Campus & Community

This month in Harvard history

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June 21, 1776 — The College reassembles in Cambridge after its eight-month stay in Concord.

June 19, 1858 — At the Boston City Regatta, crimson finds its first use as a Harvard color when members of a Harvard boat club seek to distinguish themselves among the many entrants. At a store, Charles William Eliot (then a tutor, later President) and club captain B. W. Crowninshield pick six crimson China-silk handkerchiefs to tie around their heads (University Archives holds several of the originals). The team beats 6 others from Boston, New York, and St. John in a 3-mile race. On July 5, they beat 7 boats in a 6-miler. Crimson becomes Harvard’s rowing color and spreads to other teams. The Harvard Corporation officially adopts it in 1910.

June 26, 1901 — Commencement Day. The newly completed Harvard Union (now part of Barker Center for the Humanities) opens for visitors’ inspection. Several sections of the Yard fence are also dedicated by the Classes who donated them or in whose name they were built.

June 22, 1903 — Groundbreaking for Harvard Stadium takes place.

June 1904 — Helen Keller, who had lost sight and hearing in early childhood, earns her A.B. (with honors) from Radcliffe. Dorothy Elia Howells recalls the memorable moment in “A Century To Celebrate: Radcliffe College, 1879-1979.”

“Guided by Anne Sullivan [Keller’s faithful teacher and companion since childhood], she crossed the platform of Sanders Theater [sic]. As [Radcliffe] President [Le Baron Russell] Briggs was about to hand her her diploma he paused and said, ‘This seems to be a veritable fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah: “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped.”’ The applause that followed shook the hall, and Helen Keller felt its vibrations. Many students came to Radcliffe afterward because of Helen Keller.”