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Apr 24, 2017 08:41 PM EDT

John Harvard: A Look At An Interesting And Controversial History Of The University's Founder [VIDEO]


One of the most celebrated landmarks of Harvard University is the statue of John Harvard, the school's founder. Not only does it remind students and visitors, it also has a rich story and an interesting nickname - the "Statue of Three Lies."

The title "Statue of Three Lies" has become part of Harvard's lore which students and tour guides recite to visitors that it has become an attraction to itself. The three lies have something to do with three things - John Harvard's identity, the school's founding date, and the real founder of the university.

On the statue, there was an inscription which says, "John Harvard. Founder. 1638." According to observers, the information inscribed on the granite plinth was inaccurate. First of all, the statue was not John Harvard himself but another person whose ancestors had been part of the university during its early days.

In reality, no one really knew what John Harvard looked like since there was no image made of his likeness when he was alive. The statue's artist, Daniel Chester French, took the liberty to use a model instead.

The second lie was the fact that Harvard was not the founder of the school. However, the university was named after him because he bequeathed a large amount of money as well as his vast collection of books to the college two years after the college was established by virtue of the colonial government.

The third lie was the founding year itself. Contrary to the inscription, the accurate year is 1636 which is two years earlier than the inscription on the statue.

Despite this controversy, Harvard has accepted these lies as truthful saying that although John Harvard was not the founder of the school, he was "a" founder of the school and also the most important because of his contribution to the school. With regards to the identity of the statue, the officials said that the figure symbolizes the idealization of the values of the university.

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