House Profiles

Rooms available: mostly converted triples: some doubles and quads

Eliot House, a large Georgian polygon bordered by Boyston St. and Memorial Drive, has the best formed image of any Harvard house. Supposedly the domain of "Preppies," the House appears somewhat exclusive and detached from the rest of the University. This detachment is enhanced by its location; with the exception of Dunster, Eliot is farther away from the Yard than any other House. Built around a small courtyard which is used as an athletic field in the fall and winter, the House is composed of converted doubles intermixed with larger complexes. Master Finley has created a number of consolidated suites, usually consisting of a triple and deconverted double. In addition Eliot has one of the largest and most useful house libraries and contains its own grill.

Although the Deans have ensured that Eliot has approximately the same proportion of public and private school boys as the other houses, the House has attracted boys whose whose temperaments and tastes are usually associated with a private school background. Its members tend to take life less seriously than those in other houses and, although anxious to thrust ahead, do not like to express this anxiety too openly. They form a congenial, closely knit group and participate faithfully in house activities--this year Eliot is a leading contender for the Strauss trophy that goes to the over-all leader in the Interhouse athletic leagues. Although the average academic performance of its members is lower than in some other houses, Eliot men have won 19 Rhodes Scholarships since the Second World War and last year won two Henrys, two Knoxes, a Shaw, and a Marshall. The House boasts of many fine athletes including Scotty Harshbarger, Louis Williams, and Chris Ohiri.

The composition of the House is largely the result of the personal philosophy of its master, John H. Finley. Scholar, aristocrat, and amateur, Master Finley has sought out boys who combine excellence in specific areas with broad interests and social grace. He is among the few masters who know every boy in their houses by name. Leaving organized activities to undergraduates, Master Finley devotes most of his time to individual members of the House and his recommendations have helped many of them to get into graduate schools and to obtain jobs. An urbane after-dinner speaker, Finley annually organizes a series of house dinners to which Dean Acheson, James Reston, and McGeorge Bundy have recently come as guests. To a large degree he has earned for the House the devotion felt for it by the past and present members.



Size of House: about 360

Vacancies for freshmen: 96

Rooms available: mostly triples and doubles, a very few singles and quads.

On the surface, Kirkland House is drab. Its Georgian architecture seems to have been designed by an unconvinced Puritan, and, if anything has happened there recently, few outsiders remember hearing of it.

To insiders, however, the House is enjoyable. Its buildings, constructed before the adoption of the House plan, have an unintentional disunity, charming and never obtrusive. Hicks House, the library, provides calm privacy in the ten rooms of an eighteenth-century home, with a wide selection of books that ranks second among the Houses in size. Bryan Hall, "the Annex," is entered through a pleasantly secluded pathway. And in the basement of Smith Halls, the two buildings that form the quiet main courtyard, there are pool rooms, music rooms, washing machines, and, for those who fear fall-out, the Central Kitchen food supply.

Kirkland's staff is hardly drab. Master Charles H. Taylor, a medieval scholar, has a strong interest in intramural athletics and serves on the Faculty Committee on Athletic Sports. Ernest R. May, associate professor of History and the Kirkland House billiards champion, is senior tutor. William Alfred, lecturer in English 10 and Hum 2, eats lunch frequently in Kirkland at tables filled with undergraduates.

The tutors, many of them historians, definitely are not recluses from the graduate schools.

Among its students Kirkland House has had enough athletes to win the Straus trophy for six consecutive years and usually enough musicians to dominate College-wide groups and keep the common room pianos constantly in use. Both original student productions performed on the main stage of the Loeb this year were written by Kirkland men.

But football players, violinsts, and playwrights together form only a notable minority in a House which truly is a cross-section of Harvard.

The house committee sponsors cartoon shows and wild annual Bierstube; the music committee presents student and professional concerts; the Ford Foundation fund supports a wide variety of dinner guests and speakers; and from a variety of sources comes the boar's head ceremony and ribald play after the Christmas dinner.

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