The 1925 Red Book is noteworthy in one respect at least--it is both better and worse than any of its predecessors. A brief explanation of this somewhat startling statement is distinctly necessary. In perfection of photographs and make-up, the record of this year's book has rarely, if ever, been equalled; book has rarely, if ever, been equalled; but--the drawings are nothing less than horrible--with one or two exceptions, and no amount of verbal whitewash would suffice to hide the fact. Such frankness may not be pleasant, but it is at least justified by the facts.
The Red Book of one class, for perfectly obvious reasons, is as much like the Red Book of the year before as the Telephone Book for "Fall and Winter" is like that for "Spring and Summer" Differences are all largely a matter of degree. Therefore, when an editor manages to introduce a new feature, that has the seldom joined virtues of being novel and at the same time consistent with a somewhat conservative University tradition, he has indeed done something of which he may be proud. The Red Book Committee has not made any radical changes--and in that it has shown its great wisdom, for the tendency of young editors of such year-books is to discard all that the experience of many years has shown to be of value. On the contrary it has apparently sought to improve what has been poor in former volumes. For instance, nearly all the group pictures have been made larger, with the result that even in the class group it is possible to recognize nearly every person. More care has been taken in selecting the action and artistic pictures for the book, and few have been included that have not real merit. One innovation seems to me to be in rather poor taste--the makeup pages on pages 210 and 211 of which the like have never before appeared in a Harvard publication, smack entirely too much of prep-schoolishness. They do not fit at all, and to make matters worse are poorly executed.
I have already condemned the drawings in a rather general sentence. As I have said, they are to put it mildly, mediocre. There are exceptions, however, particularly in the work of Mr. Raymond, Mr. Child's Prologue is also deserving of mention, although he can do and has done better work. It would seem that the committee in their zealous attempts to improve the photographs, almost invariably of a poor quality heretofore, had let the art department slip a little from the high standards of its predecessors. The drawings of last year's book for instance, made the volume stand out above those of former years, that of the present year practically takes away the effect of the improvement brought about in other departments.
The Red Book will fulfill its greatest purpose this year better than ever. The Boston debutante looking up that man she met at the last "Brattle" or the busy tradesman seeking the address of the man who has owed him $23.13 since last February will meet with more success that in former years, if a somewhat superficial examination of the class list does not give a wrong impression. This most difficult and least spectacular part of the work of publication seems to have been done with unusual thoroughness and accuracy, much to the credit of the committee.
In publishing the Class Song and the Class Hymn, the committee has perpetuated some excellent musical compositions--all things being considered--and some words to those compositions, of which the authors will be heartily ashamed in about three years. The line, "full of the pep, that has made Harvard's rep" in the song is beyond words--and we hold no particular brief for the words of the Hymn--"for God, for Harvard, and for "greatest anticlimax ever written", perpetrated a number of years ago by a devout Eli. We reiterate, however, that the music is good--but then we don't know anything about music