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The Harvard Freshman Dean's office has created a searchable database of all rooms in the Yard, with which you may look up the occupants of each room. I am working on trying to create a similar database for the houses.

Since beginning this website in late August 2002, many Alumni have written me with some of their own stories of Harvard life. I have included some of these responses below, along with other stories I have found in my research. I would be grateful for your stories as well, as they help us all to reconnect to our Harvard days.

Winthrop House K-Entry 1941-43
"I don't have any pictures but fond memories of life in K entry (the white frame house on the river, I think it is still there.) Four of us started as upper classmen there assigned to four single rooms on the second floor with a common bathroom (Jerome Preston, Edward Forbes Green, Gerald Austin Kerrigan and myself, Donald Harting). We decided to go together and create a common sleeping room with 4 bunks, a study room with 4 desks and use the rest as a music room, for entertaining, etc. That is the room that I was in having a proper glass of sherry on a Sunday morning on December 7, 1941. Life at Harvard changed radically after that!"
-- Donald Harting, Class of 1944

Harvard in the 1950s
In the Spring of 1955 I moved into Mathews 3, having been a commuter up to that time. Outside each room was a framed list of former occupants of the room, and it appeared that each new set of occupants added their names. I did the same. Some years later I inquired of Harvard about what had happened to these lists, but no one seemed to know. [Ed. Note: Visit the FDO to search occupants of rooms.]

On one of the final nights of freshman year, we had some sort of party, with quantities of beer. The door to room 1 got kicked in, and I was blamed--had to pay something like $90 to fix it. We got into mischief back then, too, but the most "serious" mischief was the "panty raids" of Radcliffe.

I, too, lived in Kirkland House for the rest of my time at Harvard, in K-41 for 1955-56, and then I-28 the last two years. I-28 had the advantage of being just above the Junior Common Room, making it possible to reach the dining hall without going outside. The drawback was the early morning trucks serving the kitchen, between Eliot and Kirkland. We learned to turn over and go back to sleep.

One event I will never forget is the house master's weekly teas for students. My roommate, also named Dick, and I often attended. One week we put on our jackets and went on over (jackets and ties being de rigeur in those days). As usual, a maid answered the door, but looked a bit perplexed. Then the house master, Professor Charles Taylor, appeared behind her. "Dick and Dick, come in," he said. We had not seen the notice "Faculty Party This Week" instead of the tea. So in we went, and were immediately handed each a martini, a drink with which we were completely unfamiliar and for which unprepared. We talked with faculty members and were poured out the door, two martinis and an hour later."
--Richard O. Neville, Class of 1958, Fort Myers, Florida

Water Fights in the 1970s
The only stories I have are of the Grand Army of the Union (the exiles in the Union dorms, as they were known (back then?)) marching on the Yard right before midterms in freshman year ('72), and starting the mother of all water fights by lobbing a few well-placed water balloons into open windows. (Lots of built-up tension, resulting in furious release. I think the campus police had to come to quell things.)

[There was] another water fight in Greenough that was all over the front of the building, and then all of a sudden a little old lady walks by in front. "Cease fire" was the cry, and everyone held off...until some ahem, immature? lad let loose. When the Cambridge police came, everyone was at his desk, studying away, dripping wet."
--Chris Ryland, Class of 1976

"My Room" (Holworthy 18)
"On the wall are a few select pictures and my book-case (containing, of course, only text-books), and over the mantle-piece are foils and masks, boxing-gloves, and an Oxford cap. The last has reposed there in quiet since the day, in the Freshman year, that its owner and itself received that volley of unsavory eggs from a window in Hollis; and the implements of warfare also remain in their places the greater part of the time, -- for, entre nous, they are much better for show than for use, and besides I am a peaceable man.

In every season, this room of mine has its attractions. In winter, when I come in from supper with a friend, and, after pulling down the curtains and stirring up the soft-coal fire, we draw up for a quiet chat, or when my friend goes, and I still remain, half sitting, half reclining in my old chair, with my feet on the top of the fireplace, gazing at the bright fire, and fast falling into a reverie, it seems the ne plus ultra of comfort.

Thus, whatever be the season or weather, you can always find enjoyment and comfort in College rooms. There is a kind of independence about a residence in them which can never be acquired elsewhere. Until very recently, one could even exercise his propensity for destructiveness on the venerable walls and doors, and the only result would be an increase of a cent or two in that vague item on the term-bill, "Special repairs by general average."
--Augustus A. Hayes, Class of 1857, from "My Room" in Harvard Magazine, October, 1856.

"My Old Room" (Holworthy 5)
"It is dusty and dirty and dingy. Spiders have spun their webs on the ceiling. The paper is faded with age, and discolored with stains of many hues. Long experience in Cambridge has taken away from my furniture all that was breakable, and my chairs are marked deeply with the initials of half my classmates and a host of friends. Queer odors linger about the closets and the bedrooms, as though their former contents had been embalmed and laid on the shelves, like the urns in the old Roman tombs.

In winter the winds howl around me, and rush over my head, without the slightest regard to the walls which should keep them away. No amount of heat yet attained will prevent the water which stands in my pitcher from freezing inches deep in the cold weather of the winter term. In short, my room is the coldest, the dirtiest, and the gloomiest in Cambridge.

But what do I care for the cold, so long as a good fire burns in the grate? Or what do I care for the dust that whitens my pictures and hats and books, or the stains that mark my walls, or the cracks that run through the ceiling, so long as they stay on the walls and ceiling, and give no discomfort to me? Or what do I care for the darkness and gloom, when, in the long December evenings, the cannel snaps and blazes in the fireplace, and shines merrily on the gilded books that line my shelves?"
-- Henry Adams, Class of 1858, from "My Old Room" in Harvard Magazine, September, 1856.

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