Shrink Harvard down to one eleventh its size and you will have Winthrop House: the statistical and spiritual average of the college.
For its 22 years as a formal house, Winthrop has tried to keep that balance between scholar, esthete, and athlete. And by in large it has succeeded in maintaining an equilibrium between geographical and scholastic extremes.
Some call Winthrop the home of the Crimson athlete, and they say that a Puritan scholar is a rare bird. This is a gross exaggeration. They are partially right, however, if they acknowledge that while a Winthrop man is known sooner for his letter sweater than for his letter grades the majority of Winthrop's athletes are good students!
Probably the house's strongest characteristic is that it has no strong characteristic. Housemaster Ronald M. Ferry has tried for his 22 years as housemaster to equate Winthrop with the college norm. The result is that what might be said about the College in general might also be said about Winthrop, though one finds that T-shirts usually outnumber tie-clips in the house library.
Winthrop's share of Phi Betas is small and so is her list of group six students. She has men on every major team and stays in the middle of Straus competition. Even the seven Puritan seniors elected to this year's 12-man Class Committee represent a cross section.
Athletes to the contrary, there are no high-powered pressure groups. No almighty clique exists to dictate house policy. Indeed, it is often surprising that Winthrop's work ever gets done. The easy-going and friendly atmosphere lets the house go its way with a surprising lack of direction.
A Tadpole Society and a group calling themselves the Friends of Harvard Tradition appeared momentarily on the Winthrop scene, but vanished as quickly as they had come. The house has a minimum of such groups. Generally students are delighted to eat, sleep, and relax within the walls of Standish and Gore halls and go outside for other amusements.
Its tutors are a convivial bunch who would rather eat with the undergraduates than their contemporaries. Once a week they eat en masse with the Housemaster and Allston Burr Senior Tutor Daniel Cheever, but have a habit of drifting off to undergraduate tables afterwards. Though tutorial strength easily changes, and with it the number of concentrators, Winthrop has a strong Government staff and Government is the most popular major in the house.
The Puritan inmates live within unpretentious brick walls which aren't covered with Ivy. The rooms are large, aired by breezes from the Charles, and only six minutes from the Yard. No showers. During the winter the river can be seen through the bare trees lining Memorial Drive. Leaves make it more difficult to catch sight of the practicing crews during spring and fall.
For all its lack of radical individuality, Winthrop proudly points to superintendent Gordon Ramey and his assistant Dan Cannon. The super's super, Ramey knows everyone in the house by sight. And Cannon is Ireland's gift to tired Winthrop furniture. Here a nail and there a nail and between the two forty-year-old Gore and Standish Halls never show their age.
Ramey cares for the third largest house and the only one with a housemaster who began with the House Plan in 1932. By and large his 1380 charges go their own way, unresponsive to pressures and content to get out of Winthrop exactly what they put in.
Some even claim that Winthrop resembles the illustrious Schmoo created by Al Capp. It fits any occasion: broil it for chicken and fry it for steak. In essence, the Schmoo is friendly and productive and antagonizes no one.
Present size of house: 378
Vacancies for Freshmen: 134
Types of rooms available: 2 singles, 20 doubles, 16 triples, 8 quadruples, 2 quintuples.
Price range of available rooms per man per term: Singles, $160-240; doubles, $115-240; triples, $150-205; quadruples, $155-195; quintuples, $115-170.