The B.A. Diploma from A to Z
The first Harvard diploma in English instead of Latin appeared in 1961. When word of the abandonment of Latin came through in April, it touched...
The diploma adopted in 1903 (see page 70) was also a dog, but a persistent one, lasting until 1935. Harvard historian Samuel Eliot Morison disliked its design and headed the committee that replaced it. "The cursive writing is mechanical, tightly spaced and practically illegible," writes J.F. Coakley '68. "The flabby blackletter is not much better. The dotted line for the President's signature is unsightly, and also spurious since President Eliot's actual signature had given way to a printed facsimile in about 1897." The diploma "has a mean and cramped look."
Coakley is the author of The Harvard B.A. Degree Diploma, 1813-2000, which he printed (superbly) last summer on his hand-cranked Vandercook proofing press, model 4, at his Jericho Press in Oxford, England, in Monotype Octavian and Ehrhardt on Zerkall mould-made paper in an edition of 50 copies. (The book is published by the Harvard College Library and may be had for $300 a copy by application to Monique Duhaime at Houghton.)
|The short-lived 1961 diploma.|
Coakley earned his own Harvard diploma as a mathematics concentrator. He won a Marshall Scholarship, but deferred it to enlist in the army's 82nd Airborne Division, and actually jumped from a few airplanes. After that, he went off to Trinity College, Cambridge, switched course to read theology, did a second B.A., stayed for a Ph.D., met his wife-to-be at a party given by their professor (the radical theologian Bishop John A.T. Robinson), married, and settled. In 1993 he was living in Oxford, teaching New Testament studies at Lancaster University, when his wife, Sarah, was offered a professorship at Harvard Divinity School. Over they came, retaining their house in England, and "Chip," as he is called, became a senior lecturer on Near Eastern languages and civilizations and a cataloger in the manuscript department of Houghton.
|The diploma of 1903.|
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