Thursday, February 25, 2016

John Harvard's Toes

John Harvard's Toes

John Harvard’s Sculpture – Nicknamed `Statue of Three Lies’

John Harvard a sculpture in bronze was sculpted by Daniel Chester French between 1883 and 1884 in Harvard Yard, Cambridge, Massachusetts in honour of John Harvard. The statue is true to its nickname of the `Statue of Three Lies’. John Harvard had lived from 1607 to 1638 and died at the young age of 30. Initially an English minister, he toured to the New World in 1637 to be a preacher in Charleston. However, due to disease in the colonies, John Harvard died of tuberculosis in the fall of 1938 a few months after his arrival there.
Though he had not attended Harvard, he had donated half of his estate as well as his library of 400 books to the unnamed college then at the time of his death while the other half of his remaining estate remained with his widow. In honour of his generous donation, the school had been named after him as Harvard College. Around two centuries later, to honour the benefactor, a statue was commissioned. The lies regarding the statue were flourishing and the biggest misconception was that the statue was of John Harvard. There were no documents or images or descriptions of John Harvard and no one knew what he looked like.

Statue Enjoyed Strange Fate

Without knowing his subject, French modelled the statue after a descendant of puritans like John Harvard himself after Sherman Hoar of Concord.Moreover, French also were not aware of what Harvard wore and had consulted `Felts Customs of New England’ to know what a 17th century clergyman would wear.The other two lies of the statue is related to the inscription which states that `John Harvard, founder 1638. In fact, John Harvard was not the founder of Harvard University, only the main and original benefactor.

He had not been to school. Harvard was also not founded in 1638 as the statue suggested but was founded two years earlier in 1636 by a vote by the General Court of Massachusetts Bay Colony. Tourist would often rub the toe of the left shoe of John Harvard for luck, with the belief that doing so was the Harvard student tradition.The statue of John Harvard enjoyed a strange fate and from the moment of sunrise, tourist would come by to stand before him like pilgrims gazing on a relic and at sunset people would urinate on the statue.

Combination of Honour/Dishonour – Most Expectant Peculiarities

This combination of honour by day and dishonour at night is one of Harvard College’s most expectant peculiarities. It portrays a surprising difference between the way the world tends to observe Harvard and the way we perceive ourselves and a conceit more exuberant than the sewage soaking John Harvard each Saturday night.

 It is mocking that so many visitor felt compelled to have their picture taken near a glorified outhouse, but the favourite late-night pit stop of Harvard is considered more than just a statue. John Harvard, to the outsiders portrayed the pinnacle of success together with academic achievement.

When the tourist, after smiling, rubs the popular shiny foot, it is like paying homage to the American Dream itself and as a Harvard undergraduate it is tough not to be deceived by the attention. Clicks of the flashbulbs tend to serve as a continuous reminder that they are students at an amazing place with the capability of inspiring deep emotions in several people.

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