Pusey, Nathan M. (Nathan Marsh), 1907-2001Variant names
Nathan Marsh Pusey (1907-2001) was the twenty-fourth president of Harvard University from 1953 to 1971. He was also president of Lawrence College (1944-1953), president of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (1971-1975), and president of the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia (1978-1983). Pusey's tenure as president was defined by new building construction, greater fundraising, and struggles with student protestors.
From the description of Papers of Nathan Marsh Pusey, 1860, 1907, ca. 1915-2001. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 249205687
Pusey graduated from Harvard in 1928 and served as President of Harvard University from 1953 to 1971.
From the description of Papers of Nathan Marsh Pusey, 1931-1978 (inclusive). (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 76972588
From the description of Reminiscences of Nathan Marsh Pusey : oral history, 1983. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 122527193
Nathan Marsh Pusey is born in Council Bluffs, Iowa
Graduates from Abraham Lincoln High School; enters Harvard University
Earns Harvard A.B., magna cum laude. Travels to Europe, mainly France and Italy.
Teaches at Riverdale Country Day School (Bronx, New York)
Studies ancient cultures in Greece
Earns Harvard M.A. Attends the American School of Classical Study in Athens, Greece, as an Archibald Cary Coolidge Fellow
Begins teaching career at Lawrence College (Appleton, Wisconsin)
1936 June 10:
Marries Anne Woodward; the couple eventually has three children: Nathan Marsh, James Reeve, and Rosemary
Earns Harvard Ph.D. in ancient history
1938- 1940: Assistant Professor of History and Literature at Scripps College (Claremont, California)
1940- 1944: Serves as Associate Professor of Classics at Wesleyan University (Middletown, Connecticut) Teaches physics to naval aviation students as part of the War effort
1944- 1953: Serves as eleventh president of Lawrence College (Appleton, Wisconsin).
Challenges Senator Joe McCarthy's claims of communist infiltration of the United States Government
1953- 1971: Serves as twenty-fourth president of Harvard University
1971- 1975: Serves as President of the Andrew F. Mellon Foundation
Room at Memorial Church is dedicated to Nathan M. Pusey and his wife, Anne (this room is refurbished and rededicated in 1994)
1976 May 1:
Pusey Library is dedicated
1979- 1983: Serves as President of the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia
The Nathan M. Pusey Professorship in East Asian Studies established at Lawrence University
2001 November 24:
Nathan Marsh Pusey dies at the age of 94
Nathan Marsh Pusey (1907-2001) was the twenty-fourth President of Harvard University from 1953 to 1971. He was also President of Lawrence College (1944-1953), President of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (1971-1975) and President of the United Board of Christian Higher Education in Asia (1978-1983). Pusey's tenure as President of Harvard University was defined by the construction of new buildings, expanded fundraising, and emergence of student unrest and the social activism of the late 1960s.
Nathan Marsh Pusey was born on April 4, 1907 at Council Bluffs, Iowa, to John Marsh Pusey (1866-1908) and Rosa (Drake) Pusey (1877-1947). Pusey's father died when he was a year old, leaving his mother, a school teacher, to raise Pusey and her two other children, John and Esther.
An excellent student, Pusey attended the Abraham Lincoln High School and became editor of the school paper, President of the Philomathian Literary Society, a member of the debating club, basketball team, and President of the Junior Class. Entering Harvard University on a Charles Elliott Perkins Scholarship, Pusey was known for his methodical work habits and scholarship. He was selected to the Dean's List for four years and elected to the Harvard chapter of Phi Betta Kappa his senior year.
Pusey's post-graduate activities consisted of a trip to Europe (1929), teaching at the Riverdale Country Day School in the Bronx, New York City (1929), spending a summer studying Greek (1931), and attending the American School of Classical Study in Athens, Greece, as an Archibald Cary Coolidge Fellow (1932).
Pusey began a teaching career as a sophomore tutor at Lawrence College in 1935. He moved on to Scripps College in 1938 as an Assistant Professor of history and literature. Later, Pusey became a professor of Greek and ancient history at Wesleyan University (1940), where in addition to his history instruction, Pusey taught physics to naval aviation students during World War II.
Pusey's organizational abilities and administrative skills were recognized when he was elected President of Lawrence College in 1944. At Lawrence College, Pusey increased the endowment, enhanced faculty benefits, and improved the curriculum by adding a new course, Freshman Studies, which emphasized the discussion of ideas through the study of classic works of literature, art, and music.
Under Pusey's stewardship, Harvard University grew. Faculty and administrative ranks increased from 3000 to 8500, student enrollment rose from 10,000 to 15,000, and Summer and Extension School enrollment expanded from 4,400 to 10,000. The operating budget of the University increased from $39 million to $200 million.
Pusey's years at Harvard University were not without controversy or difficulty. Towards the end of his tenure, the student movements that were having an impact worldwide also came to Harvard. Campus unrest, centered chiefly on protests against the Vietnam War and Harvard's expansion came to a head in 1969. Pusey took a dim view of student demonstrations and sit-ins and was regularly attacked by students and the Harvard Crimson. For Pusey, the ideals of reason and civility on campus were being threatened and had to be protected. In April 1969, when dozens of students took over University Hall to protest the presence of the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) on campus and forcibly evicted the Deans, Pusey engaged the police, wearing riot gear, to remove the protesters. The scene of the police battling students was broadcast on television and viewed around the world, drastically altering perceptions of Pusey's administration and overshadowing its many accomplishments. Pusey announced in February 1970 his intention to retire.
After his Harvard Presidency, Pusey lent his name, time, and administrative talents to several charitable organizations. Pusey served four years as President of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (1971-1975) and was President of the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia from 1979 to 1983. He also served on the boards of many charities including Fountain House, a charity that counsels the mentally ill. In addition to his charitable work, Pusey was an active member of the Episcopal Church, a member of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches, and Chairman of the Fund for Theological Education.
Nathan Pusey led Harvard University during a time of rapid growth and turbulent change. He guided Harvard's post-war transformation and expansion, helped to build the faculty, improved student financial aid, and expanded undergraduate education. Pusey was remembered by his friends and colleagues as a caring and warm person, who made an enormous difference in strengthening every aspect of College life.
Nathan Marsh Pusey died in New York City on November 24, 2001 at the age of 94.
Nathan Marsh Pusey married Anne Woodward Pusey (1914-2004) on June 10, 1936. They had three children: Nathan Marsh (b. 1937), James Reeve (b. 1940), and Rosemary (b. 1942).
- Nathan Pusey, former Harvard President, The Boston Globe, 15 November 2001.
- Nathan Pusey dies at 94: Harvard's twenty-fourth president served University for almost two decades. Harvard University Gazette, 15 November 2001.
- Smullyan, Deborah. Pusey, Nathan Marsh, American National Biography OnlineMarch 2007.
- Nathan Marsh Pusey. Current Biography. 1953.
- Joshua E. Gewolb. Through the Looking Class: Pusey Recalls His Presidency. The Harvard Crimson, 28 November 2000,p. 5.
- Harvard Class of 1928: Twenty-fifth Anniversary Report. Cambridge, Massachusetts: President and Fellows of Harvard College, 1953.
- Harvard Class of 1928: Fiftieth Anniversary Report. Cambridge, Massachusetts: President and Fellows of Harvard College, 1978.
- The Pusey Years at Harvard: a Biographical Sketch of Nathan M. Pusey, President of Harvard University, 1953-1971. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University News Office,1971.
- A Salute to the Pusey Years, 1953-1971. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Printing Office, .
Below is a list of the members of the Nathan Marsh Pusey Family. Each is preceded by their relationship to him.
- Parents and Siblings
- Father: John Marsh Pusey (1866-1908)
- Mother: Rose (Drake) Pusey (1877-1947)
- Sister: Esther Natalia Pusey (1904-1991); married [unknown] Briggs; Elgin E. Leach
- Brother: John Drake Pusey (1905-1966); married Margaret L. Jarvis in 1926
- Spouses and children
- Wife: Anne (Woodward) Pusey (1914-2004)
- Son: Nathan Marsh (b. 1937); married Elizabeth Davidson
- Son: James Reeve (b. 1940); married Anne Wang
- Daughter: Rosemary (b. 1942); married David S. Hopkins in 1965
- Father-in-law: Carleton Hutchins Woodward
- Mother-in-law: Hortense Forsyth Woodward (1885-1973?)
- Brother-in-law: Carleton Hutchins Woodward, Jr. (1917-1999?)
- Sister-in-law: Joan Woodward (Mrs. James L. Linehan, Jr.)
From the guide to the Papers of Nathan Marsh Pusey, 1860, 1907, ca. 1915-2001., (Harvard University Archives)
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