Campus & Community

This month in Harvard history

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Dec. 3, 1954 – During Radcliffe’s 75th Anniversary ceremony, Radcliffe President Wilbur Kitchener Jordan presents Ada Louise Comstock (Notestein, since her 1943 marriage), his immediate predecessor, with a citation hailing her as “chief architect of the college’s greatness.”

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). 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] bus skidded on ice formed on Massachusetts Ave. from water flowing out of the Union and crashed into the University Luncheonette.” (Quotation: “Harvard Alumni Bulletin,” 12/10/55)

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