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Hands-on Discovery

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The gender-segregated signatures on this anti-slavery petition (image 1), sent to the 25th Congress from upstate New York, illustrate the “separate spheres” of household life in antebellum America. The work done by study co-author Daniel Carpenter (image 2), points to a trove of petitions now languishing in state and national archives. Another example (image 3) is a “Petition from Ladies of Marshfield, Massachusetts, 1835.”

Foreshadowing feminism

Petitioning against a congressional gag rule on slavery before the Civil War spurred generations of activists

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Maria Dolores León Torres (left), at home with her family in the La Vista neighborhood of Chapala, Mexico. She and her son Juan de Dios, age 4 (center), were part of a Harvard study investigating suspected contamination in fish from Lake Chapala. “We haven’t ever gotten ill,” she said. Photos by Ned Brown/Harvard Staff

The mystery of the lake

Harvard researchers probed whether fish in Mexican area were contaminated — and were harming mothers, children

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“Very few Harvard professors go straight from the classroom into the cold room of electoral politics — Elizabeth Warren’s done it and a few others … but rather few run for elective office,” said Michael Ignatieff, a former Harvard Kennedy School professor who ran for prime minister of Canada.

Northern exposure

How a professor went from his classroom at Harvard to the back rooms of Canadian national politics, and what he learned

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