With punch season now in full swing, it’s time to present the results of Flyby’s first-ever Final Club Survey. The online survey was emailed out last month to 4,838 sophomores, juniors, and seniors, and was partially or fully completed 1,927 times (though it should be noted that individuals could have taken the survey more than once). In the fourth installment of a six-part series, we've decided to take a break from reporting on our results to share with you a compilation of some Crimson-reported snippets from the past eight decades of the final clubs' storied history.
September 30, 1932: October 21 Will Be Initial Date for Club Pledging of Sophomores
The regulations governing activities of clubs this fall in regard to canvassing Freshman and pledging Sophomores were announced recently by the Graduate Advisory Committee.
Since 1914 the undergraduate clubs have agreed that their members will not canvass members of the Freshman class and that they will not elect any undergraduate before the fourth Monday after the opening of College in his Sophomore year, and that no pledge or promise from any Sophomore shall be accepted before the Friday following the fourth Monday.
May 18, 1949: Phoenix Club May Question Sphinx Name
The newly approved Sphinx Club may be obliged to change its name if the Phoenix S. K. Club has its way. According to Edward C. Wilson, Jr. '49, president of the Phoenix, the name "Sphinx" is the name of a club already in existence.
In reply to Wilson's charge John K. Lally '49, one of the founders of the brand new club and "graduate adviser" said, "We are bigger than the Phoenix and I think we can take care of ourselves."
Lally also claimed credit for inventing the name of the new society.
In Chestnut Hill, a girl at a debutante party used her stock conversational opener with a new dancing partner: "So you go to Harvard. What Club are you in?" In Cambridge, an undergraduate wishing to contact the Harvard Flying Club was surpised and a bit mystified when the voice at the other end of the telephone told him politely that the Fly Club had nothing to with airplanes.
These are the two distinct worlds of which Harvard's Final Clubs find themselves a part. One is the world of Society, whose population is found largely on the pages of East Coast Social Registers and whose habitat lies far beyond the borders of Cambridge 38. Here Harvard is often equated with the Clubs, and a father tends to measure his son's college success not by the rank of his degree, but by the prominence of the Club he makes.
The other world is the University itself, where a rather obvious curtain of silence hangs around the attractive brick buildings, centered on Mt. Auburn St., which house the Final Clubs. This is a world where few undergraduates know much about the Clubs, and even fewer care.
When a newly initiated member of the Porcellian Club complained last year that sitting in a leather chair and singing praises to the walls was not the stimulating experience he had expected from club life, Theodore Roosevelt IV, '65 let him in on a bit of Porcellian philosophy. "We may be passive," Roosevelt said, "but we're aggressively passive."