Prank Kills Georgetown Student

Healy Hall at Georgetown University (source: <a href="http://jrbenjamin.com/2012/12/18/when-i-heard-the-learnd-astronomer/">The Bully Pulpit</a>)
Healy Hall at Georgetown University (source: The Bully Pulpit)

This is a tragic story we came across in the Washington Post, from November 19th, 1912. This is the story of prank gone horribly wrong at Georgetown University.

Climbing out on a narrow ledge on the front of the Healey Building at Georgetown University in the dark last evening to play a joke on a classmate, Philip N. Henry, 17 years old, a freshman, slipped and fell about 50 feet to the ground, receiving injuring from which he died while being taken to Georgetown Hospital.

The ledge from which Henry tumbled is only about a foot wide, and runs even with the fourth floor across the eastern side of the building. Several other students in their pranks had walked around the same ledge in order to surprise occupants of the other front rooms, which led to the promulgation of an order forbidding a repetition of the prank under penalty of expulsion.

Henry had been at the university only a few weeks, but had developed great fondness for fun. His jokes were of the harmless kind, however, and he was universally liked.

About 6:30 o’clock two students leaving the Healey building heard a thud and groan.

Following the building line they found Henry unconscious. They notified a member of the faculty, who telephoned to the hospital for the ambulance. A physician pronounced the youth dying. His neck, both legs, and right wrist were broken. Henry had walked only a few feet from his own window, when he lost his footing.

The parents, Mr. and Mrs. Percy Henry, of Louisville, Ky., were notified, and are expected here today to take the body back home for burial. Coronor Nevitt was notified and gave a certificate of accidental death. The body is still at the hospital.

How sad. Only 17 years old and just arrived at Georgetown a few weeks prior. Tragic.

About Tom

Tom founded Ghosts of DC on January 4th, 2012 as a blog to uncover the lost and untold history of Washington, D.C. He has lived in the city for over a decade and loves exploring every corner of the District.

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