Campus & Community

This month in Harvard history

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Nov. 13, 1875 – New Haven, Conn., hosts the first Harvard-Yale football game, which Harvard wins, to the delight of some 150 student boosters from Cambridge.

November 1903 – After five months of construction, Harvard Stadium is completed in time for the Harvard-Yale game on Nov. 21. Construction cost: $175,000.

November 1941 – Two freshmen run a classified ad in “The Harvard Crimson”: “Wanted – Information where one may obtain a human corpse in reasonable condition. Call Eliot 2128.” The “Harvard Alumni Bulletin” reports the results:

“In the next few days they were deluged with 42 telephone calls, ranging from students who wanted to be embalmed after their hour exams to three or four funeral directors, interested commercially. Even the police department and the morgue paid their respects. Asked why they had advertised for the cadaver in the first place, the Yardlings replied, ‘We just wanted to know where we could get one.’ “

Nov. 28, 1942 – The Cocoanut Grove, a celebrated Boston night spot, burns on Thanksgiving weekend, killing some 500 people, including 15 from Harvard. Already in Boston at the time, an instructing officer and several student officers of the Harvard-based Naval Communications School are among the first to arrive on the scene. They play an important part in initial rescue efforts. Additional Harvard instructors, undergraduates, and alumni arrive before midnight and during the following day to lend a hand as stretcher-bearers, hospital orderlies, and body-identification assistants. Many students and faculty from the Medical School assist as well. The “Harvard Alumni Bulletin” reports that “a deep pall was cast over the entire University.”

Nov. 20, 1943 – As 45,000 look on from Harvard Stadium stands, the informal wartime football season ends in a 6-6- tie between Harvard and Boston College. Fifty-cent tickets make the game “widely hailed as the greatest football bargain of all time,” according to the “Harvard Alumni Bulletin.”

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