War Clouds Hung Over Class of '15; Athletes Scored Despite 'Indifference'
"No sensible man will today attempt to prove that war in the future is inevitable," stated a CRIMSON editorial in March, 1915. In three editorials published that week, the newspaper took a strong stand against the proposed summer military camps, for which 56 juniors and seniors had volunteered.
On Tag Day, December 9, 1914, the Class of '15 collected funds to buy ambulances for the use of five foreign powers: England, Belgium, France, Austria, and Germany. On May 30, Lionel de Jersey Harvard '15 was killed in action while fighting with the Grenadier Guards of the British Army.
Although the war threatened every graduate of the Class of '15, social and college activities offered ample diversion from the trouble overseas.
'Athletics for All'
"Athletics for all" was a frequent rallying cry the year that Harvard slaughtered Yale 36-0. The CRIMSON strongly advocated that eight o'clock classes replace the "two-thirty,' so that more men might participate in afternoon sports. To facilitate the change, it was also advised that chapel-"if it must be made attractive"-be changed from 8:45 to 10:45 a.m.
Although Harvard played championship hockey and baseball in '15, the men of the College were berated for "Harvard Indifference." The castigation came to a head when the baseball team trounced Princeton 3-0 "without the aid of a single organized cheer."
Dr. Frank J. Sexton left his post as head baseball coach that year. According to his letter of resignation; the Harvard Athletic Association had sent coaches to do his work without permission.
The Henry Elkins Widener Memorial Library, then housing 1,140,000 books and 700,000 pamphlets was dedicated the day the Class of 1915 graduated. During the same year, the finishing touches were also put to the Lars Anderson bridge, the CRIMSON building, and the Dudley Memorial Gate. And the CRIMSON questioned --apologizing for bringing up an old issue --"Is Sever Safe?"
Less Work for Goodies
The year that tuition was raised from $150 to $200, the CRIMSON put forth the bold suggestion that college goodies exchange brooms for vacuum cleaners, "Which sort the particles out of the very depths of one's Axminster for good."
Harvard's 18 clubs and six fraternities signed an agreement not to recruit any undergraduate before the fourth Monday of his Sophomore year, in order "to preserve the unity of the freshman class." J.T.L. Jeffries '15 presided over the Union Forum on the question: "Resolved, that beer shall not be served at class functions;" the vote was a tie.
A more serious forum was held in the spring. The question was whether Harvard men should participate in summer military camps. Proponents of the camps won, 48-36, claiming that camps were beneficial to the individual and that the country needed a stronger armament.
On the other side, influential anti-militarists spoke here during '14's final year. G.B.R. Lunn, mayor of Schenectady and the first Socialist mayor in New York State, told his audience that "primarily and finally the socialists are against war."
Miss Jane Addams, of Hull House in Chicago, and president of the National Women's Peace Party, urged at her March 9 lecture on "International Peace" that the United States be "the champion of mediation without armistice."
Late in May the CRIMSON posted a petition, in effect a vote of confidence, to be sent to President Wilson. It advised that the University "does not approve pyrotechnic patriotism," but that President Wilson needed spiritual support "in this time of stress and storm."
On June 24, the Class of '15 marched behind President Lowell in the grand processional which ended their four years at Harvard. Marching with the Class were Christian. A. Herter, later a governor of Massachusetts and U.S. Secretary of State; John Rock, now Clinical Professor of Gynecology Emeritus; and edward estlin cummings, who that day delivered an oration on "The New Art."