A Good Story

Discussion in 'History Forum' started by Ps104_33, Oct 20, 2005.

  1. Ps104_33

    Ps104_33
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    A lady in a faded gingham dress and her husband, dressed in a homespun threadbare suit, stepped off the train in Boston, and walked timidly
    without an appointment into the Harvard University President's outer office.

    The secretary could tell in a moment that such backwoods, country hicks had no business at Harvard & probably didn't even deserve to
    be in Cambridge.

    "We'd like to see the president," the man said softly.

    "He'll be busy all day," the secretary snapped.

    "We'll wait," the lady replied.

    For hours the secretary ignored them, hoping that the couple would finally become discouraged and go away.
    They didn't, and the secretary grew frustrated and finally decided to disturb the president, even though it was a chore she always
    regretted.

    "Maybe if you see them for a few minutes, they'll leave," she said to him!

    He sighed in exasperation and nodded. Someone of his importance obviously didn't have the time to spend with them, and he detested
    gingham dresses and homespun suits cluttering up his outer office.

    The president, stern faced and with dignity, strutted toward the couple. The lady told him, "We had a son who attended Harvard for one year.
    He loved Harvard. He was happy here. But about a year ago, he was accidentally killed. My husband and I would like to erect a
    memorial to him, somewhere on campus."

    The president wasn't touched. He was shocked.

    "Madam," he said, gruffly, "we can't put up a statue for every person who attended Harvard and died.. If we did, this place would look
    like a cemetery."

    "Oh, no," the lady explained quickly. "We don't want to erect a statue. We thought we would like to give a building to Harvard."

    The president rolled his eyes. He glanced at the gingham dress and homespun suit, then exclaimed, "A building! Do you have any earthly
    idea how much a building costs? We have over seven and a half million dollars in the physical buildings here at Harvard."

    For a moment the lady was silent.

    The president was pleased. Maybe he could get rid of them now.

    The lady turned to her husband and said quietly, "Is that all it costs to start a university? Why don't we just start our own?"

    Her husband nodded. The president's face wilted in confusion and bewilderment.

    Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford got up and walked away, traveling to Palo Alto, California where they established the university that
    bears their name, Stanford University, a memorial to a son that Harvard no longer cared about.

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    You can easily judge the character of others by how they treat those who they think can do nothing for them.

    A TRUE STORY By Malcolm Forbes

    And now you know the rest of the story! [​IMG]
     
  2. LadyEagle

    LadyEagle
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    Love it. Sure hope it isn't an urban legend, cause it is so great. Thanks. [​IMG]
     
  3. Squire Robertsson

    Squire Robertsson
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    I can't see the Stanford's in gingham and homespun. But, as Westerners, they would be unknown to the folks at Harvard. I don't think they had an eastern house so they were in well traveled not of the latest eastern fashion clothes.
     
  4. Brice

    Brice
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    I don't want to ruin anyones night, but this is an urban legand. Stanfords own sight says so. Here's the link. http://www.stanford.edu/home/stanford/history/begin.html

    Dispelling an Urban Myth
    You may have heard a story that a lady in "faded gingham" (Jane Stanford) and a man dressed in a "homespun threadbare suit" (Leland Stanford) went to visit the president of Harvard, were rebuffed, and as a result, went on to found their own university in Palo Alto. This untrue story is an urban myth, and Stanford's archivist has prepared a response for those desiring more information:

    For what it is worth, there was a book written by the then Harvard president's son that may have started the twist on actual events.

    Leland Stanford Junior was just short of his 16th birthday when he died of typhoid fever in Florence, Italy on March 13, 1884. He had not spent a year at Harvard before his death, nor was he "accidentally killed." Following Leland Junior's death, the Stanfords determined to found an institution in his name that would serve the "children of California."

    Detained on the East Coast following their return from Europe, the Stanfords visited a number of universities and consulted with the presidents of each. The account of their visit with Charles W. Eliot at Harvard is actually recounted by Eliot himself in a letter sent to David Starr Jordan (Stanford's first president) in 1919. At the point the Stanfords met with Eliot, they apparently had not yet decided about whether to establish a university, a technical school or a museum. Eliot recommended a university and told them the endowment should be $5 million. Accepted accounts indicate that Jane and Leland looked at each other and agreed they could manage that amount.

    The thought of Leland and Jane, by this time quite wealthy, arriving at Harvard in a faded gingham dress and homespun threadbare suit is quite entertaining. And, as a former governor of California and well-known railroad baron, they likely were not knowingly kept waiting for too long outside Eliot's office. The Stanfords also visited Cornell, MIT and Johns Hopkins.

    The Stanfords established two institutions in Leland Junior's name -- the University and the Museum, which was originally planned for San Francisco, but moved to adjoin the university.
     
  5. Plain Old Bill

    Plain Old Bill
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    The truth is as interesting as the legend.Thankyou to the both of you.
     
  6. Daisy

    Daisy
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    Sure, the legend is interesting if you like stories that try to make people look bad. It tells more about the story-teller than the subjects of the story.

    Tells a little something about people who repeat defamatory gossip without checking what is easily checked.
     
  7. rsr

    rsr
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    There is a modern — and true (even better) — version:

    GLASGOW HITS VEGAS JACKPOT
     

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