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

Steven Pinker on Apple’s Vision Pro

Professor of psychology on the science and history behind the Vision Pro.

The State of Black America

Harvard African American scholars take stock of a difficult moment. 

Threats Foreign and Domestic

Joseph Nye discusses geopolitics and Harvard’s challenges.

Most popular

A Lone Star Saga

Fiction about “the power that comes to us when we uncloset ourselves”

Baking Sourdough Bread Is a Survival Instinct

A Harvard grandmother’s—and grandson’s—research

The Bottomless Sport

Andrew Rueb’s experience on the professional tennis circuit informs his coaching.

More to explore

Photograph of Winthrop Bell 1910

Winthrop Bell

Brief life of a philosopher and spy: 1884-1965

Illustration of people talking to each other with colorful thought bubbles above their heads

Talking about Talking

Fostering healthy disagreement

Vacationing with a Purpose

New England “summer camps” for adults