This Week in Amherst History

Sixty-nine years ago this week, Amherst’s Delta Tau Delta house was nearing the final stage of construction on the hill, and The Amherst Student reported that the house would be open for occupancy sometime in February. The house was built “on the old Tyler property” and today bears that name.

The house was designed to feature rooms with individual fireplaces and a large common room with a single “massive fireplace.”

Myer E. Baker, the contractor and coincidentally an Amherst alum ’17 was very excited for the new building, which promised to be quite beautiful. “The main wing will have 14 studies with adjoining bed rooms accommodating two men per suite,” the article reported.


An article on the front page of The Student 45 years ago this week proclaimed, “Food Waste Prompts Recent Attack on Butter Hoarders.” Beneath a picture of an unsuspecting culprit caught nabbing too many pats of butter, the article reported on the enforcement of Valentine’s “one-butter clause.”

Apparently, unnecessary food waste had led the Valentine staff to act forcefully in ensuring that students didn’t take extra pats of butter, which would only go to waste. Valentine Director Gordon B. Bridges spoke bitterly of those students who would “pick up six or seven [pats of butter] and then leave several on their trays.”

No other restrictions were placed, and Bridges made it clear that students could have as much food as they wanted as long as they took only what they needed.

The policy was effective, it seems, as indicated by a sampling of Valentine busboys, which showed that on the whole, butter waste had decreased since the enforcement.


When 50 students from both Amherst and Princeton were polled in a general cultural knowledge test, Amherst’s students came out on top, according to an article in The Student 13 years ago this week. Students from both schools were asked to identify the term “deus ex machina,” several Roman numerals, Boss Tweed, Ho Chi Minh, the Battle of the Bulge, a “baker’s dozen,” the solar plexus, Henry Clay, the Bard of Avon and the Bay of Biscay.

More Amherst students were able to identify these terms in all cases except for Boss Tweed, where five more Princeton students knew of the corrupt 19th-century political boss.

Still, one bright Princeton student answered that Boss Tweed was a bandmate of Jimi Hendrix; another logically thought that Boss Tweed was what Bruce Springsteen wears in concert.

The article reported victoriously that “Amherst clobbered Princeton 38-12” in identifying the solar plexus, and only nine Princeton students could locate the Bay of Biscay.

Of all the questions, the deus ex machina elicited the most humorous replies: one Amherst student thought that it was “a new breakfast cereal,” while another conjectured that it might be the title of an old Police album.