This Week in Princeton History for May 18-24

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, women’s lacrosse wins it all, a popular professor packs Alexander Hall, and more.

May 20, 1963—The Woodrow Wilson School building, renamed Corwin Hall, is moved 100 yards to make way for the new home of the Woodrow Wilson School, Robertson Hall, named in honor of donors Charles Robertson ’26 and his wife, Marie Robertson. A neighbor sells viewing space to benefit charity. Video may be viewed here.

May 22, 1994—The women’s lacrosse team wins the first-ever women’s varsity NCAA national championship in any sport for Princeton.

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Princeton’s women’s lacrosse team members celebrate. Historical Photograph Collection, Campus Life Series (AC112), Box AD36, Folder 2.

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This Week in Princeton History for May 11-17

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, Charles Lindbergh sneaks through campus, baseball makes its television debut, and more.

May 12, 1999—The Association of Chinese Students and Scholars at Princeton University hold a memorial service in Firestone Plaza for three Chinese journalists killed in a NATO bombing on the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, Yugoslavia.

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Photo from the Daily Princetonian.

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This Week in Princeton History for May 4-10

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a graduate pioneers new territory in aviation, a sitting American president visits the campus, and more.

May 4, 1970—On the same day as the Ohio National Guard shoots and kills four students at Kent State University during an anti-war protest, over 4,000 Princeton students, faculty, and administrators gather at Jadwin Gym and discuss how they will register their disapproval of the Nixon administration’s invasion of Cambodia. They vote to suspend final exams (audio and photos available here). In the aftermath of the “Princeton Strike,” the academic calendar will be revised to allow for a two-week break from classes in November to allow students to campaign during election years. This will later live on at 21st-century Princeton as a week-long fall break.

May 6, 1963—More than 1,500 undergraduates riot in Princeton for no apparent reason, causing extensive damage to the town and campus. Twelve students are arrested in connection with crimes committed during the riot, and a fine will be imposed on the student body at large to pay for repairs. More than 40 years later, Princeton President Robert Goheen will recall the riot disdainfully.

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The driver of this Volkswagen Beetle honked at rioters, who responded by surrounding the car, lifting it up, and placing it on a nearby sidewalk. Photo from the Daily Princetonian.

May 8, 1919—Jim Breese, Princeton University Class of 1909, begins the world’s first transatlantic flight as the Reserve Pilot Engineer aboard the seaplane NC-4. The trip will take 23 days, during which Breese will earn the distinction of being the first person ever to shave on a plane. The Autostrop Company, manufacturer of his razor, will later buy it back from him for a reported $500 (about $12,000 in today’s currency).

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NC-4 preparing for transatlantic crossing, May 8, 1919. Photo from Princeton Alumni Weekly.

May 10, 1991—Sitting United States President George H. W. Bush is on campus to dedicate the University’s Social Science Complex and receive an honorary Doctor of Laws. While accepting the degree (video here), Bush, a 1948 Yale graduate, talks about his first visit to Princeton during his senior year. “I was not treated quite so hospitably. It was out at the baseball diamond … Crowded along the first base line—it was very hostile, the way things were in Princeton—were a bunch of hyperventilating, celebrating alumni. And I remember standing there at first base and a gigantic tiger—I think his name was Neil Zundel—came to the plate. He lofted an easy fly toward Yale’s first baseman (me) and as I reached for the ball, the guy just sheer bowled me over to the cheers of the Princeton alumni. I was hurt. My pride was hurt. But P.S.: Yale won the ball game.”

For last week’s installment in this series, click here.

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This Week in Princeton History for April 27-May 3

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a dorm pioneers indoor plumbing, students look for ways to protest peacefully, and more.

April 27, 1877—Witherspoon Hall is completed. It is the first dormitory in the country with indoor plumbing.

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5 West Middle, Witherspoon Hall, 1890-1891. This room was the residence of Edgar Allen Poe and Augustus Stevens Lewis, both of the Class of 1891. (Poe was the nephew of the author of the same name.) Historical Photograph Collection, Campus Life Series (AC112), Box LP84, Item No. 4069.

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This Week in Princeton History for April 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 member of the original House of Nassau visits campus, emails about Hillary Clinton clog inboxes, and more.

April 21, 1920—The Daily Princetonian reports on a new fashion trend: “Blue denim has at last made its appearance on the campus” thanks to “a courageous band of undergraduates.” Despite this, jeans will not be considered generally acceptable student attire for decades.

April 22, 1982—Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, a member of the House of Nassau for which Nassau Hall is named, speaks in McCosh Courtyard as part of a celebration of the 200th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Holland and the United States.

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Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands laughs with Princeton University President William G. Bowen, April 22, 1982. Photo from the Daily Princetonian.

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This Week in Princeton History for April 13-19

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, Princetonians win the equivalent of six medals at the first modern Olympic Games, Albert Einstein dies, and more.

April 13, 1994—David Remnick ’81 wins the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction for his book, Lenin’s Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire.

April 14, 1978—Students begin a 27-hour occupation of Nassau Hall to protest Princeton University’s economic ties to apartheid-era South Africa.

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Nassau Hall protest, April 1978, Princeton Alumni Weekly Photograph Collection, AC126, Box 33.

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This Week in Princeton History for April 6-12

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, Prohibition ends, the Board of Trustees urges parents not to send students money, and more.

April 6, 1771—The Rittenhouse Orrery, the most noted scientific instrument of its time, arrives in Nassau Hall, where it will prove to be a tourist attraction for travelers from across the world.

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Gillett G. Griffin, pen and ink drawing of the Rittenhouse Orrery arriving at Nassau Hall, University Library Records (AC123), Box 302.

April 9, 1802—United States President Thomas Jefferson donates one hundred dollars toward the rebuilding of Nassau Hall after a devastating fire.
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This Week in Princeton History for March 30-April 5

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the campus tries to help mitigate the AIDS crisis, locals descend upon Nassau Hall in spontaneous celebration of a Civil War victory for the Union, and more.

March 30, 1933—The owner of Students Hand Laundry is arrested following his disappearance two weeks before, having been paid $20 each by approximately 600 Princeton students for the term’s laundry service. Campus police find 250 bags of students’ dirty laundry in his abandoned shop.

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Ad from the Daily Princetonian.

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This Week in Princeton History for March 23-29

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the Blair Tower clock gets a sophomore makeover, students give Grover Cleveland a birthday present, and more.

March 23, 1899—Poet John Whitcomb Riley, whose best known work, “Little Orphant [sic] Annie,” has continued to inspire numerous other artists, gives a poetry reading in Alexander Hall.

March 24, 1985—A group of sophomores decorate the Blair Tower clock’s face with Mickey Mouse.

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Photo from Daily Princetonian.

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This Week in Princeton History for March 16-22

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the women’s swimming team sets three national records, Jimmy Carter surprises students with an early morning walk on campus, and more.

March 16, 1967—David Ben Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel, speaks informally with students and invited guests at the Woodrow Wilson School.

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Historical Subject Files Collection (AC109), Box 309, Folder 16.

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