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Crime Keeps Pace With Life Force, Ends Cross-Town Feud With 'Cliffe

1947 Board Brings Oil to Angry Seas

By Joan McPartlin Mahoney

With the ceremony not even so formal as wrapped old wheeze in a discarded galley prod and throwing it on the Lampoon's steps, the CRIMSON on September 21, 1947, scrapped the Radcliffe jape.

The old fend was at an end. The CRIMSON ceased treating Radcliffe girls as Hatfields and recognized them as the real McCoys.

Since that date, Radcliffe has been accorded blanket news, feature, and picture coverage in the CRIMSON's columns no different from the coverage given Harvard events. On Radcliffe's side of the Square, "Welcome" mats are no longer whisked from under the feet of a CRIMSON reporter or photographer.

Old Days Different

It was not so in the old days. Interviewed by a CRIMSON reporter in September, 1940, a Miss Toni Sorel, contender for the title of Oomph Girl of the Nation, was quoted in the style considered appropriate for Radcliffe references in this wise: "Here I stood in Harvard Yard, lousy with its ivy and tradition, when the whole picture was ruined--a couple of strange creatures came waddling along. They should only be allowed out at night."

Miss Sorel's critique stung a Radcliffe senior to action. "We Radcliffe girls are a long suffering group," wrote Sophie Reagan, Radcliffe '41, in a letter published in the CRIMSON, "but under the kind of persecution we have received at Harvard's hands, even a Griselda would revolt. It seems to me that the time has come to show that we have feelings and that they have been seriously injured." Miss Reagan summoned her Radcliffe sisters to join her in an informal Committee to Take Radcliffe Seriously.

"Bespectacled Nonentities"

The Reagan committee had disbanded, a year later, when a CRIMSON editor undertook to advise entering Harvard Freshmen on "The Truth About 'Cliffe Girls." Starting magnanimously, he wrote, "Nobody will deny that they're intelligent. A good many of them have fine senses of humor. But," he continued, "when it comes to beauty that Hollywood wouldn't be ashamed of, there are some lookers mixed in among a vast majority of twisted-seamed, straight-haired bespectacled young women who are, aesthetically speaking, nonentities.

Even on simple reporting jobs, CRIMSON writers continued to try to prove themselves the ink-stained wretches that Radcliffe thought them to be. One, covering the Phillips Brooks House teas, wrote: "Officials, anxious for pleasant social contacts to be made, point out that the 'Cliffe-dwellers are a rugged tribe. It is also to be noted that they say the new freshman class at Radcliffe is the prettiest in recent years. All of which may be taken at face value."

The origin of the feud is obscure. Earnestly endeavoring to track it down, one editor found: "Back in the 80's, some indifferent Yardsters referred idly to the growing institution on Garden Street as the Harvard Annex. That name stuck for years, faintly indicative of the vague scorn with which undergraduates looked on their feminine associates. In the intervening years, poor Radcliffe has come to be a synonym for all that is unattractive in women."

The new era of good feeling began with the CRIMSON's Registration Issue of September 22, which instituted the good neighbor policy that has been pursued since. The fall term has seen the CRIMSON record Radcliffe's views of the fourteen-inch hemline, espouse the cause of those Radcliffe students condemned to drafty corners and windowsill perches in Harvard lecture rooms, and applaud Radcliffe's early support of the Luckman food conservation program.

The sports section has included a sideline study of Radcliffe's field hockey team. Reviewers have discussed without prejudice the recitals of Radcliffe's Choral Society and the issues of Signature, the Annex literary magazine. Day-to-day news events have shared the first page with College happenings, and Radio Radcliffe's program has been made a daily CRIMSON feature.

Intermarriage Tells Truth

Figures on the large number of Radcliffe-Harvard marriages have shot holes in the old point of view, and the joint instruction program has pretty well buried the pieces. The CRIMSON's new policy keeps pace with the times.

Today circulation staff men ride an early morning Radcliffe circuit, depositing the morning's edition at Quadrangle dormitories, off-campus houses, and Fay House, where are situated the offices of the president and the deans. Business board hucksters predict a new look in the advertising columns, as merchants discover the new readership of the paper, borne out by a Christmas issue which was directed as much to women as to men. And the day may not be too far distant when the CRIMSON's board of editors will include a Radcliffe representative.

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