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Eliot House Offers to Prospective Members Everything From Bawdy Plays to History Clubs and Birthday Feasts


The following article was written for the Crimson by David W. Lewis '35, chairman of the Eliot House Committee.

Eliot House, like its symbol, the elephant, is the largest of its kind. But, also like the elephant, it is not its physical size which makes it great. Impressive to gaze upon, it becomes even more appreciated when its inner characteristics are known.

The Tutorial staff covers many fields of concentration and is especially strong in History, English and Economics. It is often charged that one weakness in the House Plan is that the Tutors have set themselves apart. The Tutors in Eliot House, however, have gone far towards disproving this charge by encouraging informal gatherings and group conferences of men in related fields.

Also of great value are the more enduring friendships which are made, for example, in the preparation for the House play, at which the Tutors and undergraduates work day after day and then have the pleasure of seeing what their common labor has produced. This annual production of a bawdy Elizabethan play is one of the outstanding features of Eliot House and bids fair to become of more than college-wide reputation. Presented just before the Christmas holidays in the past two years, it has packed the long dining hall with audiences of over five hundred House members, professors, and guests. This year Shakespeare's Henry IV was presented on the evening of December 19, with the House Master, Professor Roger B. Merriman, in a leading role. At this occasion another Eliot House institution, the double quartet, rendered Elizabethan madrigals in true style.

Another event which promises to become a tradition, is the annual House feast on the anniversary of Charles W. Eliot's birthday, March 20. This year President Conant and Mr. John Finley, editor of the New York Times, addressed the merry gathering and it is expected that speakers of like merit will be procured every year.

There are, also, several clubs of Eliot House origin. The History Club holds meetings, open to all students, whenever it is possible to procure an authority on some subject of current interest. The Photographic Club has its dark room in the basement. Also, of course, organizations beside those peculiar to Eliot House meet from time to time in the Common rooms. The annual dances, although few in number, have been great successes, especially those coming after the Yale (or Princeton) football games and the annual Spring Dance.

The library is one of the most complete, with close to ten thousand volumes, in all fields. Concentrators in English literature, History and Economics are especially fortunate in the wide selection of books at their disposal. There are, also, for the use of House members a pool table, a ping pong table and a music room, with a small but growing library of records. The grill situated in the basement is open from noon to midnight, and serves anything from a glass of milk to a full course dinner, the charge for which goes on the term-bills.

There has been an ever increasing participation in House sports. During the past year nearly 70 per cent of the Eliot men have engaged in some form of intra-mural athletics, in addition to the large number engaged in Varsity athletics. Squash, of course, brings out the largest number of men, and it was with a good deal of pride that the House received the championship trophy at the annual feast on March 20. The touch football team (for lo, our gridsters made the Varsity teams) gained the title last fall without losing a game. The large turnouts for crew and baseball augurs well for the future.

This brief summary may, perhaps, give the reader some idea of the many activities and opportunities which Eliot House offers. But to pass over the hospitality of Professor and Mrs. Merriman would be to neglect one of the prime factors which make Eliot House life attractive and pleasant. Their sympathetic cooperation in all variety of House activity, their Senior dinners and teas go far towards creating the congenial atmosphere so essential to House success.

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