Harvard history student discovers missing Indian College Poem

tags: Harvard University




For nearly 300 years, Harvard student Benjamin Larnell (c. 1694–1714) was simply a footnote to scholars of Native American history. They knew that he was the last student of the colonial era associated with Harvard’s Indian College, that he died from fever before graduating with the Class of 1716, that he liked to socialize and fight, and that he was an accomplished student poet.

“He gets a footnote in every book,” said Stuart M. McManus, a fourth-year Ph.D. student in history at Harvard. “He was known to be very good (at poetry), but we didn’t have any evidence of this.”

Until now, that is. Last year, McManus found a Latin poem by Larnell, a single page that not only shows competence and creative promise, but also gives scholars a rare window into the classrooms of pre-Revolutionary America. A study of the poem, co-authored with fifth-year Classics graduate student Tom Keeline, will appear next spring in Harvard Studies in Classical Philology....




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