Between the s and the s, several ivy league colleges had a very strange requirement for all their incoming freshmen students. Harvard, Yale, Wellesley College, Vassar as well as Brown University, were among the elite American colleges that asked all the young men and women enrolled in their first year, to pose nude. He wrote:. I reported to a windowless room on an upper floor, where men dressed in crisp white garments instructed me to remove all of my clothes. And then — and this is the part I still have trouble believing — they attached metal pins to my spine. There was no actual piercing of skin, only of dignity, as four-inch metal pins were affixed with adhesive to my vertebrae at regular intervals from my neck down.
Nudity in the United States
Shocking, because what he found was an enormous cache of nude photographs, thousands and thousands of photographs of young men in front, side and rear poses. Disturbing, because on closer inspection the photos looked like the record of a bizarre body-piercing ritual: sticking out from the spine of each and every body was a row of sharp metal pins. The employee who found them was mystified.
No matter what embarrassments Harvard students might face in their first few weeks on campus, none will be as mortifying as posing for nude photos, which used to be as much a part of the college registration process as scheduling classes and choosing a dorm. For decades, thousands of students at Harvard and other prestigious schools would arrive on campus, strip down, and pose in front of a camera with four-inch metal pins sticking out of their spines, essentially turning them into human porcupines. That means photos may still somewhere exist of students of that era including Hillary Clinton, George H. It all began in , when the Harvard Physical Education Department took nude photos of all freshmen. At this time, there were no women at Harvard. Supposedly, Sheldon wanted to photograph the intellectual elite to show what their physiques looked like because he believed they would be indicative of their personalities, according to The Crimson. The late George Hersey, who was an art history professor at Yale when the article was written, said the real reason was eugenics. Hersey believed the photos would serve as a kind of matchmaking service for the hottest Ivy Leaguers.
The Ivy League nude posture photos were taken in the s through the s of all incoming freshmen, ostensibly to gauge the rate and severity of rickets , scoliosis , and lordosis in the population. Disturbing, because on closer inspection the photos looked like the record of a bizarre body-piercing ritual: sticking out from the spine of each and every body was a row of sharp metal pins. Hooton who may have been using the data to support their eugenical theory on body types and social hierarchy. What remained of the images were transferred to the Smithsonian and those were destroyed between and The pictures at first were taken to study posture. Later they were made by a researcher examining what he believed to be a relationship between body shape and intelligence. The science has since been discredited. Somatotype and Constitutional Psychology — Constitutional psychology is a theory, developed in the s by American psychologist William Herbert Sheldon, associating body types with human temperament types.