Campus & Community

This month in Harvard history

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March 20, 1834 – Charles William Eliot, Harvard’s future 21st President, is born in Boston.

March 1852 – Eighty-five of the 88 members of the Class of 1852 decide to have daguerreotypes taken in Boston for what becomes the first Harvard class album (forerunner of today’s yearbook).

March 1950 – The Harvard Corporation approves final designs for the World War II Memorial in the Memorial Church. The carving of some 16,000 letters on a marble slab is expected to be completed in time for summer installation, with formal unveiling slated for the fall.

Ca. March 1950 – Law School students pull off a bit of inspired classroom lunacy, as recounted by the “Harvard Alumni Bulletin” (March 11, 1950):

“So far as Professor David Cavers of the Law School was concerned, a seating chart complete with photographs should have been a fool-proof device for trapping students who switched seats to avoid answering questions. But, like Dean [Erwin] Griswold who found himself a year ago lecturing before a picture of a partly-clad female which had been substituted for the portrait of a learned justice, Professor Cavers badly underestimated the ingenuity of the third-year law student.

“Preparing to put his chart into use on one fateful morning during the last fortnight, Mr. Cavers looked up to find all 75 members of his class wearing masks of various descriptions. It developed that his plan had leaked out, and several of his students had taken hurried countermeasures – almost ‘the greatest case of mistaken identity in legal history.’ “

March 16, 1953 – At the Business School, Professor John McLean’s class (advanced production problems) becomes the first to use one of the new classrooms in Aldrich Hall, slated for official dedication on June 12.

Dean Donald K. David shows up to give introductory remarks, contrasting the new facility with the single basement room in Lawrence Hall (lost to fire in 1970, on a site now occupied by the Science Center) that he knew as a Business School student after World War I.

March 21, 1953 – Responding to the death of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, educational radio station WGBH-FM broadcasts two-and-a-half hours of taped reflections from 12 Harvard professors and research associates covering everything from the medical aspects of Stalin’s final illness to the implications of his passing for U.S. foreign policy.

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