Disaffected Prep

Monday, February 14, 2011


Bowdoin Handbook: Class of 1944

Spent a ten-spot on this little (seriously little - like 4"x 2.5") class of 1944 Bowdoin handbook I pulled off eBay.

Published by the Bowdoin Christian Association in 1940, it provided the in's and out's of the college such as traditions, clubs, frats, college regulations and the like for the incoming freshman class.

Everything in the guide is great - though one section stood out above all: the "advice" to Freshman. A fair amount of it was charming and instructive, similar to George Washington's Rules of Civility and Behavior.

From the handbook:
"Remember that business should come before pleasure and let concern for your courses supersede any other interests. Even though you may play a whale of a game at right tiddle and may be a star on the varsity handball squad you did not come to college to be an athlete."
N.B. I have no idea what a tiddle is.

The more, well, "practical" advice is fascinating.
Freshman must carry matches.
Freshman must not walk on the grass.
Freshman must not wear preparatory school insignia.
Freshman must not smoke on the campus or on the street.
Freshman must not wear bowties, nor wear loud clothing of any description.
Freshman must not sing Phi Chi.
Freshman must not drink in public.
Freshman must not date the local ladies.

Times have certainly changed.

I regularly violated that prohibition on bowties and loud clothing, circa 2002, as a freshman myself.

Haha, so adorable. How did you even come up with the idea of buying an old handbook? Are there a lot of college handbooks on eBay from the likes of Hampden-Sydney?
I basically check every week. Bowdoin's a small enough school that the search results aren't staggeringly large; scanning takes me a minute to find anything worthwhile. Not sure if is obvious from the post but I went there, so picking up memorabilia is kinda a personal hobby.

Things do turn up occasionally. I have an official college brochure from the '40s (haven't scanned it yet) with some gorgeous photography, as well as a brochure from the 1890's, some football programs from the '60s, etc.

Strangely enough I was poking around for some Amherst College stuff today, but Hampden-Sydney would be a good choice as well. I'll keep a look out. Thanks for coming by the site!
I just shared this with the rest of the Meddies. Amazing stuff and quite hilarious---the times sure have changed.
Do you think anyone still knows the words to Phi Chi?

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