Approximately 25 girls had to stay at Radcliffe last Saturday night, and most of them because of an Annex institution known as the sign-out book, Many of these girls were on social probation because they had either forgotten to sign in or out or signed in late some night last week.
A system of abbreviations has evolved for the book. Two of the most common are "Harry's Place" for Widener Library and a rectangular figure for the Square.
Sign-out books have their tragic aspects, Sometimes boys discover that their date, supposedly working on her thesis for the past three weeks, has signed out 15 times to Kirkland House, Jim's and "driving."
Artistic students exercise their talents with pen and ink sketches or pencil drawings of their destinations. Others criticize their friends' escorts or activities. Boys fill in the time until their dates are ready by scanning the books.
Early morning Search
When a girl forgets to sign in, the night watchman discovers the blank space on his rounds and awakens the house president who looks for the girl, usually found asleep in her room.
Sign-out books are kept for three purposes: to locate girls in case of emergency, to keep a voluntary check on the honor system, and to locate girls absent from roll call at a fire drill.
The books serve as a check on the honor system since girls who come in after curfew sign in late and girls whose nights out are limited by academic probation betray themselves by singing opt.
These books have never been more valuable than after the Cocoanut Grove fire, when frantic parents called in to find out if their daughters were safe.
Dean's Reading Matter
Each spring the head resident turns in the sign-out book to the Dean's Office. The Dean checks the books, and a few students feel the consequences the following fall.
Sign-out books average 240 pages in length for the large dorms. Each girl signs out an average of 51 times a year.
Cabot Hall is the exception; it keeps the perfect sign-out book, no comments, no abbreviations, no illustrations.