This Week in Princeton History for May 22-28

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, protesters are arrested at Nassau Hall, a professor urges Princetonians to buy Liberty Loan bonds, and more.

May 22, 1949—Nassau Hall’s flag flies at half mast as a tribute to James V. Forrestal, a member of the Class of 1915 and the nation’s first Secretary of Defense, who died after jumping out a window on the sixteenth floor of Bethesda Naval Hospital on this date.

James Forrestal, ca. 1940s. Official U.S. Navy Photo. James V. Forrestal Papers (MC051), Box 188.

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This Week in Princeton History for May 15-21

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a former president dies in a car accident, graduates can look one another up online, and more.

May 15, 1963—Princeton mails preliminary acceptance letters to 17 students from eight different colleges for the new Critical Languages Program, which will bring female undergraduates to campus for intensive language study. The program still awaits official approval from the Board of Trustees. The Daily Princetonian will report that one of the “major problems” not yet resolved is where women might live and eat among the all-male undergraduate student body.

May 17, 1933—John Grier Hibben of the Class of 1882, who served as president of Princeton University 1912-1932, dies in a car accident when the Packard sedan given to him as a retirement present collides with a truck on Route 25 near Rahway, New Jersey.

John Grier Hibben’s Packard sedan following the May 17, 1933 crash. Elliot Service photo, Office of the President Records (AC117), Box 66, Folder 6.

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This Week in Princeton History for May 8-14

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) delights the campus with a surprise appearance, protests greet a segregationist governor’s visit, and more.

May 8, 1989—A freshman diagnosed with the measles is admitted to the McCosh Health Center, prompting approximately 500 students to get a booster vaccine to prevent an outbreak on campus.

May 9, 1901—Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) surprises students with an unadvertised appearance in Alexander Hall, where he gives a reading of his work and entertains the crowd with stories about his adventures in Nevada and his attempts to learn German.

This letter from Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), most likely to Stephen Van Rennseler Throwbridge, Class of 1902, dates from ca. 1901 and seems to accept an invitation to speak at Princeton “as long as one would only have to talk, & not have to talk long, nor make preparation.” Pyne-Henry Collection (AC125), Box 2, Folder 1.

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This Week in Princeton History for May 1-7

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a plot against campus squirrels is uncovered, food services workers strike, and more.

May 1, 1871—Vassar College professor of elocution Minnie C. Swayze gives a lecture entitled “Women’s Abilities” to Princeton students in Albert S. Cook’s Hall on Chambers Street. She argues that women are equal to men. Princeton’s College World reports: “Though not ultra, her position is firm in maintaining woman’s intellectual equality with men, and in demanding for her sex equal, social and political privileges. … We prophesy for her a brilliant career.”

May 4, 1957—A Daily Princetonian investigation reveals that the mysterious deaths of dozens of campus squirrels can be traced to a group of students who have been killing them to stuff and sell to other students at women’s colleges.

May 5, 2001—Shirley Tilghman is named the 19th president of Princeton University. She is the first woman to fill this role.

Shirley Tilghman at her installation as president of Princeton University, 2001. Office of Communications Records (AC168), Box 197.

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This Week in Princeton History for April 24-30

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a senior signs an NFL contract, Daylight Saving Time causes confusion, and more.

April 26, 1771—The New Jersey General Assembly passes “An Act to erect the District of Prince-Town into a Town by the name of Princeton.” The College of New Jersey, already referred to as “Prince-Town College” as early as its move to the area in 1756, will become well established colloquially as Princeton College until it officially changes its own name in 1896.

April 27, 1994—Keith Elias ’94 signs on to play professional football with the New York Giants.

Keith Elias ’94, ca. 1993. Undergraduate Alumni Records (AC199).

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This Week in Princeton History for April 17-23

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, protesters demand changes to the curriculum, a Dean’s List is instituted, and more.

April 18, 1878—The Princetonian urges the College to allow the Librarian to install gas lights in the library so that it may be kept open after dark.

Chancellor Green Library, 1873. Historical Photograph Collection, Grounds and Buildings Series (AC111), Box MP26, Image No. 609.

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This Week in Princeton History for April 10-16

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, Chaim Potok kicks off Jewish Heritage Week, a sit in ends, and more.

April 10, 1994—McCosh 50 and two overflow auditoriums fill to hear Chaim Potok’s address to kick off Princeton’s celebration of Jewish Heritage Week.

Chaim Potok, ca. 1994. Office of Communications Records (AC168), Box 225.

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This Week in Princeton History for April 3-9

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a trespasser is found cooking eggs, the campus mourns Martin Luther King, Jr., and more.

April 3, 1958—While out of town on a trip with the team, Princeton University baseball trainer Fred “Bobo” Holmes saves a woman from bleeding to death after a stabbing in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

April 5, 1985—A man found cooking eggs in the Graduate Annex is arrested for trespassing. He is said to be a “habitual offender.”

April 6, 1931—During a debate broadcast over the radio, J. R. Mitchell ’32 argues “That the emergence of women from the home is a deplorable feature of modern life.”

April 9, 1968—Due to activism on the part of the Association for Black Collegians, Princeton University suspends normal operations to memorialize assassinated civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. While classes are not held, the U-Store is closed, and libraries delay opening until 3:00PM, small group interracial dialogue seminars follow a meeting with an overflow audience in Alexander Hall. An impassioned plea from Alfred D. Price ’69 receives a standing ovation from the more than 1,200 attendees: “White America does not realize what the black community feels they have at stake. … we don’t have any answers. Neither do you. We’ve got to find answers together.”

Marion Sleet ’69 at a vigil for Martin Luther King, Jr. in Princeton, 1968. Alfred D. Price ’69 says this may have been on the same day as the interracial dialogue seminars: “At the end of the day all of us who had been discussion leaders met up on the front steps of Nassau Hall and I remember Doc Fields having us form a circle and joining hands with our hands crossed in front of us and then clasping the hand of each guy next to us. And there were, I don’t know, 40 or so of us present. And I remember Doc [Carl A.] Fields leading a kind of prayer … And so there we were, all of us standing on the front stoop of Nassau Hall with our hands joined and Fields using that as a teaching moment for us. Why didn’t we join hands sooner? I think that was that day and that’s how that day concluded, but I will never forget the experience. Powerful.” Princeton Alumni Weekly Photograph Collection (AC126), Box 38.

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This Week in Princeton History for March 27-April 2

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, eastern colleges convene to discuss the future of African Americans, a new invention draws interest, and more.

March 27, 1972—A petition to end coeducation is circulating among undergraduates, the Daily Princetonian reports, quoting one student: “I think college should be an ivory tower, and adding girls isn’t necessary.”

March 28, 1871—After one student is diagnosed with smallpox, panic on campus and among parents of current students prompts College of New Jersey (Princeton) president James McCosh to end the term two weeks early. He sends the students home.

March 30, 1967—150 delegates representing 65 Eastern colleges convene at Princeton University for the first conference of its kind to discuss “The Future of the Negro Undergraduate.”

Robert F. Goheen (center) with student attendees of “The Future of the Negro Undergraduate” conference, March 30, 1967. Office of the President Records (AC193), Box 456, Folder 7.

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This Week in Princeton History for March 20-26

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a junior wins a game show, a graduate makes history at MoMA, and more.

March 20, 2003—Three students are arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and obstructing a highway when they sit in the middle of Nassau Street bound to each other with piping to protest the Iraq War. One explains their choice to break the law: “We’ve exhausted all the other means of protest. … Any other tactic seemed inadequate in the light of the horror inherent in the attacks on the Iraqi people.”

March 22, 1951—Richard W. Kazmaier, Jr. ’52 defeats opponents on the television show Blind Date and goes out on the town with Pat Dowd of Brooklyn.

Richard Kazmaier ’52. Photo from 1952 Nassau Herald.

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