College Room Assignments and Shenanigans

in about Warren

Date: Late 1750s

Research notes: Joseph Warren, Class of 1759, occupied:

Mass[achusetts Hall] 20 with [Josiah] Bridge (Class of 1758) in 1756

Stoughton [Hall] 3 with [Abiel] Leonard (Class of 1759) in 1757

Mass[achusetts Hall] 8 with [Samuel] Cotton (Class of 1759) in 1758

Source: Cambridge, MA: Harvard University, Pusey Library, 1755-1959. UAIII 15.22

Commentary: Massachusetts Hall still stands in Harvard Yard in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Its four story exterior is little changed from its 18th century appearance, as judged by old engravings. The interior has been considerably altered, now housing mostly college administrative offices. Here, in July 1758, Warren hosted multiple performances of Addison’s historical play Cato.

The dorm was also the alleged scene of Joseph Warren acrobatically surprising some classmates meeting in an upper floor room by climbing up a rain spout and jumping through their open window. The old spout promptly crashed to the ground, fazing the incipient hero not at all. The new biography suggests that the curiously unnamed, closed meeting was that of the legendary anatomical Spunkers Club, undergraduate resurrectionists aspiring to careers in medicine.

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