It takes a really clever student to make a first rate "boner", according to M. S. Balch '25, instructor and tutor who has made a private collection of "howlers", culled from themes submitted in English A. Mr. Balch called attention to the imagination brought to bear in a theme about the Great Emancipator, by a Freshman Gamaliel Bradford who wrote, "Abe Lincoln, his big feet more than filling the shoes of his weak-kneed predecessor, Buchanan, stepped into that gay, social whirl of guile and graft at Washington with a threatening warcloud darkening the Southern horizon." Another budding historian explained that "Queen Elizabeth was by this time firmly entrenched on her throne."
"After leaving school, some men go to college, some to work, and a few to Harvard," declared, one essayist. "When these few get to Cambridge they spend most of their time fighting for 'dear old Alma Martyr, taking Physics and studying objects that can be described as 'completely globular in every dimension,' and reading scenes from Shakespeare's 'Twelfth-Knight'" ... or so the section men might be led to believe.
Big business men have been referred to as "magnets", making Andrew Mellon an aluminum magnet. Boswell was Samuel Johnson's "iodizer", Chicago politics have fallen into the hands of the "rum-running racquet." Then there is the yearly appearance of the "illustrated man", while a self description has been titled "An Autobiological Sketch."
Most Freshmen have a secret yearning to write themes on "How to Sail a Boat", "Why the United States Should Preserve Her, Forests", and .... yes, "How to Write a Theme." All in all, it's small wonder that English A professors to quote another theme, become at times "non-plushed."