Campus & Community

This month in Harvard history

2 min read

April 4, 1907 – Nathan Marsh Pusey, Harvard’s future 24th President, is born in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

April 15, 1912 – The luxury liner “Titanic” sinks in the North Atlantic. Buildings at Harvard later honor some of those lost at sea: Widener Library (completed 1914; dedicated and opened 1915), given by Eleanor Widener in memory of her son, rare-book collector Harry Elkins Widener, Class of 1907; and Straus Hall (1926), given in memory of Isidor and Ida Blun Straus by their three Harvard sons (Isidor owned New York’s R. H. Macy & Co., the famous department store).

April 9, 1936 – In Sanders Theatre, pianist Artur Schnabel plays Mozart’s 23rd Piano Concerto (K. 488) with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Serge Koussevitzky.

April 1937 – At various College Entrance Examination Board Centers nationwide, more than 2,000 candidates take the one-day Scholastic Aptitude Test and Achievement Tests developed in 1936 by the scholarship committees of Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. Over half the candidates are applying to Harvard and Yale.

“The examination was so well received by many colleges that it began to be used for admission of those who were not applying for scholarships,” President James Bryant Conant writes in his autobiography (“My Several Lives”). “By April 1938 twenty-eight institutions were involved; somewhat more than four thousand candidates wrote the examinations, of whom twelve hundred were not candidates for financial awards.”

Eventually, Conant’s interest in such examinations prompts him to play a role in establishing the Educational Testing Service (ETS) in academic year 1946-47.

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