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Harvard Primps for ‘putzy’; ‘crimson’ Yodels for Ll.d.

June 14, 1934
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Alma Mater Harvard will take to her bosom Ernst F. S. “Putzy” Hanfstaengl and two other busts Hitler’s gentleman nurse is bringing with him, university spokesmen indicated today, speaking straight from the chest.

The other busts are sculptured portraits of Arthur Schopenhauer, Germany’s gloomy philosopher, which “Putzy” has earmarked for the university philosophy department, and Christopher Willabald Ritter von Gluck, music composer, which he hopes to see placed on display in the golden chapel of the Harvard Music School.

Still another bust is included among the baggage of Hitler’s piano-stroking bachelor companion and trusted lieutenant. It is a portrait of President von Hindenburg, and “Putzy” plans to offer it to the United States Military Academy at West Point, N. Y., which probably will not accept it.

But Harvard officials have made it clear that they do not intend that Hanfstaengl’s attendance at the twenty-fifth anniversary reunion of his class shall be a “bust” in the vernacular sense of the word.

“Ernst Hanfstaengl is a Harvard man,” said one member of the university administration, “and he has the same right to attend the reunion of his class as any other Harvard man. He’ll be warmly welcomed and we’re quite sure that he’ll not be annoyed or molested in any way.”


A special detail from the State Department at Washington is expected to furnish an auxiliary force to assist Harvard Yard special police and Boston and Cambridge detectives in guarding “Putzy” from molestation.

By the time Hitler’s hypnotic helper (his main job is to play Adolf to sleep) arrives in Cambridge, most of the students will have left for their homes, university aides pointed out, so that there is little likelihood of a demonstration on the part of undergraduates.

Hanfstaengl will not serve as a member of the staff of Dr. Elliott C. Cutler, chief marshal of the class of 1909, as was originally planned, but will attend the reunion as a buck-private alumnus, it was stated.

“Putzy” is now in mid-Atlantic, aboard the Europa. He sailed from Cherbourg on Monday and is expected to arrive in New York City some time Saturday.


New fuel was added to the seething fire of controvery over Hanfstaengl’s impending arrival in Cambridge by an editorial in yesterday’s Harvard Crimson, daily undergraduate publication, which suggested that the university reopen its honorary degrees list and pay “fitting tribute” to its illustrious son.

Under the heading Render unto Caesar” the Crimson suggests that not only should “Putzy” be welcomed to Cambridge, but he should be accorded honors such as have been given no German official since 1902, when Prince Henry received an honorary LL. D.

In anticipation of a “certain outcry” against its suggestion, the editorial states that when the university honored Alfred E. Smith last year it was not accused of thereby endorsing either his opinions or the Democratic Party. The editorial points out, too, that Harvard felt no cause for embarrassment in connection with the degree it gave Prince Henry when fifteen years later the United States and Germany were World War opponents.


New York City alumni of Harvard were inclined to make light of the Harvard Crimson’s editorial suggestion yesterday that Ernst F. S. Hanfstaengl be awarded an honorary degree.

“What the Crimson suggests editorially is of no moment to anyone,” said H. V. Kaltenborn, Harvard graduate, radio news commentator and former editor. “It’s a certainty that no serious consideration will be given to the proposal by the university or by anyone else.”

“It sounds to me like a hoax,” said an official of the Harvard Club, a classmate of “Putzy’s,” who asked that his name be withheld because he considered the “asinine ideas of undergraduate editors too trivial” for formal comment.

“Harvard honorary degrees are awarded with great care,” he pointed out. “They are seriously considered for many months in advance and are given only to men who bulk large in importance.

“Hanfstaengl is in no respect a person of such stature as to be a fit recipient of a Harvard honorary degree. I say this entirely apart from my personal views as to the merit of the cause with which he is now associated.”

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