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July 6: Kenneth Koch

The exuberant and funny poet Kenneth Koch (“coke”) died at 77 on this date in 2002. A poet from an early age, he studied with Delmore Schwartz at Harvard in the late 1940s, following extensive military combat in the Pacific during World War II, and became an important member of the so-called “New York School” […]

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May 14: Stanley Kunitz

Two-time U.S. poet laureate Stanley Kunitz died at 100 on this date in 2006. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Harvard in the late 1920s, served in the armed forces as a non-combatant conscientious objector during World War II, and began a teaching career afterwards that included a 22-year stint at Columbia University. […]

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May 12: Erik Erikson

Erik Erikson (Homberger), the German-born (to a Danish Jewish mother) psychoanalyst who coined the phrase “identity crisis” and postulated nine stages of human development from infancy until the end of life, died at 91 on this date in 1994. He trained as a child psychologist under Anna Freud and also studied Montessori education. In 1930 […]

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March 13: Harvard’s Jewish Problem

Harvard College was named for clergyman John Harvard, its first benefactor, on this date in 1639, three years after its launch by the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The oldest corporation and first institution of higher learning established in what is today the United States, Harvard took eighty-three years to appoint its first Jewish faculty member, Judah […]

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July 25: A 20th-Century Socrates

Morris Raphael Cohen, an encyclopedic savant, philosopher, lawyer, and legal scholar who was chiefly responsible for the City College of New York’s reputation as “the proletarian Harvard,” was born on in Minsk this date in 1880. Educated at CCNY and Harvard, Cohen was the first Jew to teach philosophy at CCNY (from 1912 to 1938), […]

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July 11: Multiple Intelligences

Developmental psychologist Howard Gardner, whose theory of multiple intelligences has awakened educators to the inadequacy of teaching that fails to engage the broadly varied learning styles and capacities of students, was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania on this date in 1943. Gardner’s parents fled from Nuremberg, Germany, on Kristallnakht (November 9, 1938). Gardner’s 1983 book, Frames […]

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February 19: The Bird Man of Panama

Eugene Eisenmann, a Harvard-trained attorney who retired from law at 51 to become one of the world’s leading ornithologists, was born in Panama on this date in 1906. In 1957, Eisenmann became a research associate at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, a position he held until his death in 1981. He […]

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