Indeed, Quincy has an extraordinary number of specialized tables, that offer good food (prepared in the House's independent kitchen) and good wine, to participants speaking Spanish, German, Hebrew, or French; discussing social relations or sciences; or surrounding House Fellows Henry Kissinger and David Riesman. The dining hall generally is lively--and warm, despite Nivola's perplexing graffito and the all-encompassing plate glass.
Upstairs, the House, as advertised, is the Quincy-Hilton. Its quads are split-level with built-in refrigerator, four ample bed rooms, and a picture windowed living room. But, halt. Only a handful of unattached sophomores enter this updated paradise. Most spend either a year in Claverly or a year or two in Mather. But this need not spell tragedy. Claverly is rhapsodically described elsewhere in this supplement, and Mather, although its rooms are smaller, differs little from Harvard's other Georgian halls.
Besides, Mather and Claverly residents use the common facilities of the Big House--its convivial grill, semi-detached library, photo dark room, music listening room, practice pianos, pool table, two recreation rooms, gymnasium, tool room, and art studio.
Size of House: about 370.
Vacancies for Freshmen: about 125
Rooms available: No singles; approximately equal numbers of doubles, triples, and quads.
At the curve of Holyoke Street, flanking Eliot and Lowell, there is Winthrop. Lacking a white tower, a solitudinous quadrangle, bushy lumps of ivy, and a Great Panoramic View of the environs a slightly threadbare Winthrop allots itself between the two halls of Gore and Standish. The House, though, has its quota of Veritas chairs. And a coat of arms. And lots of people.
The leading person of Winthrop is unquestionably Master David Owen, and his distinction is not a formality of rank. Owen welcomes the sophomores as if they were moderately important personages, and knows the name of each on sight.
Winthrop House also possesses a tutorial staff that is conspicuous for its accessibility and competency. Its tutors are seen and they are heard.
By general consent the House's baronial dining hall, famous for its intangibles, needs a bit of refurbishment. But, shabbiness aside, it's a simple place of loud voices, the physical and psychological core of the House.
Off in one partitioned corner, Winthrop's various tables meet on a regular basis. They are the House's metaacademic expression of interest in things general--informal, lively affairs usually held during the lunch hour. John Kenneth Galbraith, upon his return in September, is expected to dominate the Thursday Economics Table once again; Frank Freidel will chair the Friday History and Government Table.
Winthrop is old by comparison with most of the other Houses; both Standish and Gore were built as freshman dormitories in 1914 and converted to the present arrangement in 1931. In their day these buildings knew a President and a youthful Senator. In various subterranean shelters, one finds space for billiards, television, photography, and pingpong. The library, once a freshman dining hall, contains a famous telescope of John Winthrop (second Hollis Professor of Mathematics), has a good atmosphere for study.
Winthrop's physical simplicity (some say degeneracy)--not unlike the Yard's slightly stoic animus--may be to some upperclassmen a subtle stimulous to introspection. But the House, under the present Master, maintains its tradition of laissez faire good-fellowship. The freshman who has not looked behind the chipped plaster, has not seen Winthrop.
Quincy House, Leverett Towers, Holyoke Center--like giant fungi they have pushed their evil shapes above the once lovely surface of Cambridge. They scatter their deadly spores over all of Harvard, and those that take root threaten the existence of all the familiar buildings of the University.
Only three dormitories have completely resisted the changes overcoming Harvard: Randolph and Westmorly of Adams House, and Claverly Hall--the old Gold Coast. Of the three, only Claverly preserves the spirit of an older, happier Harvard, where one actually had to be elected to live in its stately rooms.
Claverly is admittedly not what it once was. The swimming pool and squash court are no longer used; shoes left outside one's door at night are no longer shined by morning as they were when George Santayana was a resident, and although the famous elevator is kept in good repair, the building in general has been allowed to get a bit shabby.
But, equally, assignment to Claverly is not the misfortune most freshmen imagine. In fact, many of Claverly's occupants would vigorously defend the proposition that their rooms are the most pleasant to be found in Cambridge. The rooms are certainly among the largest around, with high ceilings, paneled walls, and handsome fireplaces that can be used, not just looked at.