Campus & Community

This month in Harvard history

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Jan. 9, 1950 – Freshman Dean Delmar Leighton issues the following notice to his charges: “All occupants of non-fireproof dormitories living above the ground are expected to report at the Indoor Athletic Building (now the Malkin Athletic Center) for practice on the fire ropes. Instruction will be given by the University Safety Patrol. [. . .]” (Quotation: “Harvard Alumni Bulletin,” Jan. 28, 1950)

While some students simply go through drills, a few make practice descents from the dormitory heights.

January 1954 – President Nathan Marsh Pusey announces that the Harvard Corporation has approved $300,000 to update and improve facilities at Observatory Hill (Cambridge) and at the Agassiz Observatory (Harvard, Mass.).

In Cambridge, the plan will bring construction of a new building (with 26 offices, a large classroom, and a seminar room) alongside the old Building A on Observatory Hill. Most of the remaining frame buildings will be demolished. All observing equipment at the Agassiz Observatory will be surveyed with an eye to retirement or thorough reconditioning.

Astrophysics Professor Donald H. Menzel, the Harvard College Observatory’s Acting Directory since Harlow Shapley’s 1952 retirement, is also named full-fledged Observatory Director.

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