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Volume Unearthed in Archives of Widener Reveals Quaint 18th Century Rules


Volumes in Widener marker H. U. in the card index are kept in a mysterious place known as the Archives, from which it is very difficult to get them.

Somewhere in the archives there is an old book entitled "Humorous Verses and Sketches Relating to Harvard College." Attracted perhaps by the 'humorous verses", one finds that they are far outdone in humor by the solemn "Laws of Harvard College in 1769", which serve as a reminder that in those days there was more to Harvard than humorous verses.

If some high-flown and unblushing so-called debutantes camplain because their dutiful Harvard escort does not distinguish himself, or rather her, by his mode of attire, let them turn to the regula-illustrious Puritan ancestors:

"No Scholar belonging to the College shall wear any Gold or Silver Lace, cord, or edging upon their Hats, Jackets, or any other Parts of their Cloathing, nor any Gold or Silver Brocades in the College or Town of Cambridge. Whoever shall offend against this law shall be fined not exceeding twenty Shillings."

The authorities were wary of the students' running up charge accounts, as shown by the decree that "no Undergraduate shall go or send to any Inn-Keeper or Retailer within three miles of ye College for any strong Beer, Brandy, Rum, Wine, or other spirituous Liquors, without paying immediately for ye same."

The penalty for the first offense against temperance was trivial compared with that for wearing gold braid. "If any Scholar shall be guilty of Drunkenness, he shall be fined one shilling and sixpence or he shall make a public confession or be degraded, according to the Aggravation of the Offense. And if any Scholar persist on a course of Intemperance, he shall be Rusticated or Expelled."

There were other types of punishment besides fines, however, such as threats, blows, and boxing. In these, however, ye College Yarde Constable had no share, for "none belonging to the College, except the President, Professors, or Tutors, shall by threats or blows compel a Freshman or any Undergraduate to any Duty or Obedience."

But the President, Professors, and Tutors were not limited in their disciplinary powers. "It shall be lawful for ye President, Professors, or Tutors to punish Undergraduates by Boxing, when they shall judge ye nature or circumstances of ye offense call for it."

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