At the conclusion of World War II, the Harvard Law School faculty determined to build a memorial to the men lost in both the First and Second World War, and to actively preserve and display the intellectual treasures lost to the ravages of war throughout Europe. Located at the south end of our reading room in Langdell Hall, the Treasure Room would honor the loss of our Harvard Law School students and graduates. In July, 1947 plans for the Law Library’s Treasure Room were complete, with construction set to begin in September of that year. “The Treasure Room [was] dedicated to the memory of the  students and graduates of the Harvard Law School who gave their lives in World War I and World War II.” Harvard Law School Bulletin, October 1948.As you approach what is now the Caspersen Room, you will find, carved in yellow marble, the names of those 193 graduates who died in the Great War and in World War II.
To our knowledge, 198 students or graduates of the Harvard Law School have died in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and Afghanistan, while serving in the United States Armed Forces.
Every time I visit the Caspersen Room, I pause in reflection of the sacrifice our students made to our country. And I wonder, who were they? What stories lie beneath this list of names?
I recently discovered the story of one of the graduates memorialized here in the Harvard Law School Library, and thought it fitting to share on this day of remembrance.
Edward L. Grant graduated from Harvard Law School in 1909 and played major league baseball both before and after he graduated. Known by his fellow players as “Harvard Eddie”, (he also graduated from the College in 1905), Eddie Grant made his major league debut on August 4, 1905 playing for the Cleveland Naps. In subsequent years, he played for the Philadelphia Phillies and ended his professional baseball career with the New York Giants. During his time in the majors, Eddie Grant played in 990 games, with 3385 at bats, 844 hits, 399 runs, 5 homeruns and 277 RBI. He appeared in two World Series games in 1913, playing for future Hall of Famer James McGraw. At the age of 32, on October 16, 1915, he played his last game with the New York Giant, retiring to devote more time to his law practice.
Two years after leaving baseball, Eddie Grant enlisted in the United States Army where he served as a captain in the 77th Infantry Division. Edward L. Grant died on October 5, 1918 while leading a unit of the 307th Infantry Regiment of the 77th Division to the aid of the “Lost Battalion” in the Argonne Forest. In 1921, a memorial plaque in his honor was erected in center field of the Polo Grounds. A replica of the plaque was installed at Oracle Park, home of the San Francisco Giants in 2006. The plaque reads, in part, “Soldier – Scholar – Athlete”.
Edward L. Grant is buried in Plot A, Row 02, Grave 24 at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in Lorraine, France.
His is but one of 198 stories depicted by a list of names on a wall in the Harvard Law School Library. Today we honor all fallen soldiers, with particular sorrow for those of the Harvard Law School who made the ultimate sacrifice to their country. The next time you are in Cambridge, we invite you to visit the memorial dedicated to their memory.
For more information on the creation of the Harvard Law School Treasure Room and memorial: https://iiif.lib.harvard.edu/manifests/view/drs:423365743$1i
For more information on Edward “Harvard Eddie” Grant: