Harvard’s First Rebellion Involved Butter

Look out for flying crockery.
Look out for flying crockery.

The Harvard Gazette reflects upon the university’s long tradition of rebellion, beginning with a butter uprising: “Harvard’s era of dissent began with the Great Butter Rebellion of 1766. It was the first known student protest on an American campus and for a time led to half the student body being suspended. Asa Dunbar, Henry David Thoreau’s grandfather, was the first to protest that College butter”…ahem…”stinketh.”

Later, in 1818, a wild food fight broke out and was chronicled in rhyme by clever scholar Augustus Peirce in Rebelliad:

“And thus arose a fearful battle,”
The coffee cups and saucers rattle;
The bread-bowls fly at woful rate,
And break many a learned pate.”

Earlier that year, a violent brawl involving crockery also occurred. Apparently dorm food was crap, even then!

Harvard’s Long Ago Student Risings [Gazette]