House Profiles

A Foreword to Freshmen

In this section, the CRIMSON, with the freshman class in mind, has assembled short sketches of the College's nine Houses and of Claverly Hall. Each sketch is written by an editor devoted to the House he depicts, yet hopefully not blind to its flaws.

Reading through them you will probably be as conscious of the similarities among the Houses as to the differences between them. This is as it should be. For despite a healthy variety of personalities and facilities, all Houses are of the same basic mold. In no House is dissatisfaction rampant; happiness, although general, undestandably is not universal. And, to repeat a common-place which has been drummed into you elsewhere, all types of students are found in all of the Houses.

Further, the most important elements of a satisfying House life will not be discussed in this short guide. They are a man's room-mates and friends, the relations he develops with Faculty in the House, and the accommodation he makes to the academic, social and extracurricular demands of the College. These adjustments are personal; with very few exceptions, they can be made no better in one House than in any other.

If the Houses are basically similar, then why bother writing separately about them at all? In the first place, the University wants you to have a preference, and does take it seriously into account when assigning you to a House. Although the number of men getting into their first-choice House has declined steeply since the construction of Quincy and the Leverett Towers, last year 55.7 percent of of the Class of 1965 did go where they most wanted to go. Another 12 percent were assigned to their second choice House, and 11.6 per cent received their third choice. Thus, 80 per cent entered a House of their own choosing. And it is probably best to make this choice on the basis of some knowledge, although an outsider's knowledge is necessarily limited.


Furthermore, this guide is to some extent a report on what each House has done and in what ways it has changed during the past year. This does differ among the Houses and should be of interests to freshmen trying to select a House intelligently.

Finally, a word of caution. Each article is written by one House member only. Although they have been urged to be candid and objective, their views are impressionistic.


Size of House: 341

Vacancies for Freshmen: 113

Rooms available: mostly doubles and triples; a few adjoining suites

There are four parts to Adams House; three of them are attractive, comfortable--relics of an era when the function of a building was still good living. Two of the three are Westmorly Court and Randolph Hall, the former quietly Tudor, the latter faintly Gothic, both of them built around the turn of the century to provide elegant Gold Coast young gentlemen with elegant young apartments (F. D. Roosevelt '04 lived appropriately in Westmorly South, now B-entry). The third part is Apthorp House, Master Reuben A. Brower's official home, where he entertains and serves tea to students, guests, and girls from Radcliffe on Friday afternoons.

The fourth part, which went up when Adams House was formed in 1932, is called only C-entry and houses all the official components of the House: library, dining hall, kitchen, House offices, superintendent's office, common rooms; as well as a number of small student suites and an entrance hall, known, grandly, as the Gold Room. C-entry makes Adams House respectable; most people, Master Brower among them, avoid it.

The Master, in fact, prefers to leave people and events to their own devices, and his attitude offsets the House's respectability and gives it a certain raffish attractiveness. Rules are rarely enforced; most House activities must struggle to stay alive (the bulletin board lists of sports teams are always undersubscribed; the Adams House Journal of the Social Sciences, the only House publication of any regularity, congratulates itself if it publishes twice in one year); and the students themselves refuse to shamble with the herd, affect oddities of dress, and show as much interest in Frederic A. Pennington as they do in John Sparrow, Warden of All Soul's.

Two House activities that have always managed to flourish, perhaps because of their noncompulsive nature, are the Drama Society and the Music Society: the first is notable for the gusto of its annual Shakespeare productions, the second for the variety and scope (and general excellence) of its recitals and chamber concerts.

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