Campus & Community

This month in Harvard history

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May 8, 1944 – Harvard receives a copy of the Gutenberg Bible (Mainz, Germany, ca. 1455), one of only 10 complete or near-complete copies known to be in the United States. President James Bryant Conant accepts the gift in the Widener Memorial Room from Philadelphian George D. Widener, brother of Library namesake Harry Elkins Widener ’07. On hand are members of the Harvard Corporation, the Board of Overseers, the Library Visiting Committee, and the Library Council.

In excellent condition, the copy consists of two volumes (11 by 15 in.) of 642 pages each and rests in the Memorial Room with Harry Widener’s collection. The book, which the Widener family had purchased in 1912, is a joint gift from George Widener and his sister Mrs. Widener Dixon.

May 7-9, 1946 – Harold E. Stassen, former Republican Governor of Minnesota, delivers three Godkin Lectures on “American Postwar Economic and Political Policies.”

May 16-18, 1947 – The Harvard Club of Milwaukee hosts the Golden Anniversary Meeting of the Associated Harvard Clubs.

Late May 1947 – During the last week of May, the College officially recognizes Harvard Youth for Democracy, a 26-member group independent of but sympathetic toward the leftist American Youth for Democracy. Several newspapers see signs of a Crimson creep toward Communism.

Provost Paul H. Buck issues a brief statement, reaffirming Harvard’s traditional stand on academic freedom: “We are aware of statements which have been made about Communist influence in the American Youth for Democracy. Our policy however, is based upon a faith in the ability of the American form of government to prove its value in the free market of ideas.”

May 1952 – Students and colleagues celebrate Winthrop House Master Ronald M. Ferry, the last of the seven original House Masters still on duty. At a dinner attended by President James Bryant Conant and Provost Paul H. Buck, Ferry receives a pair of silver bowls with the Winthrop House crest. A week later at a combined House senior and alumni dinner, undergraduates present him and his wife Virginia with a silver tray.

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