Campus & Community

This month in Harvard history

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Oct. 7, 1642 – By order of the Great and General Court, a reorganized Board of Overseers becomes a permanent part of College governance.

Oct. 14, 1763 – At the College library in Old Harvard Hall, Ephraim Briggs, Class of 1764, checks out “The Christian Warfare Against the Deuill World and Flesh” by John Downame, one of several hundred books that John Harvard had bequeathed to the College in 1638.

The book remains overdue on Jan. 24, 1764, when flames destroy Old Harvard Hall. Only 404 volumes survive, including Briggs’s overdue book, which thus becomes the only surviving text from John Harvard’s 1638 bequest. (In 1942, Downame’s book leaves Widener Library to become the first volume placed in the newly completed Houghton Library, where it remains today.)

October 1784 – Harvard awards an honorary Doctor of Laws degree to Maj. Gen. Marie-Joseph-Paul-Yves-Roch-Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette.

Oct. 30, 1852 – Citing “a precarious state of health,” Jared Sparks submits his letter of resignation from the presidency. He serves until the following February.

Oct. 9, 1936 – The “Harvard Alumni Bulletin” launches a column called “The Undergraduate View” (later known simply as “The Undergraduate”). James B. Hallett ’37 pens the first installment.

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