Talk:History of Harvard University

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Extraction from main article[edit]

I pulled out much of the detailed history from the Harvard article, and added a lot of new info here. Rjensen (talk) 05:52, 12 May 2010 (UTC)

Puritan population (unsigned and undated comment from 2011)[edit]

I don't think it's accurate that there were 17,000 Puritans in New England in 1620. 1620 is when the Mayflower landed.

 Done It was changed in 2012 to read "by 1636". Hertz1888 (talk) 23:38, 19 May 2015 (UTC)

Controversies[edit]

Don't you think we should add controversies? You know, stuff like Henry Gates arrest and Adam Wheeler? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Levardi (talkcontribs) 04:53, 28 April 2011 (UTC)

Struck comment from sockpuppet, see Wikipedia:Sockpuppet investigations/Theserialcomma. --Tothwolf (talk) 20:54, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
Only if they're significant to the history of Harvard University. I doubt anyone would argue either of those examples meets that standard. Lagrange613 (talk) 03:10, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

2012 Cheating Scandal[edit]

I spring 2012 there was an alleged cheating ring scandal involving at least 125 students, almost 2% of the students enrolled, all in the same classroom. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 150.216.78.78 (talk) 07:32, 17 September 2012 (UTC)

Problems[edit]

"I'm not sure how to explain the importance of having the only printing press on the continent for twenty years, if that isn't already understood" -- that requires a reliable secondary source saying it was important and why. Did it actually print anything? Rjensen (talk) 07:48, 10 April 2014 (UTC)

Well, no, actually. For a fact to be included requires only sources verifying it, not necessarily saying it's "important" -- it's up to our editorial judgment how well it contributes to the reader's understanding of the subject. However in this case we have those too, and they're already in the article e.g. "Harvard’s first impressions: The instrument behind New England’s first literary flowering" -- what more do you want? EEng (talk) 08:09, 10 April 2014 (UTC)
so you have no idea whatever of its importance. Any sourced trivia will pass muster such as an archaic spelling that gets top billing while you erase the info on Nobel prize winning professors. That's poor quality editing. Rjensen (talk) 08:28, 10 April 2014 (UTC)
I do understand the importance of the press, as you would as well if you would read the source already in the article. And I didn't say any sourced trivia will pass muster -- please reread my post to find out what I did say.

I removed stuff about individual professional schools, and the Nobel count, from the lead because they're overdetailed for the lead of a 400-year history; it would be as if the lead of History of the English Monarchy had a paragraph about the Princess Diana Memorial Playground. Harvard Colledge is minor, harmless, and draws the reader in. EEng (talk) 11:27, 10 April 2014 (UTC)

three sentences on the major influence in law & medicine & dozens of Nobel prizes is highly appropriate info in an article on a major university. (the printing press was seldom used for college materials, by the way.) Rjensen (talk) 12:33, 10 April 2014 (UTC)
This is not the article about a major university (which will typically emphasize its recent history and current status) but rather its history. Such material might belong in the body of a history article, but not its lead, at least not one this short -- they stick out as recentist. EEng (talk)
As for "colledge" it is in the article three times already and just makes Harvard look stupid in the lede. We want an encyclopedic style here. Rjensen (talk) 12:46, 10 April 2014 (UTC)
By "in the article three times" you apparently mean in the "First fruits" pullquote -- so what? I generally find that appeals to concepts such as encyclopedic style are used by people who can't actually explain what they're saying. EEng (talk) 13:36, 10 April 2014 (UTC)
quaint feature magazine writing is not useful for people looking at an encyclopedia for facts. As for "recentist" --nonsense. there is nothing here on the last 10 years. Before that's it's history. Rjensen (talk) 14:42, 10 April 2014 (UTC)
If the overriding desideratum were "just the facts" then articles would be nothing but long bullet lists. Careful, lively writing draws the reader in and enthuses him to read more, while stuffing random facts into the lead (a) makes sense as a kind of desperation measure if you think the reader won't get past the lead, but (b) may well be the reason the reader won't get past the lead. A kind of self-fulfilling prophecy, you might say. EEng (talk) 21:46, 10 April 2014 (UTC)

Witchcraft trials[edit]

I applaud any attempt to flesh out this woefully inadequate article, but the extensive primary quotes now being added are going to need to be boiled down to at most a paragraph or two. It's overwhelming. A more extensive treatment might belong in a Role of Harvard College section at Salem Witch Trials or (if there's really a lot of important material on this that can't be treated there in a reasonable amount of space) an article like Role of Harvard College in the Salem Witch Trials. EEng (talk) 04:29, 1 December 2015 (UTC)

I agree that it's overwhelming. It occupies disproportionate space in this article. Either a Harvard section at Salem Witch Trials or a fork article (WP name for a spinoff?) spinoff would be a good idea, but not something I can take on. Hertz1888 (talk) 05:17, 1 December 2015 (UTC)
You're too modest, Hertz. Everyone knows you can call on the powers of darkness to help you! EEng (talk) 07:06, 1 December 2015 (UTC)

{od}} I agree in some ways, despite having written it. It is not pretty. I just made another pass, trying to condense. There must be some better way to convey complex information? Help? In some ways this is the entire problem of trying to understand what happened in 1692 -- the folks most responsible seem to have realized that if you pass along an overwhelming amount of information, no one will know what to make of it. Like those User Agreements we sign every other day. Maybe we are lucky that so much information is missing or was destroyed. But I also have to say that it is striking how much the College comes up in reading primary texts of this era. Increase Mather was obsessed with the College. He seemed to think it was the key to shaping the future.

The kicker for me was stumbling on the minutes of the Cambridge Association. They have been at the MHS since around the Civil War but seem to have been overlooked. This could probably use its own page but still should be tied to a larger timeline.

Though this section could no doubt be improved, and presented better, I don't agree that this info should be placed anywhere other than an article on the History of Harvard. The university have their own website for P.R. with brief and friendly descriptions of Presidents. In 1692 power and influence in MA bay came from Boston, usually via Cambridge. Were this better understood, I wouldn't have gone to the trouble.

Rather than less, I would like to see more 17th century History on this page. For instance, archealogical evidence (Peabody museum?) of pipes, beer steins, flatware, etc. Lewismr (talk) 16:51, 1 December 2015 (UTC)

Yes, more 17th-c history, but it's got to be in a more summary form. No kidding, a full treatment of Harvard's history would need to be structured something like World War II, with a main article, sub-articles, and in some cases even sub-sub-articles.
Please find a way to distill your admirable understanding of Harvard and the trials in a paragraph at most. The timeline you've built will always be available in the article history, from which you can extract it for use in either incorporating in into Salem Witch Trials or building Role of Harvard College in the Salem Witch Trials. To create such an article, however, you're going to need secondary sources specifically discussing Harvard's role, in detail as a specific area of focus. Otherwise you veer into WP:SYNTH/WP:OR territory. EEng (talk) 19:17, 1 December 2015 (UTC)

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