House Profiles

In its unobtrusive way, Kirkland House surrounds its students, staff, and activities with a pleasant and stimulating atmosphere.


Size of House: about 425

Vacancies for freshmen: about 135

Rooms available: doubles and triples


In 1940, Julian Lowell Coolidge 95 retired as Master of Lowell House and was replaced by a young instructor in English history named Elliott Perkins. At the time the College wondered what changes Perkins would make in the House; and specifically, whether he would abandon what the CRIMSON called, two days before his appointment, "Lowell's traditional style of life, modeled on life at Oxbridge." In twenty-three years in the House, Perk has decisively laid such doubts to rest. And as he retires this year from the Mastership, he leaves a House whose own traditions, and whose sense of tradition, he has kept burning brightly--like the flame of the Yule log and the light of the High Table candles--against the unseasonable winds of change.

Today the College is curious about what changes Master Zeph Stewart will make; we will hazard no guesses, and advise Freshman thinking of applying to Lowell not to try either. But certain negative predictions are possible: Master Stewart will not (alas) be able to rid the House of the infernal bells, which make Sunday mornings such a horror; and he will probably fail in any attempt to improve the food, than which there is no worse (except in Eliot, Kirkland, Winthrop and Leverett).

And no doubt Lowell under the Stewarts will remain a place in which the Tutors are as interested in staving in the dining hall after meals making good talk as in scurrying back to their rooms to write another page of their dissertations. Lowell men nourish themselves on intelligent conversation. They work off the Central Kitchens' starchy fare by hard study: Lowell consistently houses a high percentage of the College's most distinguished scholars. And if a student is having difficulties, and needs help or advice, he could find no more simpatico person to talk to than Lowell's Senior Tutor, Richard Ullman '55.

If Lowell is distinguished for its members' academic and informal intellectuality, it is not lacking in the more mundane attractions offered by other Houses: it has an active drama group, an Opera Society, a struggling poetry magazine for struggling poets (Pharetra), and seven squash courts (sorry, no swimming pool). It also has two television sets.

Finally, what of Lowell's relations with the outside world? Well, Lowell men have extraordinarily easy access to many great men and women. Literally dozens of them visit the House each year, to read their poetry, or describe their last electoral campaign, or explain their ideas; guests this year have included poets Marianne Moore and Robert Lowell, Sen. Maureen Neuberger, New York's Mayor Wagner, and art collector Maxim Karolik. Almost every student in the House will have dinner with a great light such as these in the course of a year, and the food at these gatherings, thoughtfully paid for by the Ford Foundation, is heart-breakingly good.

The House Office next year will be a changed place; not only Master Perkins, but also the charming Avis DeVoto, widow of historian Bernard DeVoto, will depart in June. But one of Lowell's greatest attractions will remain, which Freshman ought to consider before choosing a House: Miss Eleanor Hess, the Senior Tutor's secretary, is surely an important part of Lowell's claim to greatness.


Size of House: about 445

Vacancies for freshmen: 157

Rooms available: mostly doubles, triples, and quads, many of which adjoin to form larger units, in both the Towers and McKiniock.

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