This Week in Princeton History for December 8-14

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the Triangle Show appears on national television, the Board of Trustees votes to establish the Graduate School, and more.

December 8, 1988—The Student Friends of the Art Museum get the first look at the renovated museum’s new wing.

Art_Museum_Construction_ca._1980s_AC111_BoxAD1_Folder_7

Renovations of the Princeton University Art Museum underway, 1985, Historical Photograph Collection (AC111), Grounds and Buildings Series, Box AD1, Folder 7.

December 9, 1947—Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, president of the World Jewish Congress and co-founder of the NAACP, speaks in McCosh 50 during Hanukkah, with celebratory words about the founding of the modern state of Israel.

December 10, 1950—After suspension and flagging interest in the 1940s due to World War II, Princeton’s Triangle Show revives itself with the first of what will be many annual appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show.

Mark_Lawrence_'42_C._Robert_Jennings_Ed_Sullivan_&_Fred_Kelly_AC122_Box_74

Mark Lawrence ’42, Robert Jennings, Ed Sullivan, and Fred Kelley, 1950, Triangle Club Records, AC122, Box 74.

December 13, 1900—The Board of Trustees votes to establish a Graduate School, and appoints Andrew Fleming West, Class of 1874, its first dean.

Andrew_F_West_1889_AC059_Box_FAC103

Andrew Fleming West, 1889, Historical Photograph Collection, Faculty Photographs Series, Box FAC103.

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

Fact check: We always strive for accuracy, but if you believe you see an error, please contact us.

 

Alan Turing’s Princeton University File Available Online

With the American premiere of The Imitation Game this Friday, many will be interested in its subject, Alan Mathison Turing, who received his Ph.D. in mathematics from Princeton University in 1938. With the “Turing Machine,” he laid the theoretical foundations that make it possible for the device you are using to read this blog post to exist.

Turing_Card_1 Turing_Card_2

Turing’s Graduate School file is now available online, and mostly contains correspondence and paperwork related to his admission to and progress through Princeton’s Ph.D. program in mathematics in the 1930s. Turing studied under Alonzo Church, who made Princeton a leading center for research in mathematical logic, and developed “Church’s Theorem.” For those interested in Church and the history of the mathematics department in the 1930s, there is this oral history collection, which features online transcripts. Researchers interested in Turing may also want to view Church’s correspondence with him, available in the Rare Books and Special Collections Reading Room in Firestone Library.

N.B. Access to alumni records is governed by this policy.

December 5, 2014 update: We have received questions regarding the death date listed on the file. Although archival records may sometimes contain errors, we do not make changes to the original documents. However, we note that Turing’s actual date of death was June 7, 1954, not June 8, 1954 as listed in Turing’s Graduate School file.

This Week in Princeton History for October 20-26

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the first charter is issued for the College of New Jersey, the first mid-semester fall break occurs, and more.

For the week of October 20-26:

October 20, 2000—A ribbon-cutting ceremony marks the official dedication of Frist Campus Center.

Frist_Center_Dedication_2000_AC168_Box_197

Frist Center Dedication, October 20, 2000, Office of Communications Records (AC168), Box 197.

October 21, 1970—For the first time, Princeton takes a mid-semester break from classes during the fall. This two-week “Election Break” is meant to allow students more time to engage in activism in the weeks leading up to national elections.

October 22, 1913—Ceremonies mark the formal dedication of the brand new Graduate College (now Old Graduate College).

Grad_Coll._Historical_Postcards_AC045_Box_1

Graduate College, Historical Postcards Collection (AC045), Box 1. This collection has been digitized and is viewable here.

October 23, 1746—The first charter of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) is issued. Its guarantee of equal access to any person regardless of religion distinguishes it from its peer institutions. Although the original charter has been lost long ago, Princeton does retain the second charter, issued in 1748. It is rarely removed from our vaults, but you may view video of University Archivist Dan Linke showing it to Mudd Library visitors here.

First Charter in Board of Trustees Minutes

Charter of the College of New Jersey, in Board of Trustees Minutes, Vol. 1. (Board of Trustees Records (AC120)). The first 8 volumes of the Board of Trustees Minutes have been digitized and are viewable here.

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

Fact Check: We always strive for accuracy, but if you believe you see an error, please contact us.

This Week in Princeton History for September 8-14

For last week’s installment in our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its students and alumni, click here.

For the week of September 8-14:

The College goes coed, a NASCAR champion talks with engineering students, the first African American joins the faculty, and more.

September 8, 1969—The College goes coed, as 171 women join the undergraduate classes of ’70, ’71, ’72, and ’73. (The Graduate School had begun admitting women in 1961.)

Female_Student_1970_Bric

Photo of female student from 1970 Bric-a-Brac.

September 10, 1981—An ongoing rash of Oriental rug thefts on campus baffles proctors and local police.

September 12, 1996—NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon is the first racecar driver to speak at Princeton University, giving a talk on “the human side of engineering” in the parking lot between the Engineering Quad and Bowen Hall.

Jeff Gordon speaks at E-Quad 1996

Photo from The Daily Princetonian.

September 14, 1955—When classes begin on this date, Princeton’s newly appointed first African American professor, Dr. Charles T. Davis, is among the faculty teaching them.

English_Dept._1956_Bric

Faculty of the Department of English from 1956 Bric-a-Brac. Charles T. Davis is pictured on the second row, third from left.

Fact check: We always strive for accuracy, but if you believe you see an error, please contact us.

“Building the House of Knowledge:” The Graduate College Centennial

A new exhibition that opens at the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library on Sept. 16, 2013, chronicles the events and decisions framing the development of America’s first graduate residential college.

Procter Hall view: The centerpiece of the Graduate College, Procter Hall and the beautiful stained glass Great West Window looking towards the Cleveland Memorial Tower, ca. 1913

Procter Hall view: The centerpiece of the Graduate College, Procter Hall and the beautiful stained glass Great West Window looking towards the Cleveland Memorial Tower, ca. 1913

Marking the 100th anniversary of the opening of Princeton’s Graduate College, “Building the House of Knowledge:” The Graduate College Centennial is filled with letters, documents and photographs from Princeton’s University Archives that reveal the story of how the concept of resident graduate education went from an inspired idea to a grand achievement, but not without significant controversy that brought nationwide attention to Princeton.

A view from behind the monumental statue of Andrew Fleming West, erected in the Graduate College quad in the 1920s, looking toward the Cleveland Memorial Tower. West was the first Dean of the Graduate School and driving force behind building the Graduate College.  Cleveland Tower was built as the national monument for President Grover Cleveland, who retired to Princeton after leaving the White House, and was a University trustee and supporter of graduate education.

A view from behind the monumental statue of Andrew Fleming West, erected in the Graduate College quad in the 1920s, looking toward the Cleveland Memorial Tower.

Beginning with the desire for a residential graduate program expressed at Princeton’s Sesquicentennial celebrations, the exhibition reveals the initial agreement of University President Woodrow Wilson and Dean of the Graduate School Andrew Fleming West on the plans for building the Graduate College. Early on, however, disagreements over the use of endowment funding and an appropriate location for the new Graduate College led to battle lines being drawn—with faculty and trustees viewed as being on either Dean West’s or President Wilson’s side. Reports and letters from West, Wilson, and eminent trustees such as Moses Taylor Pyne and former U.S. President Grover Cleveland reveal elements of the dissension developing at the administrative level. Letters from significant Graduate College benefactor and alumnus William C. Procter, Class of 1883 and of Procter and Gamble fame, show how directed endowment bequests played a role in the controversy. These letters and reports focus on how endowment funding and bequests and the choice of a site for the residential building contributed to the heated debate, and possibly influenced the resignation of President Wilson.

Photographs from the archives detail some of the architectural plans and ultimate construction of the Graduate College 17 years after the vision of resident graduate education was first presented. A final case shows photographs of later additions to the original Graduate College in the 1920s and 1960s as increased enrollment pressures necessitated adding rooms to the venerable structure originally built in 1913.

“Building the House of Knowledge:” The Graduate College Centennial is free and open to the public in the Wiess Lounge at the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, 65 Olden Street, until June 6, 2014. The exhibition is open from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., Monday through Friday.

by: Sara Griffiths