A chain letter promising $320 to its buyers swept through the Yard Monday night and is now descending upon the Houses.
Although this letter is circulated by hand in an effort to circumvent Postal law, a Post Office spokesman pronounced the scheme "positively and irrevocably illegal" because it involves sending pay-off checks through the mall. The checks, said the spokesman, are part of the plan and as a result the whole transaction is against Postal law.
Regardless of how the checks are passed on, the letter is still a violation of Massachusetts General Law, which states that any form of lottery or solicitation for money is illegal.
The letter, calling itself the 320 Club, claims to be a no-risk investment because the buyer reclaims his original investment of $20 by selling two letters.
The Yard was in a frenzy Monday night. By midnight most of the freshmen had at least heard of the letter if they had not been drawn in by it. One Yardling reported that he was solicited for the letter twice while walking across the Yard.
Yesterday morning there were reports of winnings of more than $100, but most freshman participants found that the market was already glutted.
The letter is now being passed around the Houses and parts of it have been moved to Tufts and Boston Universities. Copies of it were mimeographed on the Adams House mimeograph machine in order to speed sales.
The letter originated at Tulane University in New Orleans last summer. It came to Harvard from Stanford University in California over the spring recess.