Campus & Community

This month in Harvard history

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Dec. 16, 1948 – The Law School Forum makes its first television appearance on Boston’s WBZ-TV with a discussion of Boston traffic and housing problems.

Dec. 1952 – At the School of Public Health, Baron Silvercruys, Belgian Ambassador to the U.S., announces a gift of one million francs ($25,000) from the Belgian government to the School to help endow a professorship honoring Richard Pearson Strong, the late Professor of Tropical Medicine, who had combated sleeping sickness, yellow fever, and malaria in the Belgian Congo.

Dec. 1, 1955 – In the morning, a “misdirected blowtorch” ignites molding on the southwest corner of the roof of the Freshman Union (now part of Barker Center for the Humanities). The fire takes two and a half hours to put out. Water extensively damages plaster and furnishings.

“At the height of the blaze, an M.T.A. [Metropolitan Transit Authority, predecessor of the MBTA] bus skidded on ice formed on Massachusetts Ave. from water flowing out of the Union and crashed into the University Luncheonette,” according to the “Harvard Alumni Bulletin.”

Later in the day, freshmen eat dinner at the upperclass Houses and at Harkness Commons. The Union resumes serving meals the next day at noon.

Dec. 8, 1956 – The Music Department’s Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library is dedicated. Designed by Stanley B. Parker ’04, the $500,000 wing allows the department to house its previously scattered collections under one roof. Upon completion, it is expected to handle collection growth for the next 40 years.

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