'49 Tigers Were Lions for Night

The time: November 4, 1949. The place: Harvard Square.

It all started when 150 Princetonians standing in front of Cronin's decided to stage a pep rally in the Yard.

After winding through the Yard, they poured into the Square, attracting a crowd which eventually numbered 2000. "The boys were having a hell of a time," the Cambridge police chief said later of the most violent rioting in the Square in a decade.

The riot began at 11:30 p.m. on the eve of the Harvard-Princeton game. A Crimson contingent attempted to break up a Tiger rally in the Square.

In the ensuing flare-up, one police car had its license plates and windshield wiper taken, and three of its tires deflated. A trackless trolley attempting to get through the Square had its trolley poles removed by students; and more than 50 policemen answered calls to the Square to quell hand-to-hand fighting.


When the disturbance ended, four Harvard and eight Princeton undergraduates were taken to police headquarters, where several, unable to raise bail, spent the night.

Days after the incident, 21 Harvard students were placed on probation for terms of up to four months, while the Princetonians arrested were let off with a reprimand.