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100th Anniversary Issue

Centennial Harvests:

Harvard in Epigram

The College Pump

The Readers Write

The Undergraduate

Harvard Portrait

Bulletin Boards


A New Era: 1898-1918

Boom and Bust: 1919-1936

War and Peace: 1937-1953

Baby Boom to Bust: 1953-1971

Century's End: 1971-1998

Other Links:

Century Mark

Centennial Sentiments

Harvard Magazine

For a society of rationalists, Harvardians are surprisingly interested in the supernatural. "Cambridge at any time is full of ghosts," Ralph Waldo Emerson, A.B. 1821, wrote famously in 1836, reflecting on the University's bicentennial. One hundred twelve years later, David T. W. McCord '21 affectionately noted that "Other American colleges have campuses, but Harvard has always had and always will have her Yard of grass and trees and youth and old familiar ghosts." And in November 1973, when this publication resided in Wadsworth House (where General George Washington once bunked), John T. Bethell--then editor, now senior editor--chronicled Harvard Magazine's first 75 years in an article titled, "The house is haunted, and we like it that way."

Clearly, all this talk about ghosts concerns Harvard's continuity and history and traditions--not seances and the ectoplasm. The ghosts' time has come round again: close readers of the contents pages in the past two issues may have noticed that we are now publishing the magazine's one-hundredth volume.

The blessed event itself dates to November 7, 1898, when the first Harvard Bulletin appeared. It set forth two goals. "First, it can furnish, for those that want them, reports of University activity of every kind, selecting and summarizing the news, with due regard to the interest which it has from the graduate point of view. Secondly, it can serve as a medium for getting before the body of graduates...all matters which it may be desired from time to time to have promptly and widely published."

Gussied up to satisfy 1998 norms, that still describes what Harvard Magazine (as it became known in 1973) does. For this signal anniversary, we also aim to examine significant moments in the University's life over the past century--and the lives of its graduates. Throughout 1998, we will harvest excerpts from past volumes. Historical class notes, letters to the editor, the "Undergraduate" and "College Pump" columns, and the magazine's articles give engaging perspectives on what Harvard was, and what it has become.

For the anniversary issue itself, we will commission new articles on the University then and now. And in the first issue of 1999, we will consider Harvard in the next millennium.

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