John Harvard, I Presume

Welcome to Harvard! There is much ado about this statue of John Harvard and his famous foot. Supposedly rubbing it brings luck and students line up before exams. And tourists line up…boy, do they line up! I’ve sat in Harvard Yard on a sunny day and watch group after group from all over the world come by to rub his foot. The thing is that this is a college, and college kids, being college kids, tend to have a bit of fun by doing nasty and vile things to said foot. So if you want to rub the foot, I suggest a bit of anti-bacterial gel.

Oh, and the sculptor had no idea what John Harvard looked like when he made this. All drawings and paintings of him were destroyed in a fire. We are not really sure who this looks like.

22 thoughts on “John Harvard, I Presume

  1. mickey2travel

    Love the “tradition” as well as the story behind *who* this guy might be! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Osyth

    In fact the same tradition exists in the Moscow Metro where one of the Lenin era statues is of a guard and his dog complete with highly polished nose as every commuter and worker polishes it daily for luck!

      1. Osyth

        Not sure about that one but The Owl of Dijon which is in Notre Dame in Dijon certainly has that tradition and I will be paying him a visit later in the month 😊

  3. Garfield Hug

    Interesting tradition! In the Temple of the Goddess of Mercy, devotees will also rub the feet of Guan Yim to get blessings. The statue wears down and after time it needs to be refurbished. Same with Catholic saints or Virgin Mary….if I had a chance to study at Harvard…ha ha I would be one of the people in line! 😊

  4. Christy B

    This may be the closest I’ll ever be to Harvard 😉 The foot.. at first I was like “why did he focus on the foot for 2 photos?” ~ Then I read the text and understood. It made for cool perspectives 🙂

    1. milfordstreet Post author

      Ha ha ha. I was tempted to leave out one photo but liked both of them. I’m sure you could get into Harvard. Paying the tuition would be the more difficult part for most of us.


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