Benjamin Homer Hall.

A Collection of College Words and Customs online

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Universities, and was formerly in use in this country, in this
sense.

The _Master_ of the College, or "Head of the House," is a D.D.,
who has been a Fellow. He is the supreme ruler within the college
Trails, and moves about like an Undergraduate's deity, keeping at
an awful distance from the students, and not letting himself be
seen too frequently even at chapel. Besides his fat salary and
house, he enjoys many perquisites and privileges, not the least of
which is that of committing matrimony. - _Bristed's Five Years in
an Eng. Univ._, Ed. 2d, p. 16.

Every schollar, that on proofe is found able to read the originals
of the Old and New Testament into the Latine tongue, &c. and at
any publick act hath the approbation of the Overseers and _Master_
of the Colledge, is fit to be dignified with his first
degree. - _New England's First Fruits_, in _Mass. Hist. Coll._,
Vol. I. pp. 245, 246.

2. A title of dignity in colleges and universities; as, _Master_
of Arts. - _Webster_.

They, likewise, which peruse the questiones published by the
_Masters_. - _Mather's Magnalia_, B. IV. pp. 131, 132.


MASTER OF THE KITCHEN. In Harvard College, a person who formerly
made all the contracts, and performed all the duties necessary for
the providing of commons, under the direction of the Steward. He
was required to be "discreet and capable." - _Laws of Harv. Coll._,
1814, p. 42.


MASTER'S QUESTION. A proposition advanced by a candidate for the
degree of Master of Arts.

In the older American colleges it seems to have been the
established custom, at a very early period, for those who
proceeded Masters, to maintain in public _questions_ or
propositions on scientific or moral topics. Dr. Cotton Mather, in
his _Magnalia_, p. 132, referring to Harvard College, speaks of
"the _questiones_ published by the Masters," and remarks that they
"now and then presume to fly as high as divinity." These questions
were in Latin, and the discussions upon them were carried on in
the same language. The earliest list of Masters' questions extant
was published at Harvard College in the year 1655. It was
entitled, "Quæstiones in Philosophia Discutiendæ ... in comitiis
per Inceptores in artib[us]." In 1669 the title was changed to
"Quæstiones pro Modulo Discutiendæ ... per Inceptores." The last
Masters' questions were presented at the Commencement in 1789. The
next year Masters' exercises were substituted, which usually
consisted of an English Oration, a Poem, and a Valedictory Latin
Oration, delivered by three out of the number of candidates for
the second degree. A few years after, the Poem was omitted. The
last Masters' exercises were performed in the year 1843. At Yale
College, from 1787 onwards, there were no Masters' valedictories,
nor syllogistic disputes in Latin, and in 1793 there were no
Master's exercises at all.


MATHEMATICAL SLATE. At Harvard College, the best mathematician
received in former times a large slate, which, on leaving college,
he gave to the best mathematician in the next class, and thus
transmitted it from class to class. The slate disappeared a few
years since, and the custom is no longer observed.


MATRICULA. A roll or register, from _matrix_. In _colleges_
the register or record which contains the names of the students,
times of entering into college, remarks on their character,
&c.

The remarks made in the _Matricula_ of the College respecting
those who entered the Freshman Class together with him are, of
one, that he "in his third year went to Philadelphia
College." - _Hist. Sketch of Columbia College_, p. 42.

Similar brief remarks are found throughout the _Matricula_ of
King's College. - _Ibid._, p. 42.

We find in its _Matricula_ the names of William Walton,
&c. - _Ibid._, p. 64.


MATRICULATE. Latin, _Matricula_, a roll or register, from
_matrix_. To enter or admit to membership in a body or society,
particularly in a college or university, by enrolling the name in
a register. - _Wotton_.

In July, 1778, he was examined at that university, and
_matriculated_. - _Works of R.T. Paine, Biography_, p. xviii.

In 1787, he _matriculated_ at St. John's College,
Cambridge. - _Household Words_, Vol. I. p. 210.


MATRICULATE. One enrolled in a register, and thus admitted to
membership in a society. - _Arbuthnot_.

The number of _Matriculates_ has in every instance been greater
than that stated in the table. - _Cat. Univ. of North Carolina_,
1848-49.


MATRICULATION. The act of registering a name and admitting to
membership. - _Ayliffe_.

In American colleges, students who are found qualified on
examination to enter usually join the class to which they are
admitted, on probation, and are matriculated as members of the
college in full standing, either at the close of their first or
second term. The time of probation seldom exceeds one year; and if
at the end of this time, or of a shorter, as the case may be, the
conduct of a student has not been such as is deemed satisfactory
by the Faculty, his connection with the college ceases. As a
punishment, the _matriculation certificate_ of a student is
sometimes taken from him, and during the time in which he is
unmatriculated, he is under especial probation, and disobedience
to college laws is then punished with more severity than at other
times. - _Laws Univ. at Cam., Mass._, 1848, p. 12. _Laws Yale
Coll._, 1837, p. 9.

MAUDLIN. The name by which Magdalen College, Cambridge, Eng., is
always known and spoken of by Englishmen.

The "_Maudlin Men_" were at one time so famous for tea-drinking,
that the Cam, which licks the very walls of the college, is said
to have been absolutely rendered unnavigable with
tea-leaves. - _Alma Mater_, Vol. II. p. 202.

MAX. Abbreviated for _maximum_, greatest. At Union College, he who
receives the highest possible number of marks, which is one
hundred, in each study, for a term, is said to _take Max_ (or
maximum); to be a _Max scholar_. On the Merit Roll all the _Maxs_
are clustered at the top.

A writer remarks jocosely of this word. It is "that indication of
perfect scholarship to which none but Freshmen aspire, and which
is never attained except by accident." - _Sophomore Independent_,
Union College, Nov. 1854.

Probably not less than one third of all who enter each new class
confidently expect to "mark _max_," during their whole course, and
to have the Valedictory at Commencement. - _Ibid._

See MERIT ROLL.


MAY. At the University of Cambridge, Eng., the college Easter term
examination is familiarly spoken of as _the May_.

The "_May_" is one of the features which distinguishes Cambridge
from Oxford; at the latter there are no public College
examinations. - _Bristed's Five Years in an Eng. Univ._, Ed. 2d,
p. 64.

As the "_May_" approached, I began to feel nervous. - _Ibid._, p.
70.


MAY TRAINING. A correspondent from Bowdoin College where the
farcical custom of May Training is observed writes as follows in
reference to its origin: "In 1836, a law passed the Legislature
requiring students to perform military duty, and they were
summoned to appear at muster equipped as the law directs, to be
inspected and drilled with the common militia. Great excitement
prevailed in consequence, but they finally concluded to _train_.
At the appointed time and place, they made their appearance armed
_cap-à-pie_ for grotesque deeds, some on foot, some on horse, with
banners and music appropriate, and altogether presenting as
ludicrous a spectacle as could easily be conceived of. They
paraded pretty much 'on their own hook,' threw the whole field
into disorder by their evolutions, and were finally ordered off
the ground by the commanding officer. They were never called upon
again, but the day is still commemorated."


M.B. An abbreviation for _Medicinæ Baccalaureus_, Bachelor of
Physic. At Cambridge, Eng., the candidate for this degree must
have had his name five years on the boards of some college, have
resided three years, and attended medical lectures and hospital
practice during the other two; also have attended the lectures of
the Professors of Anatomy, Chemistry, and Botany, and the Downing
Professor of Medicine, and passed an examination to their
satisfaction. At Oxford, Eng., the degree is given to an M.A. of
one year's standing, who is also a regent of the same length of
time. The exercises are disputations upon two distinct days before
the Professors of the Faculty of Medicine. The degree was formerly
given in American colleges before that of M.D., but has of late
years been laid aside.


M.D. An abbreviation for _Medicines Doctor_, Doctor of Physic. At
Cambridge, Eng., the candidate for this degree must be a Bachelor
of Physic of five years' standing, must have attended hospital
practice for three years, and passed an examination satisfactory
to the Medical Professors of the University,

At Oxford, an M.D. must be an M.B. of three years' standing. The
exercises are three distinct lectures, to be read on three
different days. In American colleges the degree is usually given
to those who have pursued their studies in a medical school for
three years; but the regulations differ in different institutions.


MED, MEDIC. A name sometimes given to a student in medicine.

- - who sent
The _Medic_ to our aid.
_The Crayon_, Yale Coll., 1823, p. 23.

"The Council are among ye, Yale!"
Some roaring _Medic_ cries.
_Ibid._, p. 24.

The slain, the _Medics_ stowed away.
_Ibid._, p. 24.

Seniors, Juniors, Freshmen blue,
And _Medics_ sing the anthem too.
_Yale Banger_, Nov. 1850.

Take ...
Sixteen interesting "_Meds_,"
With dirty hands and towzeled heads.
_Songs of Yale_, 1853, p. 16.


MEDALIST. In universities, colleges, &c., one who has gained a
medal as the reward of merit. - _Ed. Rev. Gradus ad Cantab._

These _Medalists_ then are the best scholars among the men who
have taken a certain mathematical standing; but as out of the
University these niceties of discrimination are apt to be dropped
they usually pass at home for absolutely the first and second
scholars of the year, and sometimes they are so. - _Bristed's Five
Years in an Eng. Univ._, Ed. 2d, p. 62.


MEDICAL FACULTY. Usually abbreviated Med. Fac. The Medical Faculty
Society was established one evening after commons, in the year
1818, by four students of Harvard College, James F. Deering,
Charles Butterfield, David P. Hall, and Joseph Palmer, members of
the class of 1820. Like many other societies, it originated in
sport, and, as in after history shows, was carried on in the same
spirit. The young men above named happening to be assembled in
Hollis Hall, No. 13, a proposition was started that Deering should
deliver a mock lecture, which having been done, to the great
amusement of the rest, he in his turn proposed that they should at
some future time initiate members by solemn rites, in order that
others might enjoy their edifying exercises. From this small
beginning sprang the renowned Med. Fac. Society. Deering, a
"fellow of infinite jest," was chosen its first President; he was
much esteemed for his talents, but died early, the victim of
melancholy madness.

The following entertaining account of the early history of this
Society has been kindly furnished, in a letter to the editor, by a
distinguished gentleman who was its President in the year 1820,
and a graduate of the class of 1822.

"With regard to the Medical Faculty," he writes, "I suppose that
you are aware that its object was mere fun. That object was
pursued with great diligence during the earlier period of its
history, and probably through its whole existence. I do not
remember that it ever had a constitution, or any stated meetings,
except the annual one for the choice of officers. Frequent
meetings, however, were called by the President to carry out the
object of the institution. They were held always in some student's
room in the afternoon. The room was made as dark as possible, and
brilliantly lighted. The Faculty sat round a long table, in some
singular and antique costume, almost all in large wigs, and
breeches with knee-buckles. This practice was adopted to make a
strong impression on students who were invited in for examination.
Members were always examined for admission. The strangest
questions were asked by the venerable board, and often strange
answers elicited, - no matter how remote from the purpose, provided
there was wit or drollery. Sometimes a singularly slow person
would be invited, on purpose to puzzle and tease him with
questions that he could make nothing of; and he would stand in
helpless imbecility, without being able to cover his retreat with
even the faintest suspicion of a joke. He would then be gravely
admonished of the necessity of diligent study, reminded of the
anxiety of his parents on his account, and his duty to them, and
at length a month or two would be allowed him to prepare himself
for another examination, or he would be set aside altogether. But
if he appeared again for another trial, he was sure to fare no
better. He would be set aside at last. I remember an instance in
which a member was expelled for a reason purely fictitious, - droll
enough to be worth telling, if I could remember it, - and the
secretary directed 'to write to his father, and break the matter
gently to him, that it might not bring down the gray hairs of the
old man with sorrow to the grave.'

"I have a pleasant recollection of the mock gravity, the broad
humor, and often exquisite wit of those meetings, but it is
impossible to give you any adequate idea of them. Burlesque
lectures on all conceivable and inconceivable subjects were
frequently read or improvised by members _ad libitum_. I remember
something of a remarkable one from Dr. Alden, upon part of a
skeleton of a superannuated horse, which he made to do duty for
the remains of a great German Professor with an unspeakable name.

"Degrees were conferred upon all the members, - M.D. or D.M.[46]
according to their rank, which is explained in the Catalogue.
Honorary degrees were liberally conferred upon conspicuous persons
at home and abroad. It is said that one gentleman, at the South, I
believe, considered himself insulted by the honor, and complained
of it to the College government, who forthwith broke up the
Society. But this was long after my time, and I cannot answer for
the truth of the tradition. Diplomas were given to the M.D.'s and
D.M.'s in ludicrous Latin, with a great seal appended by a green
ribbon. I have one, somewhere. My name is rendered _Filius
Steti_."

A graduate of the class of 1828 writes: "I well remember that my
invitation to attend the meeting of the Med. Fac. Soc. was written
in barbarous Latin, commencing 'Domine Crux,' and I think I passed
so good an examination that I was made _Professor longis
extremitatibus_, or Professor with long shanks. It was a society
for purposes of mere fun and burlesque, meeting secretly, and
always foiling the government in their attempts to break it up."

The members of the Society were accustomed to array themselves in
masquerade dresses, and in the evening would enter the houses of
the inhabitants of Cambridge, unbidden, though not always
unwelcome guests. This practice, however, and that of conferring
degrees on public characters, brought the Society, as is above
stated, into great disrepute with the College Faculty, by whom it
was abolished in the year 1834.

The Catalogue of the Society was a burlesque on the Triennial of
the College. The first was printed in the year 1821, the others
followed in the years 1824, 1827, 1830, and 1833. The title on the
cover of the Catalogue of 1833, the last issued, similar to the
titles borne by the others, was, "Catalogus Senatus Facultatis, et
eorum qui munera et officia gesserunt, quique alicujus gradus
laurea donati sunt in Facultate Medicinæ in Universitate
Harvardiana constituta, Cantabrigiæ in Republica Massachusettensi.
Cantabrigiæ: Sumptibus Societatis. MDCCCXXXIII. Sanguinis
circulationis post patefactionem Anno CCV."

The Prefaces to the Catalogues were written in Latin, the
character of which might well be denominated _piggish_. In the
following translations by an esteemed friend, the beauty and force
of the originals are well preserved.

_Preface to the Catalogue of 1824_.

"To many, the first edition of the Medical Faculty Catalogue was a
wonderful and extraordinary thing. Those who boasted that they
could comprehend it, found themselves at length terribly and
widely in error. Those who did not deny their inability to get the
idea of it, were astonished and struck with amazement. To certain
individuals, it seemed to possess somewhat of wit and humor, and
these laughed immoderately; to others, the thing seemed so absurd
and foolish, that they preserved a grave and serious countenance.

"Now, a new edition is necessary, in which it is proposed to state
briefly in order the rise and progress of the Medical Faculty. It
is an undoubted matter of history, that the Medical Faculty is the
most ancient of all societies in the whole world. In fact, its
archives contain documents and annals of the Society, written on
birch-bark, which are so ancient that they cannot be read at all;
and, moreover, other writings belong to the Society, legible it is
true, but, by ill-luck, in the words of an unknown and long-buried
language, and therefore unintelligible. Nearly all the documents
of the Society have been reduced to ashes at some time amid the
rolling years since the creation of man. On this account the
Medical Faculty cannot pride itself on an uninterrupted series of
records. But many oral traditions in regard to it have reached us
from our ancestors, from which it may be inferred that this
society formerly flourished under the name of the 'Society of
Wits' (Societas Jocosorum); and you might often gain an idea of it
from many shrewd remarks that have found their way to various
parts of the world.

"The Society, after various changes, has at length been brought to
its present form, and its present name has been given it. It is,
by the way, worthy of note, that this name is of peculiar
signification, the word 'medical' having the same force as
'sanative' (sanans), as far as relates to the mind, and not to the
body, as in the vulgar signification. To be brief, the meaning of
'medical' is 'diverting' (divertens), that is, _turning_ the mind
from misery, evil, and grief. Under this interpretation, the
Medical Faculty signifies neither more nor less than the 'Faculty
of Recreation.' The thing proposed by the Society is, to _divert_
its immediate and honorary members from unbecoming and foolish
thoughts, and is twofold, namely, relating both to manners and to
letters. Professors in the departments appropriated to letters
read lectures; and the alumni, as the case requires, are sometimes
publicly examined and questioned. The Library at present contains
a single book, but this _one_ is called for more and more every
day. A collection of medical apparatus belongs to the Society,
beyond doubt the most grand and extensive in the whole world,
intended to sharpen the _faculties_ of all the members.

"Honorary degrees have been conferred on illustrious and
remarkable men of all countries.

"A certain part of the members go into all academies and literary
'gymnasia,' to act as nuclei, around which branches of this
Society may be enabled to form."

_Preface to the Catalogue of 1830_.

"As the members of the Medical Faculty have increased, as many
members have been distinguished by honorary degrees, and as the
former Catalogues have all been sold, the Senate orders a new
Catalogue to be printed.

"It seemed good to the editors of the former Catalogue briefly to
state the nature and to defend the antiquity of this Faculty.
Nevertheless, some have refused their assent to the statements,
and demand some reasons for what is asserted. We therefore, once
for all, declare that, of all societies, this is the most ancient,
the most extensive, the most learned, and the most divine. We
establish its antiquity by two arguments: firstly, because
everywhere in the world there are found many monuments of our
ancestors; secondly, because all other societies derive their
origin from this. It appears from our annals, that different
curators have laid their bones beneath the Pyramids, Naples, Rome,
and Paris. These, as described by a faithful secretary, are found
at this day.

"The obelisks of Egypt contain in hieroglyphic characters many
secrets of our Faculty. The Chinese Wall, and the Colossus at
Rhodes, were erected by our ancestors in sport. We could cite many
other examples, were it necessary.

"All societies to whom belong either wonderful art, or nothing
except secrecy, have been founded on our pattern. It appears that
the Society of Free-Masons was founded by eleven disciples of the
Med. Fac. expelled A.D. 1425. But these ignorant fellows were
never able to raise their brotherhood to our standard of
perfection: in this respect alone they agree with us, in admitting
only the _masculine_ gender ('masc. gen.').[47]

"Therefore we have always been Antimason. No one who has ever
gained admittance to our assembly has the slightest doubt that we
have extended our power to the farthest regions of the earth, for
we have embassies from every part of the world, and Satan himself
has learned many particulars from our Senate in regard to the
administration of affairs and the means of torture.

"We pride ourselves in being the most learned society on earth,
for men versed in all literature and erudition, when hurried into
our presence for examination, quail and stand in silent amazement.
'Placid Death' alone is coeval with this Society, and resembles
it, for in its own Catalogue it equalizes rich and poor, great and
small, white and black, old and young.

"Since these things are so, and you, kind reader, have been
instructed on these points, I will not longer detain you from the
book and the picture.[48] Farewell."

_Preface to the Catalogue of_ 1833.

"It was much less than three years since the third edition of this
Catalogue saw the light, when the most learned Med. Fac. began to
be reminded that the time had arrived for preparing to polish up
and publish a new one. Accordingly, special curators were selected
to bring this work to perfection. These curators would not neglect
the opportunity of saying a few words on matters of great moment.

"We have carefully revised the whole text, and, as far as we
could, we have taken pains to remove typographical errors. The
duty is not light. But the number of medical men in the world has
increased, and it is becoming that the whole world should know the
true authors of its greatest blessing. Therefore we have inserted
their names and titles in their proper places.

"Among other changes, we would not forget the creation of a new
office. Many healing remedies, foreign, rare, and wonderful, have
been brought for the use of the Faculty from Egypt and Arabia
Felix. It was proper that some worthy, capable man, of quick
discernment, should have charge of these most precious remedies.
Accordingly, the Faculty has chosen a curator to be called the
'Apothecarius.' Many quacks and cheats have desired to hold the
new office; but the present occupant has thrown all others into
the shade. The names, surnames, and titles of this excellent man
will be found in the following pages.[49]

"We have done well, not only towards others, but also towards
ourselves. Our library contains quite a number of books; among
others, ten thousand obtained through the munificence and
liberality of great societies in the almost unknown regions of
Kamtschatka and the North Pole, and especially also through the
munificence of the Emperor of all the Russias. It has become so
immense, that, at the request of the Librarian, the Faculty have
prohibited any further donations.

"In the next session of the General Court of Massachusetts, the
Senate of the Faculty (assisted by the President of Harvard
University) will petition for forty thousand sesterces, for the
purpose of erecting a large building to contain the immense
accumulation of books. From the well-known liberality of the
Legislature, no doubts are felt of obtaining it.

"To say more would make a long story. And this, kind reader, is
what we have to communicate to you at the outset. The fruit will
show with how much fidelity we have performed the task imposed
upon us by the most illustrious men. Farewell."

As a specimen of the character of the honorary degrees conferred



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