Friday, May 18, 2007

Harvard was decidedly conservative

Harvard's political culture in the early 1920s was decidedly conservative. Soon after Robert Oppenheimer's arrival, the university imposed a quota to restrict the number of Jewish student. (By 1922, the Jewish student population had risen to twenty-one percent.) In 1924, the Harvard Crimson reported on its front age that the university's former president Charles W. Eliot had publicly declared it "unfortunate" that growing numbers of the "Jewish race" were intermarrying with Christians. Few such marriages, he said, turned out well, and because biologists had determined that Jews are "prepotent" the children of such marriages "will look like Jews only." While Harvard accepted a few Negroes, President A. Lawrence Lowell staunchly refused to allow them to reside in the freshman dormitories with whites.

From American Prometheus, the Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin. Now read about a Harvard alumni with musical connections, who had strong views on Jews.
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