Campus & Community

This month in Harvard history

2 min read

September 1930 – The Class of 1934 enters with 897 members. Dunster and Lowell – the first of the seven original undergraduate Houses – are ready for occupancy.

September 1936 – During the first two weeks of the month, Harvard convenes a Tercentenary Conference of Arts and Sciences. More than 10,000 faculty members at 54 institutions nationwide are invited; over 2,000 attend. Seventy-one scholars give papers in four areas: Arts and Letters, Physical Sciences, Biological Sciences, and Social Sciences.

September 1939-Spring 1942 – The Stradivarius Quartet (violinists Wolfe Wolfinsohn and Bernard Robbins, violist Marcel Dick, and cellist Iwan d’Archambeau) serves as Harvard’s first resident string quartet.

September 1941 – Nine young men from seven states become the first students in an experimental five-year program leading to a combined medical/dental degree (M.D./D.M.D.). Supported by gifts of $1.3 million from the Carnegie Corp. and the Rockefeller and Markle foundations, the new curriculum “provides for a more complete integration of dental and medical education than ever before attempted in this country,” according to the “Harvard Alumni Bulletin.”

Sept. 12, 1941 – In Sanders Theatre, 376 Harvard men are commissioned as ensigns in the Navy Supply Corps. They form the first group of naval supply officers trained at the Business School since the establishment of a naval training center there in the spring. Among the distinguished onlookers: Navy Under Secretary James Forrestal, Rear Adm. Ray Spear, and Rear Adm. William Tarrant.

Sept. 22, 1958 – Before a private gathering of friends of the Busch-Reisinger Museum and the German Department, E. Power Biggs gives the first concert on the Museum’s newly installed, anonymously commissioned Flentrop organ. (The concert takes place in what is now Adolphus Busch Hall, which was then the Museum’s home.)

Built in Zaandam, Holland, by Dirk A. Flentrop using classic mechanical principles, and shipped in parts to the U.S., the three-manual instrument has 1,600 pipes and 27 stops. Through numerous concerts, broadcasts, and recordings by Biggs and others, it becomes one of the world’s best-loved and most famous organs, and helps spark a major revival of traditional organ-building in the U.S.

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