You are here

Harrington DeGoyler Green Letters

The correspondence begins in the summer of 1906 when Harrington DeGoyler Green was attending a summer camp in Pointe au Baril, Ontario, Canada, and describes various recreational activities such as sailing. The collection contains letters and postcards written while Green was vacationing in Europe in the summer of 1908 with his older brother Joseph Coy Green. He describes his perceptions of and experiences in Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Holland, Belgium, France and England.The bulk of the letters were written when Green was an undergraduate student at Princeton University. His letters during the autumn of 1908 are significant, as they provide vivid descriptions of initiation traditions consisting of various “horsing” activities in which Sophomores challenged the spirit and endurance of the Freshmen class. Green, being of stocky build, was assigned a front row position among the charging Freshmen class in the activities. In the Election Rush, Freshmen students had to fight their way through lines of Sophomores who were blocking the entrance to the gymnasium where Freshmen elections were to be held. The Cannon Rush was a major event in which Freshmen had to break through lines of Sophomores tied together encircling the cannon. The objective of the rush was for the Freshmen to take control of the cannon by knocking off the president of the Sophomore class who stood on top of it swinging a rope in all directions in an attempt to beat back the courageous challengers. The Cane Spree was another favorite challenge where a cane had to be wrestled by a Freshman from the hands of a Sophomore. The only rule that was strictly adhered to in the Election Rush, Canon Rush and Cane Spree was that no biting was allowed. Aside from that anything went. Green's description of the aftermath of rushes is that they “weld the class together and put some spirit in it”. For example he went on to say “I am pulling for my class and college now as I never did before.”The collection contains a significant number of Princeton University written examinations in the areas of History, English, Economics, Politics and Philosophy. An anthology of Green's poetry published in 1917 by his brother Robert Green and Grace Morgan (Green's fiancee) gives a good sense of a style and theme of poetry being created at Princeton University in the early twentieth century.