Yesterday’s News

Illustration of a collegiate hero, per Theodore Roosevelt in 1907
Illustration by Mark Steele

1907

President Theodore Roosevelt, A.B. 1880, in town to see his son, Theodore Jr. ’09, inducted into the Porcellian Club, addresses 2,000 students and alumni at the Harvard Union. “Harvard must do more than produce students,” he tells them. “The college man, the man of intellect and training, should take the lead in every fight for civic and social righteousness.”

1922

Acknowledging the geographical dispersion of Harvard men, the Board of Overseers and the Corporation agree that henceforth Overseers and Alumni Association directors will be elected by postal ballot rather than by vote of those alumni present on Commencement day.

1927

After conducting the physical examinations of the freshman class, Dr. Alfred Worcester, Henry K. Oliver Professor of Hygiene, reports that “smoking is a habit with 294 freshmen, 11 are color blind, 91 cannot swim, 297 wear glasses, 77 have lost their appendixes, 21 their adenoids, and 32 have never been vaccinated.”

At a Harvard Club of Boston colloquium titled “What is the Sub-Freshman Thinking About?” the principal of Phillips Exeter Academy reports that many high-school seniors and college freshman alike answer, “with surprising frankness, ‘Why…most of us are not thinking at all.’”

1937

Dean of the Divinity School Willard L. Sperry reports that attendance at Memorial Church’s morning prayers has dropped drastically with the recent move of undergraduates to the Houses. Bulletin editors note, “It was just fifty years ago that Harvard abandoned the rule requiring attendance at morning prayers. Probably very few of those who objected to the change would go back to the old order even if they could.”

1957

As of January 12, the Faculty extends upperclassmen’s Saturday night curfew to midnight and the freshmen’s curfew to 8 p.m.

1977

After 104 years, The Harvard Crimson elects Gay W. Seidman ’78 as its first woman president.

You might also like

Slow and Steady

A Harvard Law School graduate completes marathons in all 50 states.  

Claudine Gay in First Post-Presidency Appearance

At Morning Prayers, speaks of resilience and the unknown

The Dark History Behind Chocolate

A Harvard course on the politics and culture of food

Most popular

Claudine Gay in First Post-Presidency Appearance

At Morning Prayers, speaks of resilience and the unknown

Who Built the Pyramids?

Not slaves. Archaeologist Mark Lehner, digging deeper, discovers a city of privileged workers.

Harvard College Reinstitutes Mandatory Testing

Applicants for the class of 2029 must submit scores.

More to explore

Winthrop Bell

Brief life of a philosopher and spy: 1884-1965

Capturing the American South

Photographs at the Addison Gallery of American Art 

The Happy Warrior Redux

Hubert Humphrey’s liberalism reconsidered