"A grand conference of the H. A. A., H. A. C., H. S. C., H. N. H. S., H. F. B. C., H. V. B. C., H. V. B. B. C., H. G. C., P. S., H. B. S., H. P. C., H. C. C., A. W. C., C. T. C., and H. O. S. will be held in M. V. 11., on Monday, February 1, at 7 1-2 P.M., to concert measures for the formation of the H. S. P. V., H. S. S. V. U., and the H. I. C. societies suggested in the last issue of the Magenta."
The above paragraph appeared in the fortnightly "Magenta," the forerunner of the CRIMSON, in its issue of January 29, 1875. Just what the first list of initials stand for is not clear, only a few of the organizations having survived the ravages of 50 years, but an article in the previous edition throws some light on the last three societies.
Magenta Eagerly Read in 1875
"He who peruses the `Index' must be struck with the ingenuity of the undergraduate. The list of societies, clubs, and what not which that manual contains must inspire him with a genuine respect for our inventive powers. Close examination of the list, and full understanding of the objects of the different societies it mentions, will, however, lay us open to a grave charge, a suspicion which no ingenuity will palliate,--a charge directed against our sense of justice rather than the force of our intellect; a charge of unfairness. I have deliberated long before fully resolving to bring this notice to the readers of the Magenta. I know well how potent are the suggestions made in these columns; how eagerly they are read, and how promptly they are acted upon. But, fully conscious of the responsibility I take upon myself, I cannot refrain longer from pointing out this one-sidedness in the objects of our associations, and suggesting some remedies . . . .
Need Society to Propagate Vice
"There was once a `Bell-Fire Club' but we who call ourselves enlightened have here only the St. Paul's Society, the Society of Christian Brothren, and the Y X. The first and foremost need in Cambridge is some association representing the other side of this morality question. We incline altogether too much in one direction; we are becoming too staid, too learned. Some society which can be called `The Harvard Society for the Propagation of Vice,' or `The Harvard Society for the Suppression of Virtue in Undergraduates,' ought to be established before we become too wedded to our rut. I should recommend that the active members of this society should be undergraduates alone, but I think, at the same time, that it will be well to insure the success of the enterprise by making the members of the Faculty honorary members of the club. A certificate of membership--in short, a shingle--might be used with an appropriate device; such as a scroll, held out by angels of the "Fallen Order," provided with horns, cloven feet, and all other usual accessories. If a skull and bones were placed at the top of this shingle, I have strong reason to hope that we should receive an assurance of kindred feeling from a certain society in that college which is situated in New Haven.
Demands Antidote for Learned Clubs
"But the establishment of this association will prove our sense of justice in one direction only; we shall not be entirely free from the imputation of unfairness even when we are reaping these inestimable advantages. We shall be attacked in another quarter.
"I have said that we are getting too learned, and in support of that statement I can assert, on the word of Tom Hood, that `the Boke Man is a Dunce in being Wise.' I call for some antidote for such learned societies as the Natural History Society, the German Club, and the French Club; for the establishment, in short, of `The ignorance Club of Harvard College.' This I do not recommend; I insist upon it as a necessity. If we do not take some step in this direction, if we calmly submit to seeing the requirements for admission slowly added to, if we patiently listen to the announcement that the requirements for a degree will advance from 33 1-3 per cent to 50, next to 75, finally to 100,--if we do this, we may as well remove to Somerville at once. But the membership of the Ignorance Club I would limit; in my opinion it should be made something to be striven for, and it should consist of not more than ten or fifteen members. The editors of the College papers should, I think, have the right to the first application. This apparent partiality will probably cause some persons to feel slighted, but I assure them that the suggestion is made only from a strong desire to see those persons members of the best of clubs who are best fitted for the positions."
French Club Makes Lowell Vice-Presid
Other news of the week, according to the "Magenta" of fifty years ago included a meeting of the Freshman class in Holden Chapel to vote on the question of sending a crew to the intercollegiate regatta, a plan that was approved; the interesting statement that "Yale is interested in the welfare of our Chess Club;" the election of Mr. W. F. Weld as Captain of the Matthews Boat Club, and the election of A. L. Lowell to the second vice-presidency of the Cercle Francais.