Don’t Fence Me In


And don’t fence me out, for that matter.

Pictured above is Fence Club, one of Yale’s most exclusive, here in all its Old Boys’ Club glory/infamy in 1960. When the club closed in 1973, the Palm Beach Daily News wrote the following, highlighting one of the eternal truths when it comes to exclusivity.

Still going strong on campus are eight to nine secret societies, depending on whether St. Anthony’s is counted as a fraternity or a secret society. Housed in windowless “tombs” and with a total of about 150 members, they are the kind of institutions most students criticize but few turn down if they are tapped because of both the abstract honor and the concrete business entree that membership represents.

The club has been revived in a less exclusive form, and presently thrives. — CC

4 Comments on "Don’t Fence Me In"

  1. Cole Porter, Yale ’13, wrote his most popular juke box hit “Don’t Fence Me In” in 1934, the year Fence Club was founded. Maybe he was making a statement. Porter was a DKE.

  2. Incredible coincidence! My first headline was “White Picket Fence”….

  3. Reggie Darling | November 25, 2015 at 10:39 am |

    Fence Club actually closed in 1976, I think, but was pretty much dead by 1975 when I was a freshman at Yale and rushed membership there. I was a member, if you could call it that, for the last gasping months it was still operating. The clubhouse was in really bad shape then, mostly stripped of its contents and very much the worse for wear. I didn’t bother to pay my dues the following year, when it closed its doors forever. The still-handsome building was soon appropriated by the university and is, I think, now offices.

  4. Fence limped along until 1979 or 1980. I joined in 1977 when a few tried to raise some funding for repairs. I think it stayed open until Horace retired.

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