Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Please note John Harvard's shiny buckled shoe!

On 21 May 2010 I blogged here about “Tour Guides and Their Myths”. I had heard so many far fetched, untrue, misguided stories out of the mouths of local Boston tour guides that I just had to compile them into a list. At the top of my list is the myth surrounding the statue of John Harvard at Harvard Yard in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Now, I fell for this story, too, as a freshman (freshwoman?) standing there at the foot of Harvard’s esteemed benefactor. Rub the shoe for goodluck! Kiss it for extra good luck before your exam or term paper! Go ahead! It's my advice to never fall for such an enthusiatic claim from upper classmen. There is a reason they are smiling so widely when you go ahead and touch John Harvard’s foot. Check my past blog post for a clue (or check the internet, I’m not going to print it out for you).

Well, a few days ago we received our copy of the National Geographic Traveler magazine in the mail. This is the July-August 2010 Issue. On page 38 is a story about touring Harvard Square, including a little map where the famous statue is number 4 on the tour. Below it reads “….for a gander at the iconic statue of the university’s first benefactor, (4) john Harvard, whose foot visitors traditionally rub for good luck.” !!!

Well, I always thought National Geographic had the market cornered on good information for travelers. Their maps are beyond compare, their photography is excellent. But their advice? Ewwwww!

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo


  1. I never heard that one! The only story that stuck in my head was an MIT one - the one about measuring the bridge in Smoots.

  2. Greta, the Smoots story is correct! I met Oliver Smoots at one of the MIT reunions.