Author Archives: Brett Tomlinson

#ThrowbackThursday: Bill Clarke and the Nassau Nine

(PAW Archives, June 11, 1937)

(PAW Archives, June 11, 1937)

As major league baseball completes its annual All-Star break, PAW takes a brief look at Princeton’s rich baseball history, which dates back to the team’s first game in 1860. The Nassau Nine traveled to Orange, N.J., to play the local baseball club, and the game ended in a tie — 42-42 — after darkness made it impossible to continue playing.

The photo above shows Bill Clarke, left, the longtime Tiger coach and namesake of Clarke Field, in 1937 with assistant coach Amos Eno ’32, center, and captain Dean Hill Jr. ’37. Clarke coached nearly 900 games at the University and won 564 of them — a record that still stands. He also sent 15 former players to the major leagues.

In June, two graduating Tigers were drafted by major-league teams — pitcher Michael Fagan ’14 and outfielder Alec Keller ’14 — and three alumni have played in the big leagues this season. Chris Young ’02 has been a valuable starting pitcher for the Seattle Mariners. Will Venable ’05 is an everyday outfielder for the San Diego Padres. David Hale ’11, who made his big-league debut last September, is vying to return to the Atlanta Braves’ starting rotation. (A fourth major-leaguer, Ross Ohlendorf ’05, suffered an injury in spring training and has been working to rejoin the Washington Nationals.)

In all, 26 Princetonians have played in the majors, but only one has appeared in the All-Star Game: Young, who pitched an inning in relief for the National League in 2007.

Tiger of the Week: Danielle Allen ’93, Up Close and Personal With the Declaration of Independence

Danielle Allen ’93 (Laura Rose)

Danielle Allen ’93 (Laura Rose)

Can a single period change the way we think about one of the United States’ founding documents? Danielle Allen ’93 thinks so. Allen, a professor and political theorist at the Institute for Advanced Study, notes in her new book, Our Declaration, that there is a discrepancy between the parchment version of the Declaration of Independence and the official transcript in the National Archives: In the latter, a period appears after the phrase “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” reshaping the meaning of a section that discusses both individual rights and the government’s role in protecting those rights.

“The logic of the sentence moves from the value of individual rights to the importance of government as a tool for protecting those rights,” Allen explained in The New York Times. “You lose that connection when the period gets added.”

The historical detail was big news on the eve of Independence Day, receiving coverage from the Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, PBS NewsHour, and dozens of other media outlets. But it was just one example extracted from a remarkably detailed examination of the Declaration of Independence. As Washington Post reviewer Thane Rosenbaum noted, relatively few Americans have read the full 1,337-word document or can recall much about the group of five men who drafted it — no, it was not Thomas Jefferson’s work alone. But Allen, applying a “geek’s gaze” and her experiences as a teacher and scholar, brings the full story to life, Rosenbaum wrote, with a book that is “not just an invaluable civics lesson but also a poignant personal memoir.”

Allen, a classics major at Princeton, completed Ph.D. studies in classics and government at Cambridge and Harvard, respectively, before joining the faculty at the University of Chicago. She joined the Institute for Advanced Study in 2007, and in a PAW feature published the following year, she talked about her book about the Declaration of Independence, then it its early stages: “People have a very clear narrative about liberty, and they’re very confused about equality. You need both to have a successful democracy. It seems to me it’s time to go to work on rebuilding our understanding of what the concept of equality means, why it’s important, and what it takes in order to secure its value through democratic politics.”

#ThrowbackThursday: A Lakeside Perch, 1961


PAW Archives, June 2, 1961. Click to enlarge.

The new Lakeside complex for Princeton graduate students will begin housing students sometime this fall, according to the July 9 issue of PAW. The units are on the site of the former Hibben and Magie apartments, from which Betty Menzies captured this PAW cover image, looking east toward the Washington Street bridge, in 1961.

Set in “a beautiful sylvan location,” PAW wrote, the buildings stood eight stories tall — the tallest buildings in Princeton at the time, with Fine Hall’s completion still nine years away. But to those looking south from the campus, the apartments on the shore of Lake Carnegie were invisible.

The new Lakeside buildings, which will include townhomes and apartments, stand two or three stories tall.

An update from reader Arlen Kassof Hastings ’80: Continue reading

Summer Strings: Physicists Debate Theories, Evidence at Annual Conference

By Mark Alpert ’82

Where do scientists go on their summer vacations? While many fled to the beach or some other getaway last month, several hundred physicists came to Princeton to discuss string theory, which is a topic you won’t find on most beach-reading lists. For the five days of Strings 2014, the latest in a series of annual conferences, the theorists eschewed sun and sand in favor of exploring the weightiest of questions: Can we construct a mathematical framework that explains the fundamental nature of the universe?

Participants at the Strings 2014 conference. (Amaris Hardy, Office of Communications)

Participants at the Strings 2014 conference. (Amaris Hardy, Office of Communications)

Princeton was the perfect venue for this year’s conference because so many string theorists work in the University’s physics department and at the Institute for Advanced Study. “No other institution is as closely associated with string theory,” said Nima Arkani-Hamed, a physicist at the Institute (and one of the stars of the recent documentary Particle Fever). “Princeton was the incubator for the field for many years.” Continue reading

Tiger of the Week: Art Historian Jonathan Brown *64

By David Marcus ’92

Jonathan Brown *64 (Courtesy of The Frick Collection, New York; photo: Michael Bodycomb)

Jonathan Brown *64 (Courtesy of The Frick Collection, New York; photo: Michael Bodycomb)

Jonathan Brown *64 is one of the most important art historians of the last 50 years. In books and exhibitions he has explored the work of Spanish Golden Age artists such as Velazquez, Ribera, and Zurburan in a rigorous yet approachable way and set it in a rich political and religious context. Brown offers a more personal view of his subject in his most recent book, In The Shadow of Velazquez, which is based on a series of lectures he delivered at the Prado Museum in Madrid in 2012.

Brown’s parents, Leonard and Jean, started buying art in the 1950s, when they acquired paintings by Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Willem De Kooning. As those men became art-world superstars with prices to match, the Browns moved on to collect documents and publications by the Surrealists and members of the Dada movement. After Leonard died, Jean focussed on the work of the Fluxus group and other “anti-artists” of the 1960s. She sold her collection to the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles in 1985.

Brown grew up surrounded by his parents’ growing collection, but his choice of career was determined by a year of study in Madrid while he was an undergraduate at Dartmouth. The city was only a generation removed from the civil war in which General Francisco Franco had seized power, and its university still showed the signs of the conflict, Brown remembers: “Buildings partially in ruins, bullet holes in the walls of structures that had remained standing, broken windows waiting to be replaced.” He was also struck by “the omnipresence of police officers; it was a vivid introduction to the machinery of a military dictatorship.” Continue reading

#ThrowbackThursday: Princeton’s Spirit of ’76

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

PAW’s 1976 Reunions issue, appropriately dated July 4, featured photos of a uniquely colorful P-rade that blended orange and black with red, white, and blue, in honor of the nation’s bicentennial year.

The Class of 1946 — Princeton’s bicentennial class — was particularly fond of the Spirit of ’76. The class was led by an Uncle Sam stilt-walker and a colonial-themed marching band. At least four different bands in the procession donned tri-cornered caps, along with a small contingent of “Yankee Doodle Dandy Tigers.” James M. Banner Jr., then a professor in Princeton’s history department, delivered a lecture about the American Revolution for alumni and their families in the faculty room at Nassau Hall, where British forces had taken refuge during the Battle of Princeton, 199 years earlier.