Re “Student unions” (Alumni Scene, Feb. 9): I married my sweetheart, Anne Zimmerman, during spring break in my senior year in 1952. Anne was a senior at Vassar, and we had dated steadily since we were high school freshmen. When we both turned 21 we sent letters to our parents saying, “We’re getting married, and we hope you’ll come.” They realized that resistance was futile and put together a church wedding for us.
I had my interview with the dean of students and got his permission. At that time World War II veterans at Princeton would not accept the rule that they could not marry, so exceptions were made for them. I was not a veteran, but I had honors standing. I asked the dean why, if you weren’t a veteran, you had to have honors standing to marry. He said, “When we came up with that rule, we believed that anyone smart enough to get honors standing would be smart enough not to try to get married while still an undergraduate!”
At Vassar the rules also forbade undergraduate marriage, but Anne found out that you could marry and wear your wedding ring as long as you didn’t make a big deal about it or get noticeably pregnant, in which case you had to leave. When she told her dean that she wanted to marry, the dean sent her to the Vassar infirmary for contraception information, which was hard to come by in those days.
After our wedding in Cleveland, Anne went back to Vassar and I returned to Princeton. We visited each other on weekends until our graduation. Anne wrote me some 900 letters during our four undergraduate years, one for each day we were apart. Her letters are in the Vassar library so that students today can see what a real romance was like.