Yesterday's News

1920 The physical examination of all 700 Harvard freshmen, in connection with a new system of compulsory freshman athletics, has been completed...

1920 The physical examination of all 700 Harvard freshmen, in connection with a new system of compulsory freshman athletics, has been completed, with each student classified according to his “bodily mechanics” (posture). Only 7.5 percent of the class demonstrated “good mechanical use of the human body”; 12.5 percent were rated “fairly good”; and a full 55 percent exhibited “bad use.” The 25 percent who demonstrated “very bad mechanical use” must do special exercises until they show improvement.


1925 The Crimson has been campaigning to persuade the University to buy a plot of land at the northwest corner of Mount Auburn and Holyoke Streets [the present site of University Health Services], but, the editors report, Harvard’s finances “apparently do not permit it to compete with real-estate dealers” in buying land immediately south of the Yard.


1930 In the wake of “unprecedentedly light” voting for senior class officers, the editors opine that “college classes which have 500 members or more are too inchoate to inspire the feeling of kinship that animated the classes of a generation or two ago” and wonder what effect the new “House Plan” will have.


1935 Harvard’s five-year-old School of City Planning—the first school in the world devoted exclusively to the study and teaching of city, regional, state, and national planning—“has the unusual distinction in this depression period of receiving demands for the professional services of more graduates than it possesses.”


1940 In summing up a radio talk on physical fitness by Harvard’s assistant director of physical education, the editors note that the “present generation of Harvard men are taller and heavier than their fathers and grandfathers. Their posture seems not to have undergone a parallel improvement….”


1945 Workers are busy replacing the iron beneath the corroded copper ornamentation atop Memorial Hall as experts and others debate whether the tower’s 1890s “railroad Gothic” pinnacles, vanes, and crockets should be removed.


1955 A sudden cold snap has silenced the Harvard Band’s eight-foot bass drum; the 28-year-old cowhide drumhead could not contract quickly enough. Bandsmen announce a “Dimes for the Drum” campaign to restore the drum by autumn.


1960 Alumnus E. Howard Roorbach ’34, M.B.A. ’37, is managing Project Turnkey, an effort by the post office and International Telephone and Telegraph to deal with the rising volume of U.S. mail (50 billion pieces a year and counting). If nothing is done, says Roorbach, quoting a statistical friend, then by the year 2000 everybody in the country will be working for the post office.


1970 Signs of the Times I: the slate of candidates for Overseer includes three alumni graduated within the past 15 years, as well as one woman. Signs of the Times II: the Committee on Houses has ruled that Radcliffe students may take breakfast in the Houses.


1975 At the request of the Iranian government, Harvard has begun a four-to-five-month study of the feasibility of setting up a graduate-level, English-language, university in that country.


The editors remind over-eager readers that the greeting “Happy 3/4 century!” is not appropriate until January 1976.


1980 Harvard has acquired a three-acre parking lot opposite the Harvard Square post office for $4 million—the largest deal to date in the University’s real-estate history.   

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