World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

The Harvard Lampoon

The Harvard Lampoon
The Harvard Lampoon building on the night of its 100th Anniversary celebration. Designed by Edmund M. Wheelwright.
Categories Humor magazine
Year founded 1876, Harvard University
Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts
Language English
Website .comharvardlampoon

The Harvard Lampoon is an undergraduate humor publication founded in 1876 by seven undergraduates at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


  • Overview 1
  • History 2
  • Rivalry with The Harvard Crimson 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


The Harvard Lampoon publication was founded in 1876 by seven undergraduates at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts who were inspired by popular magazines like Punch (1841) and Puck (1871).[1][2] Without counting breaks during World War I and World War II, The Harvard Lampoon is the world's second longest continually published humor magazine (after Nebelspalter).

Lampy posing in an image from an 1886 Lampoon

The organization also produces occasional humor books (the best known being the 1969 National Lampoon, begun by Harvard Lampoon graduates in 1970.

The Lampoon publishes five issues annually. In 2006, the Lampoon began regularly releasing content on their website, including pieces from the magazine and web-only content. In 2009, the Lampoon published a parody of Twilight called Nightlight, which is a New York Times bestseller.[3] In February 2012, the Lampoon released a parody of The Hunger Games called The Hunger Pains.[4][5] It is also a New York Times bestseller.[6]

Lampoon's Ibis Mascot c.1888

The organization is housed a few blocks from Harvard Square in a small mock-Flemish castle, the Harvard Lampoon Building.

The Lampoon is known for its bacchanalian parties, which can result in smashed plates and furniture. The Lampoon's affairs are administered by Harvard Lampoon, Inc., whose Board of Graduate Trustees includes such people as James Murdoch, Ted Widmer, and Bill Oakley.[7] Robert K. Hoffman, co-founder of the National Lampoon and major donor to the Dallas Museum of Art was a Trustee until his death in 2006, and was declared a Trustee "Ad-Infinitum" a year later.


The 1885 Lampoon staff includes several notables, such as philosopher G. Santayana and newspaperman W.R. Hearst
Title Dingbat from an 1886 Lampoon

The Harvard Lampoon was first published in 1876 by seven founders including Ralph Wormeley Curtis, Edward Sandford Martin, Edmund March Wheelwright, and Arthur Murray Sherwood,[8] (who was the father of Robert E. Sherwood).[9] The Lampoon and its sensibility have been an especially important expression of American humor and comedy since the late 1960s. An important line of demarcation came when Lampoon editors Douglas Kenney and Henry Beard wrote the Tolkien parody Bored of the Rings. The success of this book and the attention it brought its authors led directly to the creation of the National Lampoon magazine, which spun off a live show Lemmings, and then a radio show in the early 1970s, The National Lampoon Radio Hour which featured such performers as Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer and Chevy Chase.

Writers from these shows were subsequently hired to help create Saturday Night Live. This was the first in a line of many TV shows that Lampoon graduates went on to write for, including The Simpsons, Futurama, Saturday Night Live, Late Night with David Letterman, Seinfeld, Friends, The League, NewsRadio, The Office, 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation and dozens of others. An old copy of the magazine was shown in the fourth season finale of NewsRadio, and referred to as the "nefarious scandal sheet."

Cartoon by philosopher G. Santayana, Harvard class of 1886

Lampoon alumni include such comedians as John Updike, and William Gaddis. Actor Fred Gwynne was a cartoonist at the Lampoon and became its president.

Celebrities often visit the Lampoon to be inducted as honorary members of the organization. Past guests include Tony Hawk, Bill Cosby, Robin Williams, Tracey Ullman, John Cleese, Jay Leno, Winston Churchill, Aerosmith, Adam Sandler, Billy Crystal, the cast of Saturday Night Live, Sarah Silverman, and John Wayne.

Rivalry with The Harvard Crimson

The Lampoon has a long-standing rivalry with Harvard's student newspaper,

1886 example of Crimson-teasing by Lampoon editor T.P. Sanborn

A noted event in the history of the LampoonCrimson rivalry was the Crimson's 1953 theft of the Lampoon Castle's ibis statue and presentation of it as a gift to the government of the Soviet Union.[10][11]

On September 27, 2011, the Lampoon stole the Harvard Crimson President's Chair and had it used as a prop on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.[12]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "The Last Laugh," Boston Globe Magazine, March 11, 2001.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ The Alumni - September-October '97 - Reading Homer
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^

External links

  • The Harvard Lampoon
  • Hathi Trust. Harvard Lampoon (1876- )
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.