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Life Beyond the Law

A Historical & Special Collections exhibit exploring student life outside the Harvard Law School classroom.


Though their mode of transportation may have changed over the years, students have continually enjoyed exploring the greater Cambridge area. In April 1845, James Boyden’s younger brother Charles paid him a visit. They made a number of outings including an early morning walk to Prospect Hill in Somerville where they “surveyed the beautiful adjacent country,” a walk to Mount Auburn Cemetery, and to Fresh Pond where they saw “the immense brick ice houses.” Boyden occasionally walked in to Boston. On one such trip he enjoyed the view of the city from the spire of Park Street Church after which he went to a daguerreotype office, painter’s studio, and a “stationary establishment.”

Albert Burt's Trips

In January 1912, Albert Burt (LL.B. 1914) wrote to his brother about an afternoon he spent in Boston with two fellow classmates. After a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts they attended a lecture on eyes at the Harvard Medical School given by Williams Professor of Ophthalmology, Dr. Myles Standish. You can see from the letter shown below that Burt found the lecture hall setup interesting enough to sketch it for his brother.

image of Albert Burt's January 21, 1912 letter to Howard BurtLetter from Albert Burt to Howard Burt; January 21, 1912; Albert F. Burt Letters, 1911-1913, Box 1, Folder 3; HOLLIS no. 13846966

Red Sox Games

Local excursions help familiarize students with their environs, and becoming part of the local community would not be complete without cheering on Boston sports teams as Harvard Law students did at a 2004 Red Sox game.

2004 photograph of Red Sox Welcome Harvard Law School displayThe Red Sox Welcome Harvard Law School, 2004; Reproduction of photomechanical print, 8 x 9 cm.; Harvard Law School Yearbook, 2004, page 169; HOLLIS no. 374284   

Riding the T

Before the MBTA Red Line was constructed, students could walk or take above-ground trolleys into Boston. Albert Burt wrote home to his family about the opening of the Red Line station in Harvard Square in 1912. Information about the history of the Red Line can be found here, and a copy of a pamphlet that touted the efficiency of the new train line- from Harvard to Park Street in eight minutes, just like Burt wrote in his letter seen below- can also be found here.

image of Albert Burt's March 24, 1912 letter to Farlow BurtDetail of letter from Albert F. Burt to Farlow Burt; March 24, 1912; Albert F. Burt Letters, 1911-1913, Box 1, Folder 6; HOLLIS 13846966

"They opened the new subway from Harvard Square to Park Street yesterday so as to make the trip to town as inviting as possible to Harvard students and others. Very fine I'm told it is, great big cars, trains running every 2-4 minutes, getting through in 8 minutes as against 30-45 heretofore. And an enormous crowd tried it yesterday..."