John Harvard Statue

John Harvard Statue

John Harvard Statue

Welcome to the enchanting world of the John Harvard Statue, a captivating landmark that has been gracing the campus of Harvard University for over a century. This iconic statue not only serves as a welcoming symbol for visitors, but it also holds a fascinating story just waiting to be unraveled. So, let’s embark on a journey to discover the intriguing secrets of the bronze figure that has become an integral part of Harvard’s rich history.

The Iconic Statue that Welcomes Visitors

John Harvard Statue

As visitors step onto the picturesque grounds of Harvard University, they are greeted by the charismatic presence of the John Harvard Statue. This magnificent bronze figure, proudly perched on a granite pedestal, has become an iconic landmark that symbolizes the spirit of knowledge, wisdom, and enlightenment.

The statue, sculpted by Daniel Chester French, was placed in Harvard Yard in 1884. With a cheerful countenance and an inviting gesture, John Harvard seems to beckon visitors to explore the world of academia that lies within the university’s walls. It serves as a reminder of the rich heritage and prestigious reputation that Harvard University holds, welcoming all with open arms.

Unveiling the Intriguing Story Behind John Harvard

While the statue may bear the name “John Harvard,” it is not actually a likeness of the man himself. John Harvard, the revered founder of the university, lived in the 17th century and died long before photography was invented. Therefore, the sculptor had to rely on imagination and historical descriptions to create the figure we see today.

John Harvard Statue

The statue is commonly known as the “Statue of Three Lies.” Firstly, the inscription on the statue’s base claims it to be a likeness of John Harvard, but in reality, no actual portrait of him exists. Secondly, the statue was not erected until nearly two centuries after his death. Lastly, the statue is not even representative of John Harvard’s appearance, as it depicts a generic young man instead. Nevertheless, these intriguing “lies” add to the charm and mystery surrounding the statue.

Discover the Surprising Secrets of the Bronze Figure

Delving deeper into the secrets of the John Harvard Statue, you’ll find some delightful surprises. For instance, it is believed that rubbing the left shoe of the statue brings good luck to students preparing for exams. Over the years, this tradition has resulted in the left shoe being noticeably shinier than the right.

Another intriguing aspect is the statue’s patina, the thin layer that forms on the bronze surface over time. This patina has evolved into a vibrant green color, adding character and a sense of age to the statue. It serves as a reminder of the statue’s enduring presence and the countless generations of students who have passed by it, leaving their mark on the legacy of Harvard University.

John Harvard Statue


The John Harvard Statue continues to captivate visitors and students alike, inviting them to embrace the pursuit of knowledge and the spirit of learning. With its charming presence, intriguing backstory, and delightful secrets, it has become a beloved symbol of Harvard University. So, next time you find yourself strolling through Harvard Yard, be sure to pay a visit to this iconic bronze figure and uncover the enchanting world it represents.

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