On April 4, 1768, about one hundred angry Harvard College undergraduates, well over half the student body, left school and went home, in protest against new rules about class preparation. Their action constituted the largest student strike at any colonial American college. Many contemporaries found the cause trivial and the students’ decision inexplicable, but in the undergraduates’ own minds it was the culmination of months of tensions with the faculty.
Pedagogues and Protesters recounts the year in daily journal entries by Stephen Peabody, a member of the class of 1769. The best surviving account of colonial college life, Peabody’s journal documents relationships among students, faculty members, and administrators, as well as the author’s relationships with other segments of Massachusetts society. To a full transcription of the entries, Conrad Edick Wright adds detailed annotation and an introduction that focuses on the journal’s revealing account of daily life at America’s oldest college.
Published in association with Massachusetts Historical Society