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At Colledge.2 A Clowdy, Dull morning, and so continued till about 5 a Clock, when it began to rain
m[o]derately But continued not long, But remained Clowdy all night in which night I watched
1. The first day of the first quarter of the 1753–1754 academic year (MH-Ar: Steward’s Records, Quarterbill Books, 1720–1756). For a discussion of the impulses
and influences leading JA to start a diary record at this time, the beginning of his third or junior sophister
year at Harvard, see Introduction, p. 32–34.
2. During his last three years in college JA lived in the “lowermost northwest chamber” of Massachusetts Hall, then designated
as No. 3, subsequently No. 19. In his sophomore year just completed, he shared these
quarters with Thomas Sparhawk ’55; as both junior and senior sophister he had as his
roommate Joseph Stockbridge ’55. (MH-Ar: Faculty Records, District Reports, 1st ser., 1752–1755.)
3. Peter Powers (1728–1800), Harvard 1754, came from Hollis, N.H., and lived in Massachusetts 4; he became the
first minister of Newbury, Vt, and, later, of Deer Isle, Maine (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 13:472–478).
The meaning of the phrase “watched with Powers” is susceptible of several interpretations.
Commonly, to “watch with” meant to remain awake at the bedside of a sick person (see
OED). One could also “watch” the heavens through a telescope with a fellow student, as
JA later remembered doing with his classmate David Sewall “from the Roof of old Harvard Colledge [i.e. Hall]” (JA to Benjamin Waterhouse, 17? Aug. 1817, MHi:Adams-Waterhouse Coll.). But since the weather “remained Clowdy all night,” this
interpretation hardly seems applicable. Finally, there was a local Harvard meaning
for “watch,” meaning to retain, by permission, a light in one’s study for as much
as two hours beyond the required 9 p.m. student retiring hour (Morison, Three Centuries of Harvard, p. 28).
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014.