Retrospection


The Living Memory of Derrick Bell

In a 1990 photograph, Derrick Bell, the first tenured Black professor at Harvard Law School, speaks as a crowd of students rally behind him. In the front row, students clutch a banner that reads, “Harvard Law School: On Strike for Diversity.” The photograph was taken during Bell’s controversial announcement that he would be taking a “leave of conscience,” refusing to return until HLS hired a Black, female, tenured professor.


The Three-Year Battle to Join the Harvard Band

In the fall of 1967, Sally Faith Dorfman ’71 saw an ad in The Crimson from the Harvard University Band that stated the band was in need of more flute players. Dorfman, a flautist, thought she might try out. But there was a catch — the band, at the time, was all male.


Cubans in Cambridge: Harvard’s 1900 Cuban Summer School and U.S. Imperialism

"This program — which Cuban historian Louis A. Pérez called an “imperial design” — strove to teach Cuban schoolchildren lessons in civics, American history, and English, whether they wanted them or not."


'Ad Astra': Marking the Passage of Time with STAHR

The Loomis-Michael Observatory, only accessible via a stairway and a registered HUID, sits on the 10th floor of the Science Center. Named after Walter Michael, who donated the telescope itself, and Lee Loomis, who funded its installation, the observatory is now operated and maintained by Student Astronomers at Harvard-Radcliffe, a student-run organization which hopes to allow Harvard students to learn about astronomy and appreciate the night sky.


Doctor Mildred Fay Jefferson, In Her Own Words

Dr. Mildred Fay Jefferson was the first Black woman to graduate from HMS, ran for Senate three times, and was a groundbreaking surgeon; however, she would rather be remembered for the lifetime of activism she dedicated to her passion — outlawing abortion.


A Goose, a Janitor, and a Poem Walk into Harvard Yard

Abdy, born around 1650, served as a sweeper and bedmaker at Harvard from 1718 until his death in 1730 or 31, primarily in Stoughton Hall. It is not immediately clear why such a figure would be memorialized in this form, or by whom.


Harvard's Peek Behind the Iron Curtain

But there was much more to these interviews than capturing the ideological beliefs of their participants. HPSSS researchers sought to reveal the full scope of the Soviet experience, far beyond what the Air Force had expected, pushing back, in a way, against the strong anti-Soviet culture in the U.S. during the Cold War.


"An Enormous Room"

The Woodberry Poetry Room houses over 8,000 poetry books, 7,500 audio-visual recordings, and 100 literary magazines. Celebrating its 90th year, the collection reopened to the public on Oct. 4.


Who Wants to Buy a Bench?

When Harvard renovated Sever Hall in 1949, they replaced Sever's long benches with polished desks. That prompted the Alumni Association to sell the 150 benches, covered in drawings and scribbles, for $15 each. The reasons people bought these benches are eccentric and fascinating.


SJP Counter Teach-In Advertisement

Laszlo Pasztor Jr. ’73, another SJP member, advertised the event in The Crimson as “an attempt to combat the overwhelming prevalence of ‘force-fed’ antiwar feeling at Harvard.”


Harvard, in Miniature

In 1950, Harvard students entering Widener Library could feast their eyes on three dioramas depicting miniaturized campus history. If they turned right, they could picture themselves standing in 1677, when Old College stood where Grays Hall is now and the original Harvard Hall had not yet burned down.


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