I am reading a fascinating novel by William Martin titled Harvard Yard. The premise of the book deals with a lost Shakespearian play. The story follows the play and one family from the 1600’s to the present, with chapters alternating between historical time and the present as the protagonist, a current day rare bookseller, searches for the play.
What I find the most interesting is that Shakespeare was considered frivolous and banned by the Puritans. I knew that Harvard began as a divinity school, but I didn’t think about the religious thought of the time. In the novel, there are always those at Harvard seeking enlightenment, but in the beginning they were not the faculty members. In the novel at least, members of the faculty served as judges in the Salem witch trials, surely a dark time in New England’s and America’s history.
Martin covers American history as it relates to Harvard. The revolutionary war began on Harvard’s doorstep. Harvard men went off to fight on both sides of the Civil War.Harvard produced its share of World War One heroes, and then in World War Two, Harvard scientists were involved in developing the bomb in New Mexico.
I know that when my father was commissioned as a lieutenant in in the US Amy Air Corps in the early 1940’s, he was sent to Harvard to take a six week statistics class under Robert McNamara.
Harvard saw its share of Vietnam War protest as well.
When one thinks of the political and business leaders of the eras who attended Harvard, it becomes clear that this bastion of learning and the connections forged there had a profound effect on American history throughout the years.
I walked through Harvard Yard once on a family trip to Boston. It was right before commencement and you could almost feel the history rising from the ground into the atmosphere. Boston is of course steeped in history, but on the Harvard campus it filled the air.
We toured the Natural History Museum and saw the Edmonton Meteorite on display. Since we hailed from Edmonton, KY at the time, we quickly read the description. The meteorite, which was unusual in its composition, was found on the Starks Farm near Edmonton, KY. This was the neighboring farm to where my husband grew up.We were getting goose bumps. The half of the stone on display was in the shape of a map of the United States. The air indeed was rarefied here.