Campus & Community

This month in Harvard history

2 min read

May 30, 1901 – Memorial Day. The Harvard Lampoon distributes its first parody of The Harvard Crimson (which never publishes on Memorial Day).

May 25, 1905 – On Ralph Waldo Emerson’s birthday, Harvard dedicates Emerson Hall (the first building in America devoted exclusively to philosophy) by hosting a national meeting of the American Philosophical Association. The then-large sum of $208,485 was needed to build and equip the hall. The Philosophy Department had previously functioned in locations scattered around the College.

May 1908 – Funding prospects for the newly created (March 30, 1908) Graduate School of Business Administration look so grim that it may not open in September as planned. On May 19, however, an anonymous benefactor (later revealed to have been Maj. Henry Lee Higginson) comes to the rescue, underwriting the shortfall in full. In response, the Corporation chooses Economics Professor Edwin Francis Gay as the School’s first Dean. The School eventually opens on Oct. 1 with 59 students seeking the new Master of Business Administration degree.

May 1931 – The George Edward Woodberry Poetry Room – a gift of Harry Harkness Flagler – opens on the third floor of Widener Library. (The room is now in Lamont Library.)

May 1939 – Near Austin Hall, the new Littauer Center for Public Administration is ready for occupancy.

May 21, 1940 – “The Harvard Crimson” publishes a statement endorsed by hundreds of students vowing “never under any circumstances to follow the footsteps of the students of 1917” who had gone off to fight in World War I. Thirty-four members of the Class of 1917 defend their actions in a statement published on May 31.

May 18-29, 1942 – About 50 newspaper editors from across the nation convene in the Faculty Club Library for an “Institute on War Problems,” sponsored by the Nieman Foundation (for journalism). In on- and off-the-record talks, participants learn helpful cues for interpreting wartime news on a global scale.

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