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The Presidents of Harvard University Vol. 3 – Wrapping Up the Nineteenth Century

November 2, 2009
Harvard continues to exclude outsiders through their use of a made-up language.

Harvard continues to keep information from outsiders through their proprietary made-up language.

This volume (3, for those keeping score) takes us through the last half of a tumultuous century, which saw a civil war, the rise of the railroad, the advent of opium addiction, the blaming of said railroad workers, the “railroading” of said opium-addicted railroad workers, various land grabs, tangles with Spain and Little Spain (Mexico) and the peak of beard popularity.

Harvard, of course, was not affected by any of these things. The hallowed and insular institution continued to crank out upper class snobs and privileged twits like no other college in America (and I’m including Ole Miss).

Let’s take a stroll into the turn of the century with the presidents of Harvard, whose tenacity and shortsightedness allowed them to circumvent the “progression” of the rest of the United States.

16. Edward Everett 1846-1849
Everett’s four-year term was most noted for his introduction of “panty raids.” The first several attempts were aimed at Yale who, much like Harvard, were still only providing men with higher education. Despite this hurdle, the imagination of the Crimson allowed them to return from each raid with hundreds of pairs of “man panties” or “Yalie thongs.”

Everett attempted to spice up these same-sex raids by introducing various bills to Congress (through his well-endowed lobbyists) suggesting that some major schools be forced to allow women to enroll. Needless to say, these efforts failed (although not for a lack of endowment) as Congress, and indeed the rest of the country (including the railroad workers) viewed women as second-class citizens who could not be trusted with an education, living wage or even childbirth, considering the infant mortality rate.

Everett’s term came to an end after a panty raid on Vanderbilt resulted in the capture of female undergarments. These never-before-seen items caused severe mental trauma in those who had seen them and life-threatening psychosis in the few who had actually touched the items. After the fourth sniper attack in as many weeks, Everett was asked to step down and run (in a zig zag pattern) across the quad to his waiting buggy.

Affectionately known as “Sniper Victim #23.”

17. Jared Sparks 1849-1853
Jared Sparks is credited with introducing a successful line of weight loss programs into the normal curricula of Harvard. Sparks would often entertain his fellow officers with thrilling tales of weight loss through careful sandwich selection. Although very popular (and inspiring) at first, Sparks constant reminders and detail-heavy anecdotes about which sandwich he had eaten and how many “fat cells” were contained in each resulted in a massive backlash which heavily damaged the local food cart economy.

Sparks was finally asked to step down when his normally long-winded diatribes on meatball subs and other anti-masturbatorial foods began to arrive in the form of short sentences which were hand-written and delivered at random intervals to whomever happened to be close by. Close associates were overheard muttering about his incessant twittering and overused “fat pants” visual metaphor.

Affectionately known as “Fuck You, Sandwich Boy.”

18. James Walker 1853-1860
To know James Walker was to love him, or rather, be “loved” by him. An ego-centric womanizer until his deathbed conversion to the Symbionese Liberation Army, Walker aided and a-bedded (sorry) over 8,000 women in 8 years. As his constant scoring began to eat into his time as president, JW would often let his second-in-command, James Walker Jr. VII run the place, much to the dissatisfaction of the other Harvard officers, who saw their money being blown on candy bars and hookers and their daughters being knocked up left and right.

Walker would have lost his post much earlier if he hadn’t exercised Harvard’s “privileged insider” clause, which allowed him to live life by a different standard than the enrollees and at least some of the officers. He also used a 120-year old typo to grant himself “eminent domain” in matters related to the wives and daughters of all Harvard students and employees.

With so much going for him, Walker’s abrupt retirement came as a surprise. While Walker issued a statement referring to his “desire for a quiet life of banging random chicks, away from the day-to-day pressures of running Harvard (and banging random Harvard-related chicks),” but many of his contemporaries speculated that perhaps his “dick” had “just fallen off.”

Affectionately known as “Wilt.”

19. Cornelius Conway Felton 1860-1862*
Felton presided over an era that came to be known as “The Shortest Era Ever.” As the figurative head of Harvard, Felton spent most of his time fulfilling ceremonial duties such as groundbreaking, large novelty-check signing, baptisms, circumcisions, Hot or Not tie breakers, pancake breakfasts, mass burials and the occasional Live Aid concert.

Though Felton’s stay in office was brief, he spent each moment as if it were his last: by begging forgiveness from various deities and sobbing inconsolably. As his private sobbing and praying began to intrude on his more public duties, the Harvard officers began to work on an “early retirement” plan.

Things came to a head at a groundbreaking ceremony for the above ground pool. Felton seized the oversized ribbon-cutting scissors and attempted to slash his wrists. He was wrestled to the ground by his fellow board members and remanded to the state, which soon remanded him to the local crazyhouse, at which point the staffers remanded him to his surviving family, which bequeathed him, still alive, to Harvard University. He lived out his final years as a living statue of himself.

Affectionately known as “Three-and-out.”

*Died in office as a result of statuefication. See also: Goldfinger.

20. Thomas Hill 1862-1868
A tireless opium addict and eccentric inventor, Hill spent a majority of his seven-year term trying to perfect his “gravity bong/scientific calculator” prototype. Most historians point to his concentration on the first half to be the reason the second half was never able to get its ass of the couch or come up with rent money.

As Hill continued to chase the double dragons of drug paraphernalia (Billy Lee) and scientific calculation (Jimmy Lee), the Harvard board members acted quickly to revoke his severance pay and change the locks. He was finally ousted during an 18-hour marathon intervention in which the board members pretended to care about his health and whatnot. Hill responded by vomiting and passing out in the hall closet. He awoke 4 hours later to find his belongings (including himself) on the lawn. The rest is history. Boring history.

Affectionately known as “C. Thomas Howell.”

21. Charles William Eliot 1869-1909
Eliot lived to see the turn of the century, much to the dismay of several local bookies. An inveterate gambler and loudmouthed braggart, Eliot so ired the local townspeople that the remaining board members retired and changed their names. Indeed, the hallowed halls themselves were tainted by his filthy habits, as local thugs repoed the above ground pool, second billiards table, the K-M sections of the bleachers and the letters “R” and “D.”

After one close call with a lynching party, CW took to hiding himself in the lower levels of the undergraduate library, subsisting on hardtack and book binding. After 22 years in seclusion, Eliot returned to the surface to find the campus nearly deserted. Rather than let the proud metaphorical ship Harvard continue to drift listlessly, CW took the helm (metaphorically) and proceeded to rape and pillage Yale (not metaphorically).

At the behest of yet another lynching party (working in conjunction with local mobsters), Eliot was lynched. Due to a lack of proper tools or measurements, Eliot was suspended only four feet off the ground and was unable to properly asphyxiate.

Given a mulligan by the angry townsfolk, Eliot returned underground, eventually resurfacing to party like it’s “1899.”

Known affectionately as “Goddamned Lucky.”

-CLT

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6 comments

  1. The 1800’s is much more modern than I imagined, but what fun. Hilarious. C. Thomas Howell is a shirt-tail relative to Clive ‘Fucking’ Cussler BTW.


    • Yes, the 1800’s were way ahead of their time. It was referred to as “The Gilded Age of Bullshit.” By the time I get around to the 20th century, it’s going to sound like the Jetsons.

      I’ve always suspected as much about C. Thomas Howell. I was tempted to refer to him by his given name (C. Fucking Howell) but it sounded too much like “Gilligan’s Island” blackmail material.

      Thanks for the visit and compliments, FJ. It’s truly great to see you more frequently.


  2. Harvard is one, big, expense Cryptogram. Thank goodness huffin’ paint kept my test scores low.


    • Remember Huffy? Are they/he still making bikes? And they said shop-class going glue-sniffers would never amount to nothing nohow.

      Careful with that language, RR. They tend to confuse U and V with alarming regularity.


  3. Your post has given me “side burns”, CLT. (and I must say, they really do accentuate my jawline)

    ?

    *Ahem*

    Anyway, speaking of side burns, I just wanted to say that personally, I feel a certain amount of sympathy for Mr. Sparks, aka. “Fuck You, Sandwich Boy”. (he must be French)

    Although I’m sure his incessant “fat cell” discussions were most definitely overdone (learn how to set the dial on the toaster why don’t you), I think some of the backlash might have also come from the fact that after spending all that time and effort “nixing the cheese” and “holding the mayo”, he still ended up with that same unaesthetically-pleasing, “deer caught in the headlights looking” face, that only an altruistic and God-fearing Mother could love.

    Albeit slightly more “oval-ish”.

    I mean, let’s “face” it (punny)…ugly is ugly. And unless he was the lead singer of the Ancient Rolling Stones in his spare time, he could have been the President of 10 Harvards and it still wouldn’t have gotten him laid.

    Commendable post as always, CLT.


    • Love those sideburns, bschooled. If done properly, you can soon front an underrated also-ran of the British Second Invasion:

      You are dead-on in regards to the several problems with Sparks’ unfortunate face, the most unfortunate of which was it’s incredible ugliness. Sometimes you can sleep your way to the top. Other times you find out it’s lonely at the top. Sparks is in Column B.

      Thanks for the comment and compliments, bschooled. Wonderful to see you.



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