Campus & Community

This month in Harvard history

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April 14, 1944 — In honor of the 50th anniversary of the American movie industry, Warner Brothers presents the Harvard Film Service with a reprint of a 150-foot film of Mark Twain made in 1907 by Thomas Edison with a hand-cranked camera. The presentation occurs 50 years to the day after the first motion picture was shown for an admission charge on the second floor of a shoe shop near the current Macy’s department store in New York City. The footage constitutes the only motion picture ever made of Twain.

April 1944 — A female mallard duck nests on the grounds of the Business School. Military trainees there soon discover her, promptly dub her Mabel, and start feeding her, mostly with cupcakes.

“Mabel liked these from the first unwrapping,” reports the “Harvard Alumni Bulletin.”

“Since the nest was within a cupcake’s throw of the nearest building, it is conceivable that she became not only overwatched but overnourished. Duck eggs hatch in a little less than four weeks, but this mother went right on past the whistlestop for a seven weeks’ stretch.

“On D-Day (June 6) when the site was inspected, friends found that Mabel had carefully gathered up the litter of cupcake papers and covered her nest with them. With equal tidiness she had buried the eggs and departed. Any questions?”

April 1947 — Shortly after Easter, a group of Protestants, Catholics, and Jews meets in Phillips Brooks House to form the interfaith Harvard Religious Council. The announced purpose is “to promote justice, harmony, and understanding among the various religious faiths at the College.” Startup support comes from the National Council of Christians and Jews.

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