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A Collection of College Words and Customs   By: (1830-1893)

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"Multa renascentur quæ jam cecidere, cadentque Quæ nunc sunt in honore, vocabula."

"Notandi sunt tibi mores." HOR. Ars Poet.


Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1856, by


in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.


The first edition of this publication was mostly compiled during the leisure hours of the last half year of a Senior's collegiate life, and was presented anonymously to the public with the following


"The Editor has an indistinct recollection of a sheet of foolscap paper, on one side of which was written, perhaps a year and a half ago, a list of twenty or thirty college phrases, followed by the euphonious titles of 'Yale Coll.,' 'Harvard Coll.' Next he calls to mind two blue covered books, turned from their original use, as receptacles of Latin and Greek exercises, containing explanations of these and many other phrases. His friends heard that he was hunting up odd words and queer customs, and dubbed him 'Antiquarian,' but in a kindly manner, spared his feelings, and did not put the vinegar 'old' before it.

"Two and one half quires of paper were in time covered with a strange medley, an olla podrida of student peculiarities. Thus did he amuse himself in his leisure hours, something like one who, as Dryden says, 'is for raking in Chaucer for antiquated words.' By and by he heard a wish here and a wish there, whether real or otherwise he does not know, which said something about 'type,' 'press,' and used other cabalistic words, such as 'copy,' 'devil,' etc. Then there was a gathering of papers, a transcribing of passages from letters, an arranging in alphabetical order, a correcting of proofs, and the work was done, poorly it may be, but with good intent.

"Some things will be found in the following pages which are neither words nor customs peculiar to colleges, and yet they have been inserted, because it was thought they would serve to explain the character of student life, and afford a little amusement to the student himself. Society histories have been omitted, with the exception of an account of the oldest affiliated literary society in the United States.

"To those who have aided in the compilation of this work, the Editor returns his warmest thanks. He has received the assistance of many, whose names he would here and in all places esteem it an honor openly to acknowlege, were he not forbidden so to do by the fact that he is himself anonymous. Aware that there is information still to be collected, in reference to the subjects here treated, he would deem it a favor if he could receive through the medium of his publisher such morsels as are yet ungathered.

"Should one pleasant thought arise within the breast of any Alumnus, as a long forgotten but once familiar word stares him in the face, like an old and early friend; or should one who is still guarded by his Alma Mater be led to a more summer like acquaintance with those who have in years past roved, as he now roves, through classic shades and honored halls, the labors of their friend, the Editor, will have been crowned with complete success.

"CAMBRIDGE, July 4th, 1851."

Fearing lest venerable brows should frown with displeasure at the recital of incidents which once made those brows bright and joyous; dreading also those stern voices which might condemn as boyish, trivial, or wrong an attempt to glean a few grains of philological lore from the hitherto unrecognized corners of the fields of college life, the Editor chose to regard the brows and hear the voices from an innominate position. Not knowing lest he should at some future time regret the publication of pages which might be deemed heterodox, he caused a small edition of the work to be published, hoping, should it be judged as evil, that the error would be circumscribed in its effects, and the medium of the error buried between the dusty shelves of the second hand collection of some rusty old bibliopole... Continue reading book >>

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