Campus & Community

This month in Harvard history

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Feb. 13, 1847 – The Harvard Corporation votes to establish “an advanced school of instruction in theoretical and practical science and in the other usual branches of academic learning, to be called The Scientific School of the University at Cambridge.”

In June, when Abbott Lawrence gives $50,000 to endow the new school, the enterprise is promptly redubbed “the Lawrence Scientific School in the University at Cambridge.” About half the gift goes into the building of Lawrence Hall (1850, which burns down in 1970 on the site of today’s Science Center). The remainder supports professorships in engineering and geology.

February 1942 – President James Bryant Conant appoints three wartime committees:

A University Committee on War Speakers (head: Education Professor Henry W. Holmes), to help meet the national need for speakers expert in various war-related problems. This group provides speakers for Harvard and non-Harvard audiences at no charge beyond travel expenses. Faculty express their own opinions, not those of the University.

The Committee on Wartime Public Opinion (head: Nieman Fellow Robert Lasch of the “Omaha World-Herald”), consisting entirely of Nieman Fellows in Journalism, to advise Holmes on subjects of special interest to the nation’s varied regional populations.

A Committee on Pan-American Relations (head: Clarence H. Haring, the Robert Woods Bliss Professor of Latin American History and Economics), to suggest how Harvard can help develop solidarity in the Western Hemisphere.

All three groups work closely with the American Defense-Harvard Group.

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