Campus & Community

This month in Harvard history

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December 1763  –  Hollis Hall is completed in the Yard. Dec. 1, 1773  –  To the surprise of all, Samuel Locke resigns as President. Not until the early 20th century, when the diary of Yale President Ezra Stiles is published, does the reason come to light: Locke had confessed to fathering a child by a maidservant in the President’s house. December 1832  –  In his Cambridge home, German-born Charles Theodore Christian Follen, Professor of the German Language and Literature, introduces the Christmas tree to the United States. The “Harvard Alumni Bulletin” (12/23/68) reconstructs the scene:”[. . .] When his son was two years old, Follen determined that the lad should carry into adulthood fond memories of bright Christmases. He went to the woods near his home, which was on the corner of what is now Follen Street, and cut an eight-foot tree. He barred his study to all and set about cutting paper ornaments. He carefully placed over a hundred candles on the tree. All the neighborhood children had been invited to the Follen house for a great and mysterious occasion. When he flung wide the study door, the pure delight of Christmas twinkled in the eyes of children for the first time in these United States.” Dec. 13, 1856  –  A(bbott) Lawrence Lowell, Harvard’s future 22nd President, is born in Boston. –  From the Harvard Historical Calendar,a database compiled by  Marvin Hightower