Snippet: Harvard Regrets

​It long pained Rudolph Jordan Jr. that he had not been able to continue past his freshman year at Harvard University. Harvard listed its classes by the date students began attending the university, rather than by the date they graduated, so even though he had had to quit after one year, Jordan was still considered a member in good standing of the class of 1886. In correspondence enclosed with a check to purchase the class’ twenty-year report of 1906, Jordan wrote he appreciated being included. “Like all other men who succeeded in getting into Harvard, I am loyal to its influences and spirit, even though fortune and fame are not mine.”

Jordan then quoted a speech of the previous May by the recently named Harvard President Abbott Laurence Lowell that “many students who do not remain connected more than a year with Harvard look back with intense gratitude and affection to what Harvard did for them—they acquired there the same love of freedom and independence and of liberal thought which is the characteristic of most Harvard men.”

Jordan’s letter struck enough of a chord with the alumni association that a note came back with the purchased copy of the directory: from an E.H. Wells, the note told Jordan Jr. that “it was always highly satisfactory to find the expression of such loyalty from Harvard men whether they are degree holders or not” and offering that “if at any time I can be of assistance to you I hope you will let me know.”

​As a last bit of Harvard recognition, Jordan’s obituary appeared in the Harvard Bulletin in 1937. It had been over 30 years since his report of 1906 and his best work took place during that time. He wrote three books, including the one on the gait of horses in 1910 and one on quality winemaking in 1911. He had both established himself as a winemaker and then lost nearly everything in that regard during Prohibition, which led him to write his third book, using the pen name “Diogenes.” The book protested government actions (like Prohibition) that ruin businesses of its citizens without compensating those citizens’ existing investments.

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