(John H.W. Simpson ’66/PAW Archives, January 12, 1983)
“Princeton’s young singers and musicians did very well.” So declared a New York Times reviewer in a December 1982 recap of the Princeton University Opera Theater’s sold-out performance of Beethoven’s Fidelio at Lincoln Center.
Fidelio had started out as a campus production the previous spring. The performance so impressed the Beethoven Society that it sponsored the Princeton University Opera Theater performance at Lincoln Center. Michael Pratt, who conducted the opera — and who still conducts the University Orchestra and directs the program in musical performance — was hailed by the Times as a “real hero,” displaying a “sense of just the right tempo … careful phrasing and well-planned dynamics.”
More than 30 years later, the Princeton University Opera Theater is still singing strong. In January 2014, it staged a performance of Monteverdi’s The Coronation of Poppea in Richardson Auditorium, and next January, it is slated to perform Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and Jonathan Dove’s Tobias and the Angel.
Saturday marks the final opening day of Princeton’s fall sports season as the Tiger football team kicks off its 2014 schedule at San Diego. On campus, a pair of varsity teams will be competing (men’s tennis, field hockey), along with club sports, including men’s and women’s rugby.
Rugby is among the University’s longest-running club teams, with more than 80 consecutive years of competition on the men’s side. PAW’s May 19, 1964, cover featured this action shot of the Princeton ruggers, left, in action against the New York Rugby Club, which won the match, 8-6. Later that year, a Daily Princetonian article described the ethos of the Tiger team:
“Rugby at Princeton is a sport for gentlemen,” wrote Chris Jones ’67. “It has to be. If it didn’t have a fairly high level of sportsmanship, nobody would be able to even crawl away from this bruising game. It is rather ungentlemanly cruelty to beat the brains out of a man you’re going to be drinking with in the beer party that the home team always gives for its opponents right after the game.”
Toshiko Takaezu in 1967, her first year at Princeton. (PAW Archives)
A simple, solemn bronze bell hangs from a wooden post at the entrance to Princeton’s Sept. 11 memorial garden outside Chancellor Green. Titled “Remembrance,” the bell was created by Toshiko Takaezu, a longtime faculty member in Princeton’s visual-arts program.
Takaezu, who died in 2011, first arrived on campus in 1967, two years before the beginning of coeducation. She was among a handful of artists who breathed new life into creative-arts instruction during an expansion led by then-President Robert Goheen ’40 *48. Takaezu also earned acclaim for her innovative work as a ceramicist, painter, and weaver.
In 1996, four years after retiring from teaching, Takaezu received an honorary doctor of fine arts degree at Princeton’s commencement. The citation credited her for encouraging “generations of Princeton students to use their creative powers to shape and center their lives.”
Upperclassmen move in to Witherspoon Hall in September 1948. (Alan W. Richards/PAW Archives)
Princeton upperclassmen arriving back on campus in September 1948 found a couple of significant changes: Firestone Library was nearly complete, while the books at the old Pyne Library had been pulled from their shelves; and the swimming team finally had a new home at Dillon, after being pool-less for four years due to a fire that destroyed the gymnasium.
The U-Store, in the midst of a reorganization, had found dusty boxes of silk top hats and canes — relics that, according to PAW columnist William T. Barry III ’50, “drew curious eyes and eager buyers.” But students had more than costumes and frivolity on their minds. At class registration in Dillon Gym, a sign directed them to visit the balcony and register for Selective Service. “These signs reminded all the non-veterans that their college careers are liable to be interrupted by the draft before graduation,” Barry wrote.
Flying ace Elliott Springs, Class of 1917, with his wife, Frances. (PAW Archives)
Nearly a decade after earning fame as a World War I flying ace, Elliott Springs, Class of 1917, had transitioned to a new career as an author, editing the best-seller War Birds and writing a pair of other popular books. But, as Springs wrote in PAW, flying remained an integral part of his life. And even though he’d endured enemy gunfire, stalled engines, a leak that squirted hot oil into his face for hours, and a motor that vibrated so badly that it shook a filling from his tooth, he claimed to have “never made a flight that I did not enjoy.”
Springs, pictured above with his wife, Frances, headlined the Feb. 24, 1928, issue of PAW, which was devoted entirely to aviation — a hot topic in the winter following Charles Lindbergh’s historic trans-Atlantic flight. Other authors in the magazine included F.B. Rentschler 1909, the president of Pratt and Whitney Aircraft Co.; James L. Breese 1909, part of the U.S. Navy crew that made a trans-Atlantic flight (with stops) in 1919; and James S. McDonnell ’21, a young airplane designer who would go on to create McDonnell Aircraft.
The issue also featured an article called “A Vacation on Wings,” about summer training in the Naval Reserve’s air unit, written by Harvey Williamson ’27. Sadly, Williamson died six months later in a plane crash near his home in Duluth, Minn. The airfield there was re-named in his honor.
(J. Todd Faulkner ’70/PAW Archives)
Summers on campus are filled with the sounds of construction and renovation. This year’s projects include the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, the Arts and Transit Neighborhood, a major refurbishment at 20 Washington Road (the former Frick chemistry lab), and numerous other improvements around campus.
In 1970, Witherspoon Hall was on the list of buildings in need of work. But PAW noted that the 93-year-old dorm might be on track for demolition: “State fire laws have forced the closing of the top three floors, and the [University] trustees have concluded that the cost of renovation ($2 million) just isn’t worth it.”
Fortunately, the report of Witherspoon’s demise was premature. Residents and alumni started a “Save ’Spoon” campaign in 1970, and in 1975, a series of renovations reconfigured the interior and added new stairwells to bring all floors up to code.
For the record
As Emily Trost ’13 notes, the photo identified as Witherspoon in the PAW Archives appears to show Dod Hall, another 19th-century addition to the Princeton campus, completed in 1890.