Featured Item: Virginia Wheeler Harrold scrapbook, 1951

Class photograph on Widener steps, VWH scrapbook, HUM 171, Harvard University Archives

"...something to always remember!"

On the 15th of June in 1951, Virginia and John Harrold packed their car with "garments for any kind of weather," and set out on a road trip from Takoma Park, Maryland to Cambridge by way of New York City. Their destination: the 25th reunion of the Harvard College Class of 1926.

Virginia recorded their travel and subsequent week in Massachusetts in a lengthy typewritten account, saved in a scrapbook with photographs and other mementoes of the trip. She describes in charming and authentic detail stops at restaurants and hotels, shopping expeditions, visits with friends and to Christian Science services in Boston, eating lobster and snake dancing on the beach with fellow reunioners, and her venture into the men-only alumni gathering in Harvard Yard. Her observations are peppered with connections to national events – the “Macy-price-war” crowds and orchids for the Class dinner “donated and flown in from Hawaii but delayed by Pan-Amer[ican] strike.”  Menus and prices throughout the week are faithfully reported.

Virginia Harrold’s meticulous detail and wry comments on all aspects of the “GRAND” reunion trip make for a remarkable picture of early 1950s travel and social life. Excerpts from her typewritten account are reproduced below; the account in its entirety can be read here.

The complete scrapbook is available for research use; please contact the Archives reference staff for more information on access to the Virginia Wheeler Harrold scrapbook, Archives call number HUM 171.

Super highways and chocolate frappes

 Saturday June 16, 1951, New York CIty

Adams House accommodations

 Sunday June 17, 1951, Cambridge