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The Houses of Williamstown: Delta Phi …

(originally posted 19 Oct, 2009, Click COMMENT to see entire post)


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#1 Comment By Jr. Mom On October 19, 2009 @ 11:52 am

This from the Williams website description of Wood Neighborhood:


Agard House, formerly the Delta Phi Fraternity on South Street, gets its name from Professor of Mathematics (1911-1932), Dean (until 1935), and Director of Admissions (1928-1935) Harry Leslie Agard. Agard boasts a beautiful common room, a country kitchen with stainless steel fixtures and appliances, and beautiful single and double rooms with unique architectural features.

Looks off-the-beaten track…unless you are a science student. The kitchen sounds like a plus. I wonder what the dorm rooms are like.

#2 Comment By Ronit On October 19, 2009 @ 11:56 am

Agard and Garfield are the two most distant dorms on campus. They’re really the only ones where I’d say having a car is a necessity (maybe Tyler/Tyler Annex also?)

#3 Comment By JG On October 19, 2009 @ 12:37 pm

I don’t know if I’d ever advocate a car for regular transportation at Williams (at least to class), because there is so little parking on campus. Definitely need a bike for those mornings you’re running late.

#4 Comment By kthomas On October 19, 2009 @ 1:15 pm

Um, pulling out my handy scout’s map of Williamstown, Agard is < .7km from the science labs, and < 1.2km from… pretty much anywhere on campus.

Drive? Bike, yes. Drive?

#5 Comment By Parent ’12 On October 19, 2009 @ 1:24 pm


Thanks for providing distance numbers. I’ve heard many complaints about Agard’s distance from the rest of campus.

Although, it does have a nice sized area for parking, which I once used when I peeked in the windows one summer afternoon. Obviously, I’m too car dependent.

#6 Comment By Parent ’12 On October 19, 2009 @ 1:27 pm

Delta Phi is the oldest continuous fraternity in the United States, founded at Union College in 1827. It has an affiliation with the St Elmo Club.

Quite a list of distinguished members, including JP Morgan & John Jacob Astor.

Edgar Miles Bronfman, Sr. (1947) & Terris Moore (1926) must have lived in Agard.

Moore had an interesting life: President of University of Alaska (1949-1953), President of Boston Museum of Science (1945-1948), Explorer American Expedition (Sikong Expedition) which explored, mapped and determined altitude and made first ascent of Mt.Minya Konka, Tibet and China; also member of various expeditions which made other 1st ascents; Fellow, Royal Geographic Society.


#7 Comment By Jr. Mom On October 19, 2009 @ 2:02 pm

@Parent ’12:

Good sleuthing.

I couldn’t find much on *Harry Leslie Agard.

*Update- He attended Wesleyan and then Yale, and was a member of the Eclectic Society of Phi Nu Theta.

#8 Comment By Parent ’12 On October 19, 2009 @ 3:56 pm

@Jr. Mom:

Do you think that Williams had a chapter of Phi Nu Theta? Eclectic Society.. really does have that Wesleyan ring.

Dick, or anyone-

What’s with the ski jumper?! Who? Where?

And, the man on the Lawnmower (?), or is that a small tractor, is he a chef? I’m trying to figure out the hat.

#9 Comment By kthomas On October 19, 2009 @ 4:01 pm

Is that a Wolpertinger in the chair?

#10 Comment By Ronit On October 19, 2009 @ 4:11 pm

@kthomas: Let’s say you have an 8:30 AM class in the Studio Art building. On one of Williamstown’s more Arctic mornings. You might want a car.

Of course, given the utterly silly placement of student parking, having a car probably wouldn’t help much. Security would probably assign Agard residents parking in the Poker Flats lot.

Basically, I wouldn’t want to live in Agard or Garfield, unless all my classes were in the science quad.

#11 Comment By Parent ’12 On October 19, 2009 @ 5:06 pm


I thought the same thing! But, isn’t it too big?

Seriously, what IS it?!

#12 Comment By kthomas On October 19, 2009 @ 5:13 pm

It that a Giant Wolpertinger in that chair?

#13 Comment By Dick Swart On October 19, 2009 @ 5:39 pm

I contacted classmate E. Dowd who assures me:

No it is a 6″ 3 and 1/2″ pooka.

Mr. Wilson: [reading from an encyclopedia] “P O O K A – Pooka – from old Celtic mythology – a fairy spirit in animal form – always very large. The pooka appears here and there – now and then – to this one and that one – a benign but mischievous creature – very fond of rumpots, crackpots, and how are you, Mr. Wilson?”

“How are you, Mr. Wilson?” Who in the encyclopedia wants to know?

#14 Comment By Anne Agard On November 17, 2009 @ 5:28 pm

I was just googling family names, and noticed someone saying that they couldn’t find much on Harry Leslie Agard. He was my grandfather. He was a gifted teacher, by all accounts. He loved golf, and I have childhood memories of tagging after him around the golf course in Williamstown in the 1950’s. He also loved motoring, as they called it in those days. He and his wife and teenaged son (my dad) took quite an adventurous cross-country road trip to California in the 1920’s when the roads were not yet paved all the way. He and my grandmother lived with us in Amherst during the last years of their lives, and he passed away in the late 1960’s, at the age of 80.

#15 Comment By kthomas On November 17, 2009 @ 5:37 pm

… a 313 page yearbook called “Gulielmensian” for the year 1930 for Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. It is dedicated to Harry Leslie Agard, “whose sympathetic appreciation of undergraduate problems has long been an important link between students and faculty…”

#16 Comment By Dick Swart On November 17, 2009 @ 5:43 pm

@Anne Agard:
Dear Ms Agard,

Thank you for adding this warm note on Agard House. Great family memories!

Dick Swart

#17 Comment By kthomas On November 17, 2009 @ 5:53 pm

@Anne Agard: Greetings, and thank you as well– Dick beat me to that. Please feel free to stick around and explore and contribute– as you can see, we are a contentious bunch, but have our redeeming qualities. And we’d be happy to know more about Prof. Agard.

#18 Comment By kthomas On November 17, 2009 @ 6:58 pm

Also: discovered in the process:

Hans George Bodenstein, ’29. In 1937, co-edited a volume of proceedings from a conference in Warsaw, the law governing aircraft. The City Archives in Stuttgart show two letters in the personal correspondence of Klaus Mehnert, also from 1937. No further references that I see at this point. I presume lost.

#19 Comment By Jennie Agard On January 30, 2010 @ 10:38 pm

I’ll add to my sister’s recollections –
Harry Agard, BA Wesleyan 1904, PhD Yale 1911, his dissertation was on set theory.
He taught at Wilbraham Academy and at Phillips Exeter in between Wesleyan & Yale; he then taught mathematics at Williams; he was Dean of the College when he retired.
He and my grandmother built a house at (on?) The Knolls in 1946, and he grew quite an impressive flower garden for her there, but he also always had a vegetable garden on Hoxsey Street.
Jennie Agard

#20 Comment By Jr. Mom On January 30, 2010 @ 11:12 pm

@Jennie Agard:

I was the one who voiced having trouble finding information on your grandfather, so special thanks for responding. What a rich family history you have…as well as an important part of the Williams story.

I loved hearing from your sister about the cross country trip to California on dirt roads. I can’t imagine “motoring” across the desert back in those days. And where is “The Knolls”, by the way?

#21 Comment By Ronit On January 31, 2010 @ 2:03 am


No Street View, sadly.

#22 Comment By Parent ’12 On January 31, 2010 @ 10:20 am

@Anne Agard:
@Jennie Agard:

Thank you both for adding more details about your grandfather and Williams.

When I drive around Williamstown, which isn’t often, I know where I’m going but typically I don’t know the names of the roads. I have driven through the Knolls (thanks, Ronit, for the map) as a short-cut to the Clark.

Memories of my last drive were of single-family homes, but not apartments, as the map indicates. The homes looked lovely particularly because of how they were sited.

#23 Comment By Dick Swart On January 31, 2010 @ 10:32 am

I wonder if this college property, listed as three apartments, might be the Agard residence in The Knolls?

#24 Comment By Jr. Mom On January 31, 2010 @ 10:45 am

Hopefully Jenny or Anne can confirm.

Look at those round windows! Yoo-hoo…calling Robert Stern?

#25 Comment By Dick Swart On January 31, 2010 @ 1:04 pm

#26 Comment By Dick Swart On January 31, 2010 @ 1:10 pm

Hey, forget my speculations. I just saw ‘1946’ as the year.

God, it’s no fun to get old.

As Emily Litella used to say on SNL, “Never mind”.

#27 Comment By Jr. Mom On January 31, 2010 @ 2:24 pm

@Dick Swart:

We should all be so lucky to have a brain like yours, but nonetheless I will pass on to you one of my favorite recent articles.

I thought about using it for a post, and P ’12 had some very creative suggestions as to how to sufficiently bridge the degrees of separation to make it Ephblog appropriate, but alas, I have …ahem…forgotten what they were! ;-)

#28 Comment By Dick Swart On January 31, 2010 @ 2:37 pm

If I may jiggle just a bit, was it keyed by this quote from the article?

“If you always hang around with those you agree with and read things that agree with what you already know, you’re not going to wrestle with your established brain connections.”

Hmmmmm … EphBlog, Dave, hwc, PTC, those who troll by night …

Why, it may be that EphBlog is the perfect prescription for that aging brain.

Inspire you to a post?

#29 Comment By Jr. Mom On January 31, 2010 @ 2:58 pm

@Dick Swart:

That is a good angle. I have to admit that one of the things I like about Ephblog is that there are certainly a broader range of opinions than I get at my small town coffee klatch.

But you are jogging the brain cells. I’m now remembering that there was an academic involved…starts with the letter S, I think…Strogatz maybe? I also remember this quote (about the advantages of the aging brain) was brought up:

Recently, researchers have found even more positive news. The brain, as it traverses middle age, gets better at recognizing the central idea, the big picture. If kept in good shape, the brain can continue to build pathways that help its owner recognize patterns and, as a consequence, see significance and even solutions much faster than a young person can.

I think that might be my favorite part of the article…heh…

#30 Comment By frank uible On January 31, 2010 @ 5:36 pm

My brain is so old that I ought to be the Oracle.

#31 Comment By Parent ’12 On January 31, 2010 @ 6:37 pm

@Jr. Mom:

Thank you for the compliment. (I did have a scholarly Eph reference in Williams Psychology-Neuroscience dept., but also another one.)

@Dick Swart:

Jr. Mom’s absolutely right about your brain. And-

Yes, your jiggling synapses are in sync with mine. The “provocative” quote that I noticed:

“Educators say that, for adults, one way to nudge neurons in the right direction is to challenge the very assumptions they have worked so hard to accumulate while young. ”

@frank uible:

Wise Oracles are not necessarily old. You’re younger than you think.

As for my memory, long-term storage from not deleting email and search command for “memory” retrieval.