Clergy Roar like Lions

"Your wooden arm you hold outstretched to shake with passers-by."

Caroline Healey Dall (1822-1912) was a transcendentalist, early feminist, reformer, and sometime attendee at Harvard Commencements. Her diary was published last fall: Daughter of Boston: The Extraordinary Diary of a Nineteenth-century Woman, edited by Helen R. Deese, the Dall editor for the Massachusetts Historical Society. Here’s Deese on Dall commenting (on Thursday, July 18, 1861) on alumni Unitarians at dinner.

“On a more somber occasion, the commencement that took place a few months after the beginning of the Civil War, Dall’s journal recorded in the form of a letter to her sister a debate over the goal of the war among the Unitarian clergy who had gathered for the annual Divinity School visitation: should the war’s purpose be to preserve the union, or to end slavery?” [She wrote:]

You know Harvard College has always held a very important position in relation to the politics of the country. In the Revolution, a Commencement dinner was as important as a meeting held in Queen St. I could not bear not to be there…After the services, all the alumni—old & young, go to Harvard Hall to dinner, & here took place a debate which will be remembered as long as any of them live. My dear friend, William H. Channing has just returned from England—and they called upon him to explain the position of England to this country. Mr Channing…urged…that we could never have the hearty sympathy of any European nation, unless we made this a war for freedom. Dr Osgood of New York replied insisting that it should be no such thing—that good faith to our own people required that the old compromise should be restored, He was spiteful and bitter against the Abolitionists, and declaimed like a fool against the mother country. This brought Dr Hedge to his feet, who declared that if this did not prove a war of emancipation, we should be eternally disgraced in the eyes of the world. That every inch the sword cleared should be cleared for freedom, that he would not raise a dollar for the soldier if he did not believe it &c &c. He was highly excited & made a terrific appeal. Then up sprang Geo. Ellis, all his face deformed with rage. He hoped there were no reporters present, to report the extremely injudicious words of his learned brother. Like a parched pea—sprang Dr Hedge to his feet. “God willing there may be any number here; what I have said now, I will say forever & in the face of the whole world—” & so it went on—…Dr Stebbens of Woburn…roared out all he had to say —like a lion. He said he told the troops that went from Woburn, not to leave a slave on any soil they touched & not to serve under any man, who talked about returning a fugitive. If he thought the war would create no change, he would begin to preach treason, tomorrow.… [In a sign of the exciting times, Dall added, the guest list for dinner included abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison.]


Radcliffe Cooler
Photograph by Stu Rosner

Fizzy, not too sweet. The Faculty Club has published A Proper Welcome, a lighthearted history of the club by its director, June Cuomo, complete with recipes for food and drink. In the latter category, the “Harvard Yard” is forcefully to the point: 4 ounces of Tanqueray No. 10 gin, stirred with ice, then served in a martini glass with a twist. The “Radcliffe Cooler” is more subtle: Crush 10 fresh raspberries and add 4 ounces lemon vodka and 1 ounce crème de framboise; chill until needed. To a pitcher filled with ice cubes, add 1 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, 1 cup sparkling rosé, and the vodka-raspberry mix. Shake, strain, and serve in large martini glasses, garnishing each drink with raspberries and a swirl of grapefruit rind. For four.

Other culinary matter: A dinner roll half eaten on March 14 at Dunster House by then-president Lawrence H. Summers was auctioned March 21 on e-Bay by Jonathan P. Hay ’06. It fetched $12.50.

Bodily changes. From an essay by Frederik C. Hansen, of Baltimore, in Fifty Years Out: Physicians Reflect on Our Times, a just-published collection by members of the Medical School class of 1953: “As I was growing up I was constantly amazed by the changes that were occurring in my body, and I generally looked with pleasant anticipation for what was coming next. Now as a superannuated adult who is growing down, the changes in my body are still quite interesting but the sense of pleasant anticipation is greatly diminished.”                                          

~Primus V  

You might also like

More Housing in Allston

Toward another apartment complex on Harvard-owned land

General Counsel Diane Lopez to Retire

Stepping down after 30 years of University service

Navigating Changing Careers

Harvard researchers seek to empower individuals to steer their own careers.

Most popular

Gymsuits, Pre-Spandex

Lest young ladies’ “tides” be deranged

President Bacow’s First-Day Message

A community letter as the new administration begins


Winter events

More to explore

Illustration of a box containing a laid-off fossil fuel worker's office belongings

Preparing for the Energy Transition

Expect massive job losses in industries associated with fossil fuels. The time to get ready is now.

Apollonia Poilâne standing in front of rows of fresh-baked loaves at her family's flagship bakery

Her Bread and Butter

A third-generation French baker on legacy loaves and the "magic" of baking

Illustration that plays on the grade A+ and the term Ai

AI in the Academy

Generative AI can enhance teaching and learning but augurs a shift to oral forms of student assessment.