Yesterday’s News

From the pages of the Harvard Alumni Bulletin and Harvard Magazine

1932

The Harvard Hall bell is moved to the top of the just-completed spire of Memorial Church. “Nearly everyone who enters or leaves Sever these days walks with neck craned,” report the editors. “As yet no accidents have been reported, but unintentional embraces are sometimes narrowly averted.”

 

1942

The campus Radio Network conducts a survey of its summer-school undergraduate listeners. Besides learning that more than half the students listen to the station at least twice a week and prefer classical music, investigators also discover that “one-third of all undergraduates study without their trousers.”

 

1947

Bulldozers invade the Yard a day after Commencement and begin scooping out a hole, next to the soon-to-be-relocated Dana-Palmer House, for the foundations of the future Lamont Library. Estimated building cost: $1.5 million.

 

1957

In his Phi Beta Kappa oration, Nieman Fellow Louis M. Lyons calls the press “a very American institution. It has a large element of violence. The instinct of our press is against the government, unless the government happens to be Republican.”

 

1962

An “overzealous truckman” consigns 1,700 postal ballots from the Overseers’ and alumni directors’ elections to the city dump before they can be counted. After careful study of the 22,439 ballots remaining, the statistics department concludes that the chance of the highest defeated candidate overtaking the lowest winning candidate is less than one in a thousand, so the incomplete results are allowed to stand.

 

1977

More than 2,000 Cambridge “Golden Agers” enjoy the second annual Senior Picnic in Harvard Yard, jointly sponsored by the University and the city. President Derek Bok is the most popular dance partner.

 

1997

The mayor of Boston, Thomas M. Menino, is incensed by the University’s “total arrogance” when a Harvard official notifies the Boston Redevelopment Authority on June 10 that “Harvard has acquired options to purchase 14 Allston parcels, totaling 52 acres, and [is] in the process of taking ownership.”

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