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Tercentenary Column

Long Hair Denied Beer Drinking Undergraduate of 17th Century

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

Complaints registered by Roxbury citizens with the colonial magistrates protested that the "youth of the colledg" by cultivation of long locks had started a fashion which was spreading to the pulpits of the colonial churches, "to the griefe and offence of many Godly hearts in the Country."

A college ruling of 1655 declared that "neither shall it bee lawful for any student to weare long haire, Locks or foretops, nor...to use Curling, Crisping, parting or powdering their haire."

Furthermore the student was ordered not "to goe out of his chamber without coate, gowne or cloake, and everyone, everywhere, shall weare modest and sober habit, without strange ruffianlike or newfangled fashiond, without lavish Dresse or excesse of apparel whatsoever".

Bred on Beer

Beer was practically the only beverage used during the college's first century. Fifty-five undergraduates, consumed on the average of 270 barrels of beer a year. It was drunk at all meals as water was considered unwholesome. Breakfast known as "morning bever" consisted of beer and a chunk of bread. "Afternoon bever" preceded prayers at five o'clock in the afternoon.

In addition two meals were served daily; dinner at 11.30 o'clock and supper at 7.30 o'clock. A watchful steward was on hand during meals to prevent second helpings or "extra-ordinary Commons" except by permission of the president and two fellows.

One of the student privileges was to wear hats while eating. The severest punishment for such misdemeanors as profaneness and card-playing was "having one's Commons sitting alone by oneself and uncovered".

Not able to get their fill of beer at the Commons, students usually congregated in a tavern and bakery owned by a Mrs. Vashti Bradish. Complaints to President Dunster accused Mrs. Bradish of harboring students "unreasonably spending their time and parents estate". Not wishing Mrs. Bradish's innocent calling to be discouraged, the president made an agreement that she should not serve students with more than a pennyworth at a time, or more than twice a week on the average.

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