Reviewed in yesterday’s NYT, the FDR Suite Restoration Project at Harvard University. It’s a fascinating premise – exposing turn of the century college life through a period room and not just any period room, President Roosevelt’s room – even if it isn’t entirely new.
The website hits a personal nerve. While a graduate student, my then girlfriend (now a highly decorated doctoral candidate in Cambridge) produced a thesis on dorm life in women’s colleges. Her focus was on Smith, and we ended up spending some time researching male counterparts. That this room was FDR’s hardly matters, it is wickedly indicative of upper crust scholastic life during the period. And, as such a rich and wonderful addition to some other fantastic house museums surrounding campus (including the Longfellow home).
Nothing has built the idea of the dorm room as snapshot of college life as fully as the FDR Suite Restoration in digital form, and in my humble opinion it is a fantastic public history outlet. Spend a little time with it over the weekend and take a trip to Harvard, circa 1900.