#ThrowbackThursday: Princeton’s Role in the Birth of Thanksgiving Football

Princeton and Yale played their first Thanksgiving Day game in 1876. (Athletics at Princeton — A History)

Princeton and Yale played their first Thanksgiving Day game in 1876. (Athletics at Princeton — A History)

Detroit and Dallas may have cornered the market for pro football’s Thanksgiving Day games, but the holiday’s gridiron tradition began well before the creation of the NFL.

On Nov. 30, 1876, Princeton and Yale faced off in Hoboken, N.J., playing what would best be described as an 11-on-11 form of rugby. Princeton entered the game with a 3-0 record and a fresh set of uniforms — black tights and jerseys with an orange P on the chest — but the Elis prevailed, two goals to none. The Princetonian, then in its first year of publication, questioned a few key calls by the referee, noting that he was “a Yale man.”

The Princeton-Yale game would eventually move to New York’s Manhattan Field, where it briefly became a Thanksgiving phenomenon. In 1893, some 40,000 spectators turned out to see the Tigers win a showdown of two unbeaten teams, 6-0. Richard Harding Davis of Harper’s Weekly described the stream of fans heading north before the game: Continue reading

Football Falls to Dartmouth in Class of 2015’s Final Game

After slipping out of contention for a second consecutive Ivy League title, Princeton football will have plenty of work ahead to prove that the end of the 2014 season was not the end of an era.

Two bonfires, an Ivy League championship, two Ivy League Player of the Year awards, two NFL draft picks, and an 18-12 combined record is an impressive run for three seasons. But with the Tigers’ top two starting quarterbacks graduating in the spring, the program will be tested as it searches for players to follow in the footsteps of the senior class, which played its final game in Saturday’s 41-10 loss to Dartmouth.

“All the work that it takes to put in to be great — it starts tomorrow,” sophomore defensive lineman Ty Desire said. “We have to realize we’re not the team we were last year up front, and we can’t ride anyone’s coattails.” Continue reading

Brooke Shields ’87 Recalls Princeton Days in New Memoir

Brooke Shields ’87

Brooke Shields ’87

In her new memoir, There Was a Little Girl: The Real Story of My Mother and Me, Brooke Shields ’87 details her early career as a famous child actress, her years at Princeton, and the effects of her mother’s decades-long battle with alcoholism.

First put in the spotlight at the age of 11 months in an ad for Ivory soap, Shields describes life on the movie sets of Pretty Baby, The Blue Lagoon, and Endless Love; her marriage to tennis star Andre Agassi; and her decision, as an adult, to remove her mother, Teri, from her longtime role managing her career.

At Princeton, Shields initially was so homesick that she told her mother she had decided to drop out (her mother persuaded her to stay). She also details how photographers pursued her:

The paparazzi tried to sneak onto campus, dressed like what they thought college students looked like, and follow me around. The students were great and they alerted the school and me if anyone saw anybody suspicious. One photographer hid in a vent to photograph me walk to a class; another attempted to bribe a Mathey College freshman to take a camera into the showers and snap me in the nude. They would have been in for a surprise if they tried, because I had taken to showering in a one-piece bathing suit!

Continue reading

PAW Goes to the Movies: Interstellar, with Professor David Spergel ’82

Professor David Spergel ’82, right, and PAW senior writer Mark F. Bernstein ’83 discussed the science behind the new film Interstellar. (Beverly Schaefer)

Professor David Spergel ’82, right, and PAW senior writer Mark F. Bernstein ’83 discussed the science behind the new film Interstellar. (Beverly Schaefer)

David Spergel ’82, the Charles A. Young Professor of Astronomy on the Class of 1897 Foundation, is an astrophysicist, author, and MacArthur Fellow, but PAW asked him to put on a new hat: film critic.

In the first in an occasional feature called “PAW Goes to the Movies,” we invite a faculty member to see a current movie of particular relevance to his or her field of expertise and then play Roger Ebert for us. In this case, we chose Interstellar, the new film about space travel starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway. (The film was inspired by Kip Thorne *65, an astrophysicist at the California Institute of Technology.)

Spoilers follow, so read with caution if you haven’t seen the movie. Continue reading

#ThrowbackThursday: The New Wawa, 1974

Princeton's Wawa in 1974. (PAW Archives)

Princeton’s Wawa in 1974. (PAW Archives)

In September 1974, PAW reported on a few summer changes around the campus — renovations at Frick Laboratory, an expansion of the Third World Center, a reorganization of Witherspoon Hall, and the opening of a new Wawa Food Store in a former warehouse on University Place. The Wawa’s home was described in the story as “dilapidated” (before the new tenant’s arrival) and “Alamoesque” (after). Operating until midnight seven days a week, the store was an immediate hit among residents of Spelman and Princeton Inn College (later Forbes).

In the years to come, it would pick up a nickname, “The Wa,” and a broad group of fans, including future TV star Ellie Kemper ’02, who penned an “Ode to Wawa” for PAW’s Humor Issue in January 2011. Continue reading

Hundreds of Bostonians Welcome Eisgruber ’83 at Town-Hall Meeting

By Kathryn Beaumont ’96

More than 700 people braved driving wind and rain Nov. 17 and packed into the ballroom at the historic Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston to welcome President Eisgruber ’83 on the 16th stop of his “welcome tour” since becoming Princeton’s 20th president in 2013.

Following a lively cocktail hour, alums settled in for a discussion moderated by Princeton trustee Brent Henry ’69. After getting Eisgruber to admit that students have been known to chant, “Ice Ice, Gruber!” in his presence, Henry’s questions touched upon Eisgruber’s arrival on the faculty at Princeton, his decision to accept the Princeton presidency after turning down several other such offers, his plans for the future, and the state of Princeton admissions.

Eisgruber, who was a clerk for Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, said his own passion for constitutional law was ignited at Princeton in Professor Walter Murphy’s constitutional-law class. After teaching at NYU for more than a decade, Eisgruber jumped at the chance to teach law and public affairs on the undergraduate level. After all, because Princeton had no law school, “I thought I had insulated my career from academic administration,” he laughed. Eisgruber said he could not imagine becoming a university president except at a place where you “can feel the music of the place and sing the songs of the place.” Continue reading