Campus & Community

This month in Harvard history

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  • Oct. 19, 1869 – At the meetinghouse of First Church, Unitarian, Charles William Eliot is formally installed as Harvard’s 21st President. From the outset, Eliot’s 105-minute address delineates his broad educational purposes: “The endless controversies whether language, philosophy, mathematics, or science supplies the best mental training, whether general education should be chiefly literary or chiefly scientific, have no practical lesson for us to-day. This University recognizes no real antagonism between literature and science, and consents to no such narrow alternatives as mathematics or classics, science or metaphysics. We would have them all, and at their best.”
  • Oct. 26, 1875 – A bomb goes off in the Yard, rattling buildings for blocks around. In his journal, College Librarian John L. Sibley notes that “it ‘shook his dwelling house’ (northwest of Cambridge Common) and blew out the windows in University Hall.” (Quotations: Harvard Magazine, May-June 1999)
  • Oct. 21, 1949 – Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru; his sister Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, Indian Ambassador to the U.S.; and his daughter Indira Gandhi visit President James Bryant Conant and his wife Grace at 17 Quincy Street (then the President’s House; now Loeb House)

– From the Harvard Historical Calendar, a database compiled by

Marvin Hightower