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Famous Names Haunt Harvard Yard Rooms

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Your Harvard room is where you'll probably do most of your living, so being picky about it is not to be denieaned. However, even if the bathrooms may serve an entire floor or entryway, living in the yard in freshman year should not be bad-mouthed: the rooms are about the same size as those in most Houses, and the location can't be bettered. Before the House system got started, it was even considered an honor to reside in Grays or Wigglesworth.

And, though it has become outdated to say so, if riots ever return to Massachusetts Avenue, Yard-dwellers have the best seats in the College.

The Yard is also the place to find yourself in a room previously inhabited by a famous alumnus. As the fall progresses and the grass gets worn, as the snow-grown mud of winter treks into your hallway, respite might be taken by remembering that illustrious predecessors lived through it all years ago.

For those in a selfindulgently romantic mood, a visit to the rooms of Henry David Thoreau 1830 (Hollis 23) and Ralph Waldo Emerson 1820 (Hollis 5) should deliver philosophic reinforcement. For more modern idealists, George Santayana's 1870 presence in Hollis 25 should invoke practical spiritual sustenance.

But fiction-writers are the most popular entertainers and wound-healers, and the Yard has a great selection. At opposite poles of the contemporary spectrum, we have tastefully conservative John Updike '54 in Hollis 11, and Left Conservative Norman Mailer '43 in Grays 11, James Agee '32, now undergoing one of the most sustained revivals of any American author, made his freshman way in Thayer 45. He had considerable inspiration from previous Thayerites. Both leftist-turned-National Reviewer John Dos Passos '16 and poet E. E. Cummings '15 left literary residue from their freshmen years in Thayer 29.

Perhaps the heaviest-weight literature of them all, Heary Adams 1858, lived in Holworthy 5.

There is also a plentiful selection of heros for pragmatic temperaments. William Randolph Hearst 1885 made a smash with his pet animals in Matthews 46 before being thrown out at Christmas the next year for presenting inscribed chamber pots to each of his tutors. Horatio Alger 1860 himself started get-rich-quick fabulizing in Hotworthy 7.

Freshmen prematurely caught in a bind between academic rigor and the desire for mass recognition need look no further than Thayer 7 for the example provided by the memory of Arthur Schlesinger Jr. '38, historian, adviser to two Presidents, and film critic for Vogue magazine.

And, though Harvard has not produced an incredible number of musicians or composers, such popular favorites as Pete Seeger '36 and Tom Rush '60 lived in the Harvard Union and Thayer 7, respectively.

Finally, those self-satisfied or over-confident might benefit from a look at Stoughton 17. It was the freshman home of Nathan M. Pusey '30 former President of Harvard, of University Hall antistrike action fame.

This is, of course, only a partial selection. Some of the most important graduates--the Kennedys, the Bundys, Elliott Richardson, Henry Kissinger--have been ignored. And Harvard is producing new famous people every day, like Harvard film directors of current note and varying talent, Michael Ritchie (Downhill Racer, The Candidate) and Paul Williams (Out of It, Dealing). So if none of the above can help or amuse you in your hour of need, simply find the year on graduation of your favorite alumnus, take a short walk from your dorm to the Archives, and find out where he lived from the Annual Directory.

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