Harvard College Class of 1843 class book, 1843-1910.
- HarvardCollege (1780- ). Class of 1843. (Organization)
Extent0.3 cubic feet (1 volume (, 548 p. ; 40 cm.)
In a few cases the secretary transcribed autobiographical letters written in later years. Some of the secretaries' addenda are in the form of biographical timelines, with notes on the later significant doings of the class members, such as marriages, the births of children, professional accomplishments, appointments to office, and, in most cases, death dates.
In fact, much of what the Class Book contains was written as addenda by the secretaries of the Class of 1843. Notwithstanding several years of neglect and the near-destruction of the volume by class secretary William Richardson , the Class Book includes many pages of biographical notes and transcriptions by all of the secretaries of the class. An attempt was made to resurrect the book after its intended demise; the two secretaries following Richardson added what they could in an effort to keep the information current. In 1897, following his election as class secretary, Thomas Hall made an urgent plea to his classmates to fill the pages of the book; he sent a letter to all who could be found and to the relatives of those deceased, asking for biographical information for themselves and any deceased classmates, from any time period. He asked also for photographs, and notes that "a few of these have been sent to me by Judge Richardson's representative," but none appear in the Class Book. Francis Williams sent a similar letter upon his election as class secretary in 1903, and he notes that "the pages are slowly filling up."
Also found in the Class Book are a list of names of students who had at one time been members of the class; the Class Oration and Class Poem; records of many of the Class Meetings and Suppers from 1843-1896, particularly in the earlier years; and secretaries' notes. The minutes of Class Meetings and Suppers indicate that such occasions were often devoted more to hilarity than to business; however, it was also at these meetings that the class organized such offerings as the class cradle for the first father in the Class of 1843 and a monument at Mount Auburn Cemetery for a departed classmate. The minutes from Class Meetings and Suppers are extremely sparse after 1853.
Evolution of the Harvard CollegeClass Books
In the mid-nineteenth to early twenty-first century, class albums of photographs were created as a complementary series to the class books. Unlike class books, class albums were usually compiled by individual students rather than the class secretary , so many albums may exist for a single year. Class albums typically include photographs of students, faculty, staff, and the campus.
Clubs and traditions were prominent in the rituals of college life. Class Day was a celebration of extreme importance at that time, and subsequent meetings of the class, at which members came together for a dinner and meeting to discuss class business and enjoy each other's company, were often held on its anniversary. The Class of 1843 elected members into the Navy Club, a society reserved for those who for reason of their grades were not awarded roles in Class Day oratories; officers included Lord High Admiral, the "jolliest of all jolly blades in the class" according to Samuel Eliot Morison's Three Centuries of Harvard, 1636-1936 ; Vice Admiral, the poorest classmate; Rear-Admiral, the laziest; Chaplain, the most profane; Boatswain, the most obscene; and so forth (pages 398-399 of the Class Book include the list). Traditions such as awarding a "class cradle" to the first member of the class to become a father were followed and celebrated (pages 398, 408, 415-416, 418-419); less happily, members of the class gathered to make resolutions on the early deaths of a few of their number, most notably John Abbot Emery , who died before commencement, much lamented by his classmates.
Several members of the Class of 1843 were commissioned officers in the Civil War after graduation, but the biographical notes in the Class Book regarding their roles are limited. Similarly, biographical notes indicate the membership of some alumni of 1843 in the Free Soil Party, but both this and the slavery issue in general receive scant mention in the pages of the Class Book.
Notable members of the class include Thomas Hill , president of Harvard University from 1862-1868 ; William A. Richardson , Secretary of the Treasury from 1873-1874 and Chief Justice of the U.S. Court of Claims from 1885-1896; and Octavius Brooks Frothingham , writer and clergyman. Unfortunately, the greater part of the entries in the Class Book involving these three men was removed by Richardson. Others of note include Arthur Buckminster Fuller , Unitarian Universalist minister; Horace Binney Sargent , Lieutenant Colonel of the First Mass. Cavalry, Fifth Army Corps; and Alexander Wheelock Thayer , music historian.
Morison, Samuel Eliot. Three Centuries of Harvard, 1636-1936. Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1965.
- Quotations and secretary's note, first unnumbered page
- Secretary's note regarding purpose of Class Book, fifth unnumbered page
- Biographical entries, pages 1-374
- List of names of 26 men who had at any point been members of the Class of 1843 but did not graduate with the Class, with a few notes, page 375
- Class Oration, delivered by Eben Carleton Sprague , pages 376-390
- Note that the Class Poem would have appeared following the Class Oration but the lack of space prevents it (the poem appears on pages 525-537), page 391
- Records of Class Meetings and Suppers, 1843-1896 , pages 397-426
- Transcription of letter to all known survivors of Class from secretary, February 1897, pages 427-428
- Notes of class secretary about Class Book and list of surviving members of class as of June 1903 , page 428
- Class Poem by Henry P. Sedgwick , pages 525-537
The book has suffered from one of its custodians, but nevertheless survived longer than some in the class intended that it should. William Richardson wrote a note on the first unnumbered page "At the class meeting in 1863 it was unanimously voted to abandon this book, and to suppress it; first, because of its incompleteness as to the early lives of many of the class who had died or had not written their biographies, and secondly, because some who had written them were very much dissatisfied, in later years, with what they had written. I have kept it and have not yet destroyed it, because I wanted to turn to it occasionally as a matter of reference."
Several pages were torn out of the volume by Richardson. A note on page 74 reads "Two leaves written in full by O.B. Frothingham taken out, at his request, by WAR." The class members whose biographies are limited or eliminated by the removal of pages are O. B. Frothingham, Thomas Hill, and William A. Richardson. A few classmates expressed in letters their views on this mutilation, and a subsequent class secretary, Francis Williams, made great efforts to salvage and complete the book.
- Harvard College (1780- ). Class of 1843. Harvard College Class of 1843 class book: an inventory
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