Author Archives: Allison Weiss

A century after their debut, beer jackets are still in style

An array of post-World War II beer jackets, circa 1950. (Princeton University Archives)
The following is an excerpt from the 2012 PAW Reunions Guide. To download a PDF of the full guide, click here.
One spring day, a group of seniors from the Class of 1912 were drinking beers around a table at the old Nassau Inn. The more they drank, the more foam spilled out of the sides of their mugs — and the more stains they got on their clothes. One member of the tipsy crew had a novel idea: What if they could design something to wear that was expressly for drinking beer? And with this idea, the beer jacket was born.
The beer jacket celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, though in fact it didn’t start out as just a jacket. The 1912 crew decided to don full suits — denim overalls with a workman’s jacket — when it came time to guzzle their favorite brews. Denim was phased out in 1914 when members of the senior class decided to make their suits in white canvas instead, which would remain the fabric of choice until recent years. After World War II, the beer suit was downsized to just a jacket, without overalls, to accommodate the seniors who still were wearing military attire.
When the Class of 2012 debuts its jackets at the P-rade this year, it will join 100 years of Princeton alumni who have worn their jackets not only as a way to protect their clothes from spills, but as a means of identifying and uniting the senior class. As Michael Jimenez ’12, the designer of this year’s jacket, puts it: “The jackets add a resounding sense of camaraderie.”
The jacket of each class carries a distinctive logo, which comes to serve as the unofficial emblem of the class. The designs, which originally were stenciled on the back shoulder of the jacket, often reference events from campus or national news that affects the graduating class. The black armbands on the Class of 1920 jacket, for instance, mourned the disappearance of beer drinking due to Prohibition, while the ’26 jacket celebrated the class’s narrow escape from the University ban of automobiles on campus.

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Remembering Agnes Pearson, a ‘rare treasure’ at the Wilson School

One of the Woodrow Wilson School’s most beloved community members, former facilities and services director Agnes Pearson, died Nov. 26 at her home in Levittown, Pa. Pearson had retired in 1997 after working for more than 20 years at the school.
i-16f0b5286c4f9bdb8bbd95c5fa4aedd4-wb_campus.jpgPearson was known for making sure everything ran smoothly in the school, whether that meant carefully planning a foreign ambassador’s visit or making sure the school’s lounge was stocked with coffee — a feature not overlooked by busy students.
Over the course of her career at Princeton, Pearson developed a close relationship with Wilson School students, whom she came to address as “kiddos.” They would seek her out if they needed assistance with a task, big or small.
“The students will remember her with great fondness as someone who genuinely cared about them and was willing to help them in any way she could, whatever it took,” said Wardell Robinson-Moore, former assistant dean of the Wilson School and the current executive director of Princeton-Blairstown Center.

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