American Landscape and Architectural Design 1850-1920

Harvard University Buildings

University Life

Besides offering an architectural record of the University, the lantern slides also represent the people who lived and worked within the Harvard buildings. The University first began instruction in 1638 with approximately ten students. By the 1870s, the school had grown to include the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the Medical School, the Law School and the Lawrence Scientific School. The faculty had reached 45 and the undergraduate population was 563. By 1920, the population had grown drastically: the faculty numbered 278 and the undergraduates numbered 2,534. As the population increased, the Harvard campus was becoming more diverse. Sports activities were growing in popularity and supplementing academic pursuits. Women, from nearby Radcliffe College were beginning to take classes at Harvard and some were enrolled in Harvard's various graduate schools. The growing immigrant population of Cambridge was also changing the campus surroundings from a rural and remote college into a dynamic community.

Students in front of Harvard Hall
descriptive record icon enlarge image icon  Students in front of Harvard Hall, c.1860

Harvard Athletics

Organized sports did not begin at Harvard until the middle of the nineteenth century. Rowing and Basketball began in the 1850s and 60s, but students did not play organized football games until the 1870s. In 1871 class teams competed in "Boston Football," a game that developed in the neighboring city. The Harvard University Football Club was founded in 1872, but it was not until 1874 that Harvard started competing against other colleges. In 1875 they played Yale for the first time and won (by this time playing the game that eventually evolved into American football). Between 1876 and 1900, Harvard only won two other football games that they played against Yale.(8. Morrison)

People in the stands at an athletic event
descriptive record icon enlarge image icon  Intramural Athletic Meet, c.1905

In 1874 Harvard Athletic Association was formed to promote Track and Field. They held meets on Jarvis and Holmes fields, both on Kirkland Street, north of the yard. Throughout the last part of the nineteenth century, athletics gained popularity both for participants and spectators. President Eliot encouraged Harvard's movement toward fitness and supported teams and sports facilities. (9. Morrison) In 1902, Charles McKim designed a new stadium for the University, the design of which was based on the Colosseum in Rome, but in general the design was meant to associate athletics with classical ideals.(10. Bunting)

Women at Harvard

In 1878 a committee of women, including Mrs. Louis Agassiz and Miss Alice Longfellow, organized the association for 'Private Collegiate Instruction for Women'. One year later, they rented space near Harvard Campus at 15 Appian Way and remained at that location until 1885, when the school purchased the Fay Mansion. The school, nicknamed the "Harvard Annex", offered instruction by Harvard professors, who taught courses to the young women in their spare time. Twenty-seven women began the program in the fall of 1879. Ten of those first students received degrees equivalent to Harvard's first degree in Arts. By 1894, enrolment had reached 250, the same year that the association received an endowment of $100,000. The committee discussed integrating the school with Harvard; however, Harvard did not wish to become a co-educational institution at that time. Instead the women's school wrote a new charter and founded Radcliffe College, with the ability to grant their own degrees and honors.(11. Morrison)

Students in a library
descriptive record icon enlarge image icon  Radcliffe Students Studying in Fay Mansion, c.1900

John the Orangeman

John Lovett was born in County Kerry Ireland in 1833. He immigrated to the United States in 1855 and until the turn of the century peddled oranges in Harvard Yard with his cart and donkey, Annie Radcliffe. (12. Rodgers) He served as the official mascot for the Harvard football and basketball teams and was most famous for his translation of Harvard's motto, Veritas: "to hell wid Yale". (13. Story of the Yard) He lived near the yard in his house at 8 Beaver Street until his death in 1906.(14. Rodgers)

Two men in front of the door to a building
descriptive record icon enlarge image icon  John the Orangeman in Harvard Yard, c.1900

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