The newly-revived Harvard Memorial Society will soon adorn each Yard dorm with room plaques commemorating all former occupants.
W.C. Burriss Young '55, assistant dean of Freshman and one of three advisors, yesterday described the project as the first major undertaking of the new historical society.
Mark D. Maloney '76, the society's president, said yesterday that plans are not limited to Yard plaques. Since last Fall, the society has entertained speakers and visited nearby historical sites. "House plaques, pamphlets citing each dorm's colorful past and outings are all on the agenda," he said.
The Yard plaque project, which requires much research, temporarily limits other plans. In response to a Harvard Gazette announcement and individual notices, the society has received over 500 letters fondly recalling the "Yard years."
Most alumni expressed delight that they too will be listed--the greats and the not-so-greats. Richard E. Wolf '35 wrote, "Please see that Stoughton 28 has my name on the wall. Thanks."
The society's predecessors of 1895 and 1936 were responsible for the first Yard plaques to which many of the letters referred. Michael J. Halberstam '53 noted in a postscript: "I spent most of my freshman year reading the old lists. I became such an expert on names that I suspect that was one reason I nearly flunked out."
Beneath gilt letter-heads, scribbled diagrams indicated floor plans with University Hall or bathtub gin stills as reference points. James W. Spring Jr. '35 recalls his Wigglesworth F-11 roommate "Lewis A. DeBlois '35 took Chemistry...hence the still in the extra john. (He also caused the bell in the Catholic Church to ring thirteen but that was during his sophomore year!)"
Other replies were more exuberant. David B. Abernethy '59 looks forward to his name "emblazoned on a jewel-studded gold plaque."