The Harvard Drum – Bertha

Harvard University Band’s bass drum, is towed on wheels and measures approximately 8 feet across. She’s big enough to have her own name, “Bertha”. It is the largest playable natural skin bass drum in the world (made from cow’s hide). In the past, Bertha was the target of thefts by the rival bands from Yale and Brown. In 1963, the giant drumstick used to sound rhythm on Bertha was spirited away during the second half of the Columbia game at Harvard’s home stadium.

First purchased for $1,500 in 1928 and thumped for 27 years until replace by a similar giant. The drum has been depicted on various Ivy League Football Program covers over the years including this Harvard Brown Program from 1954:

And in 1952 on a Brown v. Harvard Program:

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