Harvard is notorious for some of the smartest students. Between the ages of 18 and 22, very few differences have occurred since the beginning of time. Folks that age like a variety of mischievous activities.
The rather straightforward newspaper the Harvard Magenta began publication in 1872. When Harvard’s colors changed, they changed their name to the Harvard Crimson. They acquired a beautiful wooden editor’s chair and began a long career of journalistic integrity, remaining Cambridge’s only daily newspaper to this day.
In 1876, a very cheeky and clever group of class-clowns got together to form the Harvard Lampoon, The Lampoon building itself, located on Mt. Auburn Street, rings of farce, and is said to have been designed to look like a surprised Prussian Soldier (think WWI helmets, with the point on top).
The Lampoon loved to mock the Crimson, as it loved to mock pretty much everything (after all, that is the function of a humor magazine), and the Crimson decided not to let them get away with impunity.
The two newspapers exchanged friendly practical jokes slowly at first. Soon, a full on prank war would lead to several disappearances, including the editor’s chair from the Crimson and the Ibis on top of the Lampoon Building. It would lead to an exchange with a Soviet Diplomat in 1953, Conan O’Brien’s arrest in the ’70s, and even a 1933 theft from the State House of Massachusetts involving a 5 foot long fish.
Cambridge Historical Tours Recommends:
Alice’s Adventures in Cambridge
by The Harvard Lampoon
Originally published in 1913, the Lampoon resurrected this historical and historical glimpse into collegiate life at the beginning of the 20th century.