Labor Fellow Eyes Hatless Harvard, Blames Lack of Racks for Bare Pates
Own Delinquent Hat Cited As Evidence for His Theory
The Mad Hatter of Alice's Wonderland had nothing on Ed Wagenfeld of Local 45 of the United Hatters, Cap and Millinery Workers International Union. But this latter day hatter, who divides his time between Adams House and Littauer as one of the fellows under Harvard's Trade Union plan, isn't eccentric like Lewis Carroll's haberdasher. He's just peeved; peeved at "hatless Harvard." Hats are bread and butter to Mr. Wagenfeld. Harvard men care very much for bread and butter; very little for hats.
"My experience at Harvard has brought me face to face with the hater's major problem," he wrote in an article entitled "He Learns About Hatlessness at Harvard," which appeared in the official organ of his union, a newspaper called The Hat Worker. Naturally it pained Wagenfeld, striding through the Yard with his chapeon at a rakish angle, to see fair haired, bare-haired boys appear from behind every tree and building.
No Hat, No Interview
There was every reason why this nakedness of tousled Crimson craniums should aggrieve Wagenfeld. Hatlessness is considered second only to sweat shops in the hat worker's catalogue of sins. Evidence of this is Wagenfeld's boast about the sign at the information window of the International office reading, "Our staff has been instructed not to give interviews to people not wearing hats."
Wagenfeld was annoyed and a little discouraged. Hope seemed to lie only in an early frost which would necessitate some sort of headgear. But November came, and it was the same as September; la tete couverte was still in a minority.
Wagenfeld looked at bareheaded Harvard men on the way from Adams to Littauer till he couldn't stand it any longer. Then he asked himself "Why the hatlessness at Harvard" The fruit of these mental labors was Wagenfeld's theory of the causes of Harvard hatlessness.
The theory was simple, beautifully simple. But let Wagenfeld tell it: "On
the third day of my stay in Cambridge I found the answer. At my first lecture I found my seat and tried to make myself comfortable. It was at this moment that the Harvard hat problem hit me kerplunk in the face.
"There was a lack of provisions for disposal of hats. My hat rolled off the arm of the chair; it rolled off my lap; it was on the floor more often than in my possession; it was a nuisance and distraction all through the class.
"How could I blame Harvard men for failing to wear hats when I was so annoyed with my own. It wasn't the students' fault, but the architects', for failing to provide facilities to dispose of headgear during lectures and classes."
So The Cause was determined: Sever and Harvard and Emerson suffered from a hook and rack paucity. But the problem, in all its ugly bareness, still exists. And what does it bode for the future?
Wagenfeld is worried. "Hatlessness in universities leads to hatlessness elsewhere. The college man of today is the business executive of tomorrow. The habits they form in college may stay with them in later years. That is the lesson I learned on my first day in class at Harvard." Is the hat gone to stay