Amherst, January 31, 1890.
Life at Amherst is so entirely different from life at Harvard that it is difficult to draw a comparison between the two colleges. Amherst men live under the restraint of faculty regulations so numerous that every hour feels its burden; compulsory church and chapel, compulsory gymnasium work, and a fixed allowance of absences from recitations, keeps the hand of the governing body continually before the students. The result is only partially successful; men feel in duty bound to take the full limit of allowed absences from recitations, and are continually striving to invent means to avoid their other compulsory tasks, a course which tends towards anything but broad thought and careful work.
The college has practically no dormitories, so that the students are obliged to find rooms in houses about the town. The result is that they have gathered themselves together into a large number of Greek letter fraternities, most of which are incorporated by state and own tasty Society houses. Naturally, this society life, while extremely pleasant, has the effect of forming just so many cliques; and of preventing a large acquaintance throughout the college. The rivalry which exists between the societies has worked for much harm in athletics as well as in the publication of the various under-graduate periodicals. This feeling between the fraternities has, however, fostered the interest in oratorical contests so that it is considered a great honor at Amherst to be selected as eligible to compete for the prizes offered by the college.
The facilities for education at Amherst are excellent. The college takes a particular pride in its large collection of plaster casts of ancient and modern sculpture which is second to none in the United States except the one in Boston. For this museum of fine art the college is indebted to Professor Richard H. Martin, who started the collection in 1874, and has been untiring in his efforts to enlarge it ever since. The chemical laboratory is not up to the modern standard, but in all the other departments of learning, ample opportunity is offered for work. The faculty. under President Seelye, is composed of men renowned for their wide learning.
In athletics, Amherst has always stood well. The chances for her base-ball team for the coming year, however, are not considered good. The college feels somewhat chagrined because some of its best men have gone to Brown and also because, as it is rumored, Brown has hired several professional players for the coming season. The college supports no crews but recalls with pride the year when Amberst won a race from both Harvard and Yale; the shell in which that race was rowed, now almost in splinters, is placed as a memento in the drill hall of the Agricultural college. The Athletic association numbers among its members many men well-known at the Mott Haven games, A large team will be sent to Boston to take part in the B. A. A. meeting in Mechanics Hall during the present month. The record of the foot-ball team last year was good.