Yale rowing clubs meet in Center Harbor of New Hampshire’s Lake Winnipesaukee for the nation’s first intercollegiate rowing contest. Harvard’s Oneida wins by four lengths. Yale’s Shawmut and Undine come in second and third. Democratic presidential nominee Franklin Pierce is guest of honor.- From the Harvard Historical Calendar, a database compiled by Marvin Hightower