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The Houses of Williamstown: Alpha Delta Phi …

Alas, the top entry with architectural and  ’56 Gul insert of copy seems to be lost in time. Click on COMMENTS to get remains of the day and an example of the conversation of the day.


(The first in a series of 16 posts) … originally posted 5 October, 2009ad top copy
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#1 Comment By (dfHTK On October 5, 2009 @ 8:57 am

Let the Good (Old) Times Roll !

#2 Comment By hwc On October 5, 2009 @ 11:20 am

What exactly is going on in the top right photo of the two rows below the fold? It appears the women may be bound. Did they Ephs tie them up before dragging them back from Skidmore?

#3 Comment By aparent On October 5, 2009 @ 11:42 am


#4 Comment By hwc On October 5, 2009 @ 12:16 pm

I could tell for sure. Maybe they are frat boy trannies. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Or, who knows? Maybe some lonely Ephs, looking for “instinctively collegial” companionship, tied them up and dragged them back from Amherst?

#5 Comment By Dick Swart On October 5, 2009 @ 12:31 pm

Closer inspection of the Gul photo spread reveals two young women with mops on their head. This may have been a part of the AD mystical ritual The Rites of Spring Cleaning..

Perhaps brothers can speculate.

#6 Comment By Jr. Mom On October 5, 2009 @ 2:33 pm


Is Perry House still a dorm? And is it over by Brooks? Can’t remember, but somehow that seems right.

And will some of you tell us when your frat houses show up in the series?

Also, I note the photo of the guy “shooting”, and recall a discussion here about that.

#7 Comment By hwc On October 5, 2009 @ 2:40 pm

Closer inspection of the Gul photo spread reveals two young women with mops on their head.

Thanks, Dick. That’s what I thought it was, but I couldn’t completely rule out the possibility of some sort of cross-gender scenario.

#8 Comment By Dick Swart On October 5, 2009 @ 2:57 pm

The only cross-dressing event I remember was when I played ‘Nursie’ (and a whole bunch of other bits) in T. Williams’ ‘Camino Real’ in 1955 at the AMT.

#9 Comment By Parent ’12 On October 5, 2009 @ 9:45 pm

Could someone comment on the ice sculptures. And, I, too, thought the “mops” were in drag.

Jr. Mom-

This is from housing’s website. I don’t know if the links for the floor plans made it to this comment. If not, use the link & click there.

As I recall, Perry is next to Wood, which I believe is at the corner of Route 2 & the road that takes one to the Clark. Both houses are part of Wood’s neighborhood.


Perry House

Perry House, the former Alpha Delta Phi Fraternity, gets its name from Professor Emeritus Arthur Latham Perry (1830-1905), Class of 1952, and his sons. The house was renovated in 1970, but still retains remnants of its Greek Past, including an extraordinarily…interesting…inner room known as The Goat Room. You’ll have to use your imagination on what The Goat Room was formerly used for, but today its used as a party and fancy dinner space. Perry also has a beautiful library great for studying and resting, and a grand staircase taking you to upstairs rooms. Exquisite inside and out, Perry is a wonderful Row House, housing a few sophomores, some juniors, and seniors, in 21 singles and two doubles.


#10 Comment By Jr. Mom On October 5, 2009 @ 9:57 pm

@Parent ’12:


I found this bit as well…, which was interesting. I also looked it up on the campus map and saw that it is right across from the theater, and a couple doors down from Brook.

#11 Comment By Parent ’12 On October 5, 2009 @ 10:32 pm


That is interesting. I wonder who either left or never attended Williams. And, I just simply wonder about Bliss.

“In 1964, the Alpha Delta Phi house was renamed in honor of Arthur Latham Perry and his five sons: Lewis, Bliss, Arthur, Walter and Carroll. Four of the sons had graduated Williams College and were members of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity.”

#12 Comment By Jr. Mom On October 5, 2009 @ 10:38 pm

@Parent ’12:

Great catch. That would be worth exploring.

I’m also intrigued with all the talk about “goat rooms”. Honestly, I had never heard that term until someone brought it up here on EB. In fact, I think it was in the “Purple Pub” thread.

#13 Comment By Parent ’12 On October 5, 2009 @ 10:51 pm

Bliss was very accomplished. Here’s his Britannica entry. (Needless to say, he graduated from Williams, as well as the Universities of Berlin & Straussburg.)


#14 Comment By Jr. Mom On October 5, 2009 @ 11:01 pm

@Parent ’12:

Wow…that is so interesting!. And what a name!

So…we should work through the list and see who did not graduate from Williams, and what he ended up doing. I suppose it’s possible that he was successful and accomplished despite not being an Eph. ;-)

#15 Comment By Jr. Mom On October 5, 2009 @ 11:03 pm


Here is Walter Perry. Lessee what else we can find…

#16 Comment By Parent ’12 On October 5, 2009 @ 11:05 pm

Sorry for the typo: Strasbourg,not Strausburg.

#17 Comment By Jr. Mom On October 5, 2009 @ 11:07 pm

And, here is Lewis Perry….

#18 Comment By Jr. Mom On October 5, 2009 @ 11:10 pm

And, Arthur Perry

…who turns out to be the one who did not graduate from Williams, even though he started there!

So, that leaves Carroll, who seems to have had a rather tragic life…and an ending all too similar to another recent Williams tragedy…

Mmmm, I almost wish I hadn’t delved…

#19 Comment By Jr. Mom On October 5, 2009 @ 11:47 pm

Anyway…very interesting family, P ’12.

So, it seems that Bliss and Lewis both taught at Williams. Walter was captain of the baseball team while there, and Carroll ended up an Episcopal priest!

#20 Comment By Rechtal Turgidley, Jr On October 5, 2009 @ 11:57 pm

I see Swart has started into his dotage with this series of articles shamelessly cribbed from the work of others yet posted by him with the merest of nods.

But never mind.

I would like to add certain small details that may add to the flavour of the presentations he has undertaken and the general sensibilities of those now-gone times.

In no particular order:

1. ‘Frat(s)’ as a word at Williams was not used. It was considered rather ‘de classe’ and somewhat redolent of, for instance, The University of Southern North Dakota at Hoople (musicologists may comment).

The word used was ‘ Fraternity’ in full, or, and much more the popular usage, ‘house’.

2. If ones’ father, brother, or uncle had been in a particular house at Williams, he was a ‘direct legacy’ or ‘direct leg’. If further down the relationship trail, “brother-in-law”, “2nd cousin”, he was an ‘indirect leg’.

These were very important considerations when selecting and making offers to prospective brothers. Indeed, in the case of ‘direct legs’, not unlike some of the former considerations used in shaping the freshman class at Williams.

3. ‘Rushing’ was a highly organized activity presided over by the ‘rush’ chairman.

The Class of 1956 was the last class to start their freshman year with rushing. Yet virtually every incoming frosh had been studied and classified based on data gathered and previous associations.

The Class of 1957 was the first class to be rushed their sophomore year. Each and every member of this class was a well-know and dissected individual.

House members were assigned for each rushee, in some cases based on previous friendships or affiliations, but in virtually all cases, by the desire the house felt to have the rushee.

Invitations were extended with a protocol of preference both on the part of the extender and the extendee. A certain number of new members were needed for critical mass as well as for income.

Needless to say, a successful rush chairman was a very popular and respected member of his house.

I realize this is like an ornithological description of a mating dance or a chapter from ‘Coming of Age in Samoa’ (zoologists and sociologists may comment).

A final thought on some of the questions of readers concerning where these houses were in relation to other landmarks and ‘neighborhoods’.

I realize that I know few of the new names of houses and the term ‘neighborhood’ was not in use in my years.

We were all in, I suppose, the same neighborhood – The College Campus to which we all belonged. If you wanted to say where you were going or where something was, you would simply name it: Stetson, The Lab Campus, Soph Quad, Goodrich, the Deke House, Spring Street, and etcetera etcetera.

The term ‘neighborhood’ in the case of Williams would seem rather a contrivance. More of a word to be applied to New York, or Chicago, or San Francisco, larger places with ‘neighborhoods’. I feel, and I do not mean to tread on the toes to whom ‘neighborhood’ may have a very special set of Williams associations, that the word used to describe an artificially developed eidetic may be a trifle ‘de classe’.

#21 Comment By Ronit On October 6, 2009 @ 12:34 am

I may have mentioned this before, but Arthur Latham Perry is buried in the college cemetery. He was probably the most important American economist of the 19th century. Graduated Williams in 1852 and taught there for the next 40 years.

#22 Comment By frank uible On October 6, 2009 @ 12:38 am

As I vaguely recall, Scott Perry ’76 is in the line of the Perry family after which Perry House is named. Among other achievements, Scott played defensive back in the NFL for five years, mostly with the Cincinnati Bengals.

#23 Comment By Jr. Mom On October 6, 2009 @ 1:03 am

Ronit, now that you remind me, I do remember your mentioning that class…especially about it taking part in a cemetery. That would be unforgettable, for sure.

Pretty amazing history this family has at Williams, graduating Perrys from 1852 to 1976? Gives new meaning to the whole “legacy” thing.

#24 Comment By Jr. Mom On October 6, 2009 @ 1:15 am

And, here’s Scott Perry. I don’t see a reference to Arthur Latham, but there is an Osgood Perry ’53 mentioned.

#25 Comment By hwc On October 6, 2009 @ 1:27 am

The direct legacies continued long after the fraternities were gone. Even a decade later, students were assigned to teh same house where their fathers (and grandfathers) had been members.

The Greek names and organizations were gone, but the house system functioned as a fraternity system (with semi-random assignment) until the kitchens were closed sometime in the late 70s, early 80s.

#26 Comment By 1980 On October 6, 2009 @ 7:18 am

I have never heard that legacies were assigned to the same houses as their fathers/grandfathers. By the late 1970’s the old frat houses were called the Row Houses, and many of these houses were very desirable upperclass housing; the kitchens were still open in 1980. Students were placed in these houses via the room draw. If there was some kind of exception to the room draw for frat legacies, that is news to me and it seems very unlikely in the late 70’s. Maybe some of the students chose to live in the same house as their fathers/grandfathers (my own son made this request at another college to the great delight of my father).

#27 Comment By hwc On October 6, 2009 @ 11:16 am

Earlier in the 1970s, young men were assigned to their new house by freshman entry and remained associated with that house throughout their four years, even though they didn’t live there until senior year. Legacies could be, and were, affiliated with their father’s fraternity house upon request.

There was no room draw that allow you to choose your row house. You were assigned a house affiliation and kept it as you moved through the various associated housing options — sophmore quad/West College for sophmores, typically Greylock Quad for juniors, and finally a room in their row house for seniors.

#28 Comment By Dick Swart On October 6, 2009 @ 12:00 pm


Although Rechtal may have expressed more views on the 50’s than I might have liked (well, you know how he is) your descriptions of the continuance of some of the salient characteristics of the 50’s house system into the 70’s is very interesting.

Absolutely, eating in smaller units with a mix of class years was one of the great bonding experiences. Those juniors and seniors who lived in the house added to this experience by making the house some place warm and welcoming whether you were still in a quad or not.

And with events and meetings and self-governance, the house participants gained whatever rewards came with a group identity and spirit. Yet none of this was done with any less spirit for the college.

I suppose that, like my old roommate, I find ‘neighborhood’ an unfamiliar word in a Williams context. This said without any reference to the dead issue of ‘fraternities’ and the mating dances Rechtal describes.

#29 Comment By Parent ’12 On October 6, 2009 @ 12:34 pm

These comments are truly wonderful. I went to bed in the midst of the unraveling of the Perry family.

I really appreciate the nomenclature & the history, especially how after the demise of fraternities there remained a bond to a house. Does anyone know whether there are House reunions or celebrations.

And, Dick, as for “neighborhoods” being foreign, they do seem to be a contrivance, meaningful only in that current students are forced to deal with the concept.

My guess is that over time, if the neighborhood system survives, certain houses or dorms within a neighborhood will become a mini-version of say “odd quad” or take on another characteristic… similar to what I assume the fraternities of old (& probably the current ones on other campuses) attract in welcoming certain types.

#30 Comment By hwc On October 6, 2009 @ 12:50 pm


As I recall (and lord knows it was a long time ago), the assignments to a house were made sometime during second semester freshman year and there was some kind of a welcoming dinner.

I believe that starting sophmore year, you had a social affiliation with your house. I don’t think that you could eat there every night, but there may have been one night a week or something like that. I do recall going to “my” house for Sunday brunch most weeks during sophmore year. This was when Watergate was starting to get cranking, so the house offered a great made to order omlette, the New York Times Week-in-Review, and a TV set for a litte football.

I was what would be referred to in a Greek system as a GDI, so I didn’t partake in the house social scene. I don’t recall ever going to a row house party. However, they functioned essentially as fraternities with officers and social dues and the kind of parties and social events that had been a traditional part of the those houses for decades. The only difference was the random assignment of young men (except for legacies) to the houses and the lack of fraternity names.

I don’t know about junior and senior year because I moved “off-campus” and off the meal plans. The off-campus people really weren’t a part of the college social scene. We lived in a shared house with four or five friends, cooked our own meals, and largely socialized with friends who lived in their own shared houses.

As I understand it — and there was quite a bit of detail written in Morty’s “studies” on housing — the cost of the separate house dining is what killed the strong house system. The recession and financial pressures on the college in the late 70s/early 80s forced a consolidation of dining into the dining halls — Driscoll, Greylock, Mission Park, Baxter, and the old Williams Inn (Dodd).

#31 Comment By hwc On October 6, 2009 @ 1:13 pm

My guess is that over time, if the neighborhood system survives, certain houses or dorms within a neighborhood will become a mini-version of say “odd quad” or take on another characteristic… similar to what I assume the fraternities of old (& probably the current ones on other campuses) attract in welcoming certain types.

I don’t see how there could be critical mass for that within a “neighborhood”. Each neighborhood only has 500 students and half of those — freshmen and sophmores — are highly segregated into class-specific housing and social groups. You really are down to 250 juniors and seniors. Large numbers of juniors are either abroad or catch-as-catch-can for housing during their one semester at Williams. A very large number of seniors have started to mentally “move on”, being preoccupied with grad school admissions, job hunting, and just generally trying to figure out WTF they will do next year. So you probably have no more than a hundred or so juniors/seniors who have any investment in their neighborhoods or houses. Is that group even large enought to subdivide into anything functional?

The Odd Quad at Williams (and Greylock to some extent) developed as a fairly large “neighborhood” of students who shared a common interest in wanting nothing to do with the row house scene. Keep in mind, that by the 1970s, students were specfically choosing Williams College because it had banned fraternities, so you had significant numbers of students who didn’t have any desire to be a part of a vestigal-fraternity house social scene.

#32 Comment By Rechtal Turgidley, Jr On October 6, 2009 @ 2:41 pm

In my grandfathers day, school was quite a different thing.


Here is his story, for those who do not choose to watch.

Tomkinson’s Schooldays

England, 1913. Tompkinson is a new boy at Graybridge, a traditional English public school. He tells of the horrors of the school life: beating the headmaster, fighting the grizzly bear, being nailed to the wall on St. Tadger’s Day, having to ask permission to breathe out after 10:30 PM, and Grayson , the school bully, who gets whatever he wants: alcohol, cigarettes and the company of an unmarried Filipina woman. The school bully addresses other pupils with endearing comments such as “you dismally untalented little creep” and “you spotty little oik”.

One day, Tomkinson is shot during French translation. When his mothervisits him in hospital, he begs her to take him home, but she refuses and tells him that his father, a polar explorer, has returned to the Antarctic because he has got a woman there. Tomkinson is shocked – for starters, his father is homosexual.

Tomkinson decides to escape. During a rugby match he scores a try and keeps on running, but is caught some miles away, by the school leopard (he is carried back to school on a stretcher). Then he tries to get out disguised as a woman and is caught by the Spanish master , who tries to molest him.

In model boat club, Tomkinson builds a full scale model icebreaker, but is told to melt it down by Mr. Ellis When a polar explorer comes to the school to do a speech, Tomkinson hides in his trunk, but then discovers that the polar explorer was only Mr. Ellis.

After three weeks detention in the school maggot pit, Tomkinson is brought before the school bully. He tells Tomkinson that he and the chaplain control the way out of the school, and that he wants Tomkinson to test the chaplain’s new tunnel.

An hour later, Tomkinson finds himself behind the headmaster’s writing desk, completely drunk, with 200 cigarettes and accompanied by a half-naked, unmarried Filipina lady, as the tunnel finishes too early. He is sentenced to the worst penalty: the 30-mile hop against St. Anthony’s, a Buddhist public school.

During the first half of the hop, Graybridge students drop out one by one, and just as Tomkinson feels his end near, Grayson comes and gives him a stimulant. Tomkinson wins the hop and he hops on to his home, where he finds his mother entangled with a half-naked man. He again tries to persuade her to let him stay, she again refuses. He is about to leave when another half-naked man joins them: it is his father .

Tomkinson returns to Graybridge, where he is appointed new school bully, Grayson having been offered a place at Eton. Tomkinson sees his chance in changing Graybridge, but decides he will have to do it in small steps, and carries on the bullying tradition.

A ripping yarn, indeed!

#33 Comment By aparent On October 6, 2009 @ 4:55 pm

“Each neighborhood only has 500 students and half of those — freshmen and sophmores — are highly segregated into class-specific housing and social groups.”

Williams sophomores are *not* segregated at all, either by “class-specific housing (or) social groups.”

You may be confused by thinking that Mission, which is currently used as an extension of the Frosh Quad for first-years, was previously chosen as housing by sophomores who wanted to live in its many single rooms.

#34 Comment By Parent ’12 On October 8, 2009 @ 4:10 pm

Here are links about Alph Delta Phi. It was founded as a literary society at Hamilton College in 1832.

It looks as if Garfield’s son, James Rudolph, was a member, but not President Garfield. Another sad story, they were both waiting for the train to Williamstown (JR, age 15, had recently been accepted) when Garfield was shot.

Other brothers were T. Roosevelt, FD Roosevelt, & Alger Hiss.




#35 Comment By Dan Dunn On October 12, 2009 @ 11:59 am

Very interesting post. I’m an Alpha Delt from MIT, and I came across your house history from your Twitter feed. Thanks for putting this together.

#36 Comment By David Dudley Field ’25 On June 9, 2017 @ 7:30 am

1) Thanks for resurrecting these posts! I love them.

2) I miss the old EphBlog community! This thread is a beautiful example of the enjoyable conversations we have lost. Curse you KT!

3) Any chance we can rebuild that community? One day at a time . . .

#37 Comment By Dick Swart On June 9, 2017 @ 1:12 pm


I join you in this curse of KT and your hope to rebuild the sense of enjoyable conversations and a pleasant community blog.

I just cut off comments under my post ‘The New Face of America’. I couldn’t stand the repetition ad nauseum and the tone of the exhaustingly wordy harangues.

I think the POV of Auboron Good does not move this blog in a positive direction:

“Pissing contests are the insightful little eccentrics of anonymous online discussion. The people engaged in them have no need to hold back views, and can be as crass or as civilized as they so choose.”