A Shield by Any Other Name
Ever wonder what the Ed School's shield stands for? Although some of the exact details are a bit fuzzy (this often happens when dealing with historical material), it appears that the shield is connected to Ezekiel Cheever, a Londoner who moved to Boston in 1637 at the age of 23 and served as headmaster of the famed Boston Latin School for 38 years, until his death in 1708 at the age of 94.
His connection to Harvard is one of the fuzzy details -- some accounts say he had no connection, others say he graduated from the college in 1659, as did several of his children and grandchildren, years later. How he became connected to the Ed School, which didn't become an independent graduate school until 1920 -- 212 years after his death -- is also fuzzy, but a footnote in a 1981 article in the Harvard Library Bulletin says that when the Ed School was founded, then-Harvard President A. Lawrence Lowell and the school's first dean, Henry Holmes, thought Cheever, who spent 70 years teaching, was the "prototype of the secondary school teacher."
Because Cheever was the son of a spinner and likely did not have an official family coat of arms, Pierre de Chaignon la Rose, the designer of most of Harvard's early shields, pulled a design from the gravestone of one of Cheever's grandsons, also named Ezekiel, who was buried in Charlestown, Mass. The design was also found on embroidery made by his the elder Ezekiel's first wife, Mary Cheever.
Over the years, many of Cheever's descendents have made a name for themselves, including author Susan Cheever and former Simmons College president Daniel Cheever, M.A.T.'66, C.A.S.'71, Ed.D.'74. Perhaps most famous, however, was his son Ezekiel from his second marriage. A tailor living in Salem, Mass., the 36-year-old played a major part in the 1692 Salem Witch trials and was immortalized in Arthur Miller's play, The Crucible. His first child, Samuel, also took part, according to court papers.
Letters to the Editor