Campus & Community

This month in Harvard history

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Oct. 14, 1763 — At the College library in Old Harvard Hall, Ephraim Briggs, Class of 1764, checks out “The Christian Warfare Against the Deuill World and Flesh” by John Downame, one of several hundred books that John Harvard had bequeathed to the College in 1638.

The book remains overdue on Jan. 24, 1764, when flames destroy Old Harvard Hall. Only 404 volumes survive, including Briggs’s overdue book, which thus becomes the only surviving text from John Harvard’s 1638 bequest. (In 1942, Downame’s book leaves Widener Library to become the first volume placed in the newly completed Houghton Library, where it remains today.)

Oct. 30, 1852 — Citing “a precarious state of health,” Jared Sparks submits his letter of resignation from the presidency. He serves until the following February.