Item of the Day: The Laws of Harvard College (1790)

Full Title: The Laws of Harvard College. Printed in Boston by Samuel Hall, 1790.

Chap. I. — Of Admission into the College

I. Candidates for admission into Harvard College shall be examined by the President, and two, at least, of the Tutors. No one shall be admitted, unless he can translate Greek, and Latin Authors in common use, such as Tully, Virgil, and the New Testament; understands the rules of Grammar and Prosody; can write Latin correctly, and hath a good moral character. And no person shall be admitted to examination after the usual time, unless it shall appear, to the satisfaction of the President and Tutors, that such person has been necessarily prevented from offering himself in season. And, if any one be admitted after the end of the first quarter, he shall be considered as admitted to an advanced standing.

Chap. II. — On Devotional Exercises, and the Observation of the Lord’s-Day

I. All persons, of what degree soever, residing at the College, and all Undergraduates, whether dwelling in the College, or in the town, shall constantly and seasonably attend the worship of God in the chapel, morning and evening; and, if any Undergraduate come to prayers after the exercises are begun, he shall be fined one penny; and, if he shall be absent from prayers, without sufficient reason, he shall be fined two pence for every such neglect.

III. . . . Whoever shall profane the day by unnecessary business, or visiting, or walking on the Common or in the streets or fields of the town of Cambridge, or shall use any diversions, or otherwise behave himself disorderly or unbecoming the season, shall be fined not exceeding three shillings, or be admonished, degraded, suspended, or rusticated, according to the aggravation of the offence.

Chap. IV. Of Misdemeanors and Criminal Offences.

I. If any Scholar shall associate with any person of dissolute morals, or in the town of Cambridge, with one that is rusticated, or expelled, within three years after such rustication or expulsion, unless the rusticated person shall be restored within that space, he shall be fined not exceeding five shillings for the first offence …

II. If any Scholar shall go beyond the College-yard or fences, without coat, cloak, or gown, hat or other coverings allowed by the authority of the college, (unless in his lawful diversions) he shall be fined not exceeding six pence. And, if any shall presume to put on indecent apparel, he shall be punished . . . but if he wear woman’s apparel, he shall be liable to public admonition, degradation, suspension, rustication, or expulsion.

XVI. If Any Undergraduate shall presume to be an actor in, a spectator at, or any ways concerned in, any stage -plays, interludes, or theatrical entertainments, in the town of Cambridge, he shall, for the first offence be punished by a fine …

Chap. V. Miscellaneous Laws.

I. All Scholars shall shew due respect and honour to all that are in the government and instruction of the College, particularly Undergraduates shall be uncovered in the College yard, when any of the Overseers, the President, or Fellows of the Corporation, or any others concerned in the Government and instruction of the College are therein; and Bachelors of Arts shall be uncovered, when the President is there.

IX. All the Undergraduates shall be clothed in coats of blue gray, and with waistcoats and breeches of the same colour, or of a black, a nankeen, or an olive colour. The coats of the Freshmen shall have plain button-holes : The cuffs shall be without buttons. The coats of the Sophomores shall have plain button holes like those of the Freshmen; but the cuffs shall have buttons. The coats of the Juniors shall have cheap frogs to the button holes, except the button holes of the cuffs. The coats of the Seniors shall have frogs to the button holes of the cuffs. The buttons upon the coats of all the Classes shall be as near the colour of the coats as they can be procured, or of a black colour. And no Student shall appear, within the limits of the College, or town of Cambridge, in any other dress, than in the uniform, belonging to his respective Class, unless he shall have on a night gown, or such an outside garment, as may be necessary, over a coat: Except only, that the Seniors and Juniors are permitted to wear black gowns; and it is recommended that they appear in them on all public occasions: Nor shall any part of their garments be of silk ; nor shall they wear gold or silver lace, cord or edging upon their hats, waist-coasts, or any other parts of their clothing : And whosoever shall violate these regulations, shall be fined . . .


Leave a comment

Filed under 1790's, Culture, Posted by Rebecca Dresser

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s