Depression, House System Mark '33's Harvard Years

Football Team Makes Good Record

September, 1929: The country was riding high on a tidal wave which was soon to break hard and sweep away the Big Rock Candy Mountain. That was the month the Class of 1933, nearly one thousand strong, came to Cambridge and Harvard College. President Lowell welcomed the Class to the College, and then followed some serious talk by Delmar Leighton ("Choices of Studies for the Freshman Year") and by an assistant professor of History, Charles H. Taylor ("Freshman Course Requirements").

Harvard College was growing, expanding outward and building inward. The House Plan, once a dream for President Lowell which had been realized through the generosity of a Yale graduate, would be inaugurated the following year when Lowell and Dunster were completed.

CRIMSON Cautious

An editorial in the CRIMSON, with one eye on the frivolity of Freshman Week and another on the import of the House Plan, cautioned the Class of '33: "But when all this is over, when glittering generalities on the value of a college education, fight talks from the football coach and captain, ecstasy and despair over triumph and defeat have faded into a dim haze in the subconscious mind, the class will gradually realize that with the beginning of their sophomore year they wil be a part of one of the most important social experiments ever attempted in American education."

The rest of the country was also experimenting at that time. From the Protestant countryside had come the call for prohibition, and so the nation tinkered with its way of life and established bootlegging as a going business.


Marx Brothers Visit

In October, 1929, the Marx Brothers came to Boston, and Frere Groucho commented on this Big Experiment: "Do you know what the trouble with prohibition is? Everybody in America is so busy drinking they don't give it a thought."

Groucho's quip could also have been taken as a commentary on the stock market, which could stand only so much experimentation before it toppled over dead on Black Thursday. In an editorial entitled "Taking Stock," the CRIMSON noted that the "activities of the New York stock market in the past week have doubtless lent force to the opinions of the more austere European critics who have so often blamed this country for the lack of the continental finesse in the pursuit of this world's goods."

Football More Important

But Black Thursday was over-shadowed by the dazzling autumnhued Yard which signalled the commencement of another football season. Harvard was hot: it defeated the West Point Kay-dets and then traveled out to Michigan for the first western invasion since 1920 and returned victorious; later it polished her shield with bulldog fur, squeaking by Yale to a 10 to 6 victory.

"Harvard should receive full credit," Yale coach Marvin Stevens commented after the game, "for defeating a team which was supposed to be better than the Crimson. The game was a brilliant one, in which a great team won."

And so it went. Langdell Hall was dedicated as the new home for the Law School; someone in University Hall took a poll, and discovered that economics had edged out English as the most popular field of concentration; and down on Memorial Drive rose the tower of Dunster House, which prompted the CRIMSON to complain that the "general impression conveyed by the tower is that of some exotic ornament, grafted onto a simple New England colonial house."

Houses Discussed

The new Houses continued to remain a popular subject of discussion, especially when Professor Julian L. Coolidge '95, first Master of Lowell, resigned from the Board of Directors of the Watch and Ward Society because of the "pressure of his new responsibilities." President Lowell's annual report, generating even greater interest, discussed the possibilities of moving freshmen from the river to the Yard as upperclassmen moved into the Houses, and Yale, which had once sent Edward Harkness and his money away, finally relented and accepted his grant for the Quadrangle System.

The Harvard Debate Council was busy in March, when it sponsored a mass meeting in the Union on the always engaging topic of prohibition. Five hundred students were present; only ten favored retaining the 18th Amendment.

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