Campus & Community

This month in Harvard History

2 min read
  • Oct. 7, 1783 – With high ceremony, Harvard Medical School officially opens as the “Medical Institution of Harvard University.” Its first home is the ever-versatile Holden Chapel. 
  • Oct. 23, 1832 – Dane Hall, the Law School’s first new building, is formally dedicated in Harvard Yard and serves for more than half a century thereafter. 
  • October 1836 – In the North American Review, Henry Russell Cleveland, Class of 1827, aims a verbal wrecking ball at Harvard’s buildings:”We would cite these as very perfect specimens of no known order of architecture; vast brick barns, destitute alike of symmetry, ornament, and taste; and with all their plain and uncouth proportions, there is a sort of horrible regularity and squareness about them, which heightens their deformity. Four of these edifices [Massachusetts, Hollis, Holworthy, Stoughton] are guiltless of any attempt at elegance of architecture, and, making no pretensions, perhaps hardly deserve to be noticed.”

    University Hall fares no better in Cleveland’s eyes: “We doubt whether the world contains any other architectural abortion, to be compared with this.”


  • Oct. 6, 1866 – A deed of trust is signed, conveying a $150,000 endowment from London-based American merchant George Peabody to a local board of trustees for the creation of a “Museum and Professorship of American Archaeology and Ethnology in connection with Harvard University.” The museum (today’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology) becomes the nation’s first specifically devoted to anthropology. – From the Harvard Historical Calendar, a database compiled by Marvin Hightower