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This highly decorated foreword to the 1907 Technique (MIT's yearbook) was composed by senior Floyd Archibald Naramore, '07, an architecture student from Mason City, Iowa, and a member of Delta Upsilon fraternity. The ornate lettering and floral border are typical of the elaborately illustrated yearbooks put together by students between 1900 and 1930. The outpouring of sentiment for "stern old Tech" is characteristic of the emotional attachments often formed between MIT students and their alma mater throughout much of the twentieth century.
The MIT of 1907 was in Boston, not Cambridge, situated in nine buildings near Boylston Street in the Back Bay. The school, known colloquially as "Boston Tech," was home to 1466 students (including a few women) and 229 instructors. Tuition was a whopping $250 per year--the second highest in the country. (Compare Wellesley at $175 and Harvard at $150.) Tech's Acting President in 1907 was Arthur A. Noyes. Noyes was an interim replacement for the controversial Henry S. Pritchett, who is often remembered for eliminating football in 1901 and attempting a merger between MIT and Harvard in 1904-1905.
The Technique volumes in the MIT Archives span the dates 1887 to the present. They illustrate changing student tastes, concerns, humor, and mores. Early volumes include photos of faculty and students, poetry, jokes, drawings, songs, schedules of events, summaries of athletic seasons and theatrical productions, lists of students, rosters of fraternities, and other intriguing information. Page after page of illustrated advertisements appeal to the professional needs of the budding engineer or architect (e.g., Simplex Wire and Cable, or Cameron Pumps) or cater to the image expected of a "Tech Man" (e.g., Brooks Brothers Clothing and Gentlemen's Furnishings).
The Technique is available in the reading room of the Institute Archives and Special Collections, a division of the MIT Libraries. Information about other MIT publications in the Archives' collections is available elsewhere on the Archives website.
Object of the Month: December 1999