The First Year
To the Editor of the CRIMSON:
Will you permit the addition of a few points as to the Putnam Intercollegiate Scholastic Competition with Yale, which may modify the impression given by the news-story and editorial in today's CRIMSON?
In the first place, the examination questions, which are those for the regular divisional examination in English literature, were prepared much as usual at Harvard. The committee mentioned in the news story is the committee which has general oversight of the competition, and criticized and approved the questions for this purpose.
There is no general final examination on English literature either for all English concentrators or for candidates for honors at Yale. The Yale men therefore had to be especially selected for this competition, and to agree to take this examination. Therefore they had to know of their selection a good while ahead. Since all Seniors at Harvard who are English concentrators take this examination, there was not the same reason for selecting them long in advance, and it was the judgement of a good many representative students consulted that it would be better not to make advance announcement of their names unless shortly before the examination. But clearly it would not be fair to the Yale men to select the ten best papers out of much over a hundred at Harvard, and line them up against those of ten men who had been previously chosen at Yale. Conditions had to be made as uniform as the circumstances allowed.
The twenty papers will be judged by a "neutral" committee, consisting of Professors Osgood of Princeton, Adams of Cornell, and Potter of Brown.
This is the first year of this contest, and it is likely enough that methods may be altered another year. One thing is certain, that there can never be more hearty and generous cooperation than the English department at Yale has shown all along. Sincerely yours, John S. P. Tatlock.