I'm going to Harvard!

Okay, just for four weeks over the summer, but still, woohoo!

I’m a third-grade teacher who adores fantasy literature in its many forms and who has created a unit on writing fantasy based loosely on Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth.

In January, I checked out the National Endowment for the Humanities’s (I have no idea how one possessifies a proper noun with a plural noun as its last word–is that right?) Summer Institute for Teachers. It’s a program in which teachers spend 2-5 weeks of their summer completing an intense professional development in an academic setting. There were a lot of cool-looking programs, but none of them looked really appropriate for me.

Except one. Golden Compasses as Moral Compasses: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Fairy Tales and Fantasy.

I was gobsmacked when I read the course description. If you were designing a course specifically for me, this would be the course. It hits on my professional and personal interests perfectly.

So I applied, revising my application essay many times. And yesterday (on April Fool’s Day, but this better not be a joke), I got an acceptance call. From Harvard! From Maria Tatar, one of the world’s leading scholars of children’s fantasy literature!

Anyway, I’m super-excited. And if you live in Cambridge or nearby and have advice for a guy coming to live in your fair city for a month, I’m all ears.

Houghton library has, or had when I was there, an Emily Dickinson room and a John Keats room.

There are some Keats manuscripts on display.

The ED room had some family furnishings including the dresser her sister Lavinia found her poems in.

H.W. Longfellow has a home near Harvard, as he taught there also.

If you are touring Boston or Salem, oh I could go on about that. :slight_smile:

Please do! The program has an optional component by which one may write papers in order to gain grad school credit, and I tentatively plan to do that (assuming that a person who isn’t currently in grad school can gain the credits anyway and tuck them away for a later day). Nevertheless, I anticipate spending some time exploring Boston, and my lovely history nerd of a wife will be coming to visit me at some point, so I’d love to hear your ideas.

As with all such threads, it depends what you’re interested in.

In any case, I do think a dopefest is called for.


Boston’s Freedom Trail has about, oh, 13 historic sites on it. It is a RED line painted on the sidewalk starting from basically the MA state capital building by Boston Common.

First stop is Old Granary burial ground. Those buried there are Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, John Hancock and reportedly, Mother Goose, also Benjamin Franklin’s parents. Robert Treat Paine, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, is also buried there.

I don’t know what is next, but the OLD STATEHOUSE is on the red trail, the seat of the King’s colonial govt. The Boston Massacre took place right under one of the balconies.

Faneuil Hall is a good place to visit.

Paule Revere’s house, when I was there, cost $5.00 to tour.

It is the only surviving 17th century structure in Boston still standing.

The Old North Church can be walked into and viewed.
The Old Booskstore is where some notable New England writers passed some days away.

Some miles west is Concord, I toured Minute Man historical park. In Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, on “Author’s Ridge” is buried the Alcott sisters, Thoreau, Emerson and Hawthorne. Concord has, or had, a Thoureau Lycem also.
Walden Pond was near also.

South of Boston in Quincy, the Adams’ President’s are buried. The ONLY place in the U.S. where 2 President’s and thier wives are buried side by side. They are in the basement crypt of the First Unitarian church down the street from the Adams’ tour visitor center.

Thier family home Peacefield is on the tour, along with thier birthplaces, the oldest Presidential birth homes still standing, called Saltbox houses.

North of Boston, oh, 18 miles is Salem.

The House of the 7 Gables is a a MUST if you visit. Hawthorne’s birth house was moved from another part of the city, right next to the Gables.

I also toured Jonathan Corwin’s Home, also known as the Witch House, on Essex st. He held some of the preliminary trials right there in the house. The only surving structure tied the witch trials still in existence.

While it is not known exactly where any accused and executed witches are buried, it is possible they are unmarked or under different names. Behind the Pirate Museum, I think, is a very old graveyard, and memorial/cenotaph stone for those that died.

But Crispus Attucks is buried in Cambridge, very near Harvard Yard. There’s also a nice tribute to the Midnight Ride there. And a lovely bus stop.

An absolute must is Mr. Bartley’s Burgers, very near Harvard. I’d be happy to show you where it is.

Congrats! I did one of those about 12-15 years ago on Chinese and Indian History. Didn’t get to travel, though (You lucky bastich!). You are in for an amazing experience.

No comments on Boston or whatever, just a hearty congratulations on getting the fellowship! Sounds like an amazing opportunity!

Congratulations Dork!
If you and your nerdy wife get tired of the Boston area, head on out to my part of the state. Sturbridge Village is very interesting if you want to see how people lived in the 1830’s. Higgin’s Armory in Worcester is a huge museum of armor and weapons. If you’re interested in military and ships at all, check out Battleship Cove (more toward RI).

Now you are getting closer to Hampshire County and Amherst, birthplace and home of Emily Dickinson.

Her and Robert Frost and Eugene Field all lived in Amherst. Emily, all her life, with the exception when she attended Mt. Holyoke Female seminary in South Hadley, and visiting her cousins in Boston for about 6 months while consulting an eye doctor.

Her home is open for tours if that interests you dork, been there, done that.

Harlan Stone lived in Amherst also.

Just wanted to add my congratulations. It sounds like a fantastic opportunity.

I have nothing to add on the touristy aspects, but congratulations! It sounds like you are going to have a wonderful experience! It sound like an amazing class and I hope you enjoy every minute!


Sounds like it will be a great learning and and leisure experience.

Tyra Banks just went to Harvard too.

Hurray for the good guys! I’ve always wanted to at least see Harvard!

The subject matter is very appealing. (I confess to being a beginning Joseph Campbell fan.) Women Who Run with the Wolves[ is also a fascinating book.

I hope that you will find someway to go to Concord if you haven’t been there before. And the battleground a Lexington moved me deeply.

Have a great time learning and celebrating life!

A lot of people arte suggesting some pretty far out places to visit. It’s unlikely that you’ll have a chance to get to those places, depending on whether you have access to a car.

But if you can, pay a visit to the Wayside Inn in Sudbury. It’s where all of the great writers/philosphers of the 19 century went to party down. You’ll also see the little one-room schoolhouse where Mary had a little lamb.

Just wanted to offer my hearty congratulations to a fellow member of the Dorkness clan. It sounds like a ton of fun!

I live within a 5 minute walk of Harvard. What would you like to know?
Where are you going to live?

Woo-hoo! Go, you! I’m so excited for you!

The way you did it is what I’m seeing in newspapers today, but they’re also allowing “persons,” so clearly they’re not to be trusted. :wink: The way I learned it, which of course means it’s the only right and proper method so help me Og is Humanities’. No extra “s” needed.

My maiden name ended in “s”. I had to deal with this issue a lot as a kid, and was never entirely satisfied with any of my options. So when I got married, I took my husband’s last name, which ends in a nice neat “e”.