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American Experience; Murder at Harvard



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American Experience
Murder at Harvard
Program Number


Series Description

Premiered October 1988 As television's longest-running, most-watched history series, American Experience brings to life the incredible characters and epic stories that helped form this nation. Now in its eighteenth season, the series has produced over 180 programs and garnered every major broadcast award. Series release date: 10/1988

Program Description

In November 1849, Dr. George Parkman, one of Boston's richest citizens, suddenly disappeared. The physician had last been seen walking towards the Harvard Medical College. Many suspected Parkman had been robbed and murdered by a poor Irish immigrant, but the Harvard Medical School's janitor thought differently. He spent two grueling nights tunneling beneath a basement laboratory looking for clues, and what he discovered horrified Boston and led to one of the most sensational trials in American history. Based on a book by historian Simon Schama, "Murder at Harvard" uses drama and documentary to re-examine this grisly episode and to uncover why, though a guilty verdict was handed down, the case has forever remained unresolved. Schama plays a key role in the film as a "time- traveling" detective who puts himself in the place of the story's central characters. Weighing and sifting the evidence, he probes the lingering mysteries that have puzzled so many for more than 150 years.



Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Chicago: “American Experience; Murder at Harvard,” 02/28/2003, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed April 22, 2019, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_1ADA4342BE184DA7951F89485BEC5107.
MLA: “American Experience; Murder at Harvard.” 02/28/2003. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. April 22, 2019. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_1ADA4342BE184DA7951F89485BEC5107>.
APA: American Experience; Murder at Harvard. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_1ADA4342BE184DA7951F89485BEC5107
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