Life at 19 University Place, one of the University residences for married students, in 1946. (PAW Archives, Feb. 22, 1946)
Many Princeton students who served in World War II returned to the University not only as veterans, but also as husbands and fathers. The influx of married students in the postwar era put a big strain on campus housing.
“For better or for worse, all married couples have a roof over their heads,” PAW reported in February 1946. However, finding adequate accommodations for all 77 families was not an easy task. The University had to locate places in town for some of the married students and their families.
The living situation within these residences was by no means luxurious. There was a limited space for cooking, which required families to share kitchens, sometimes in shifts and sometimes in a free-for-all. The lack of space also afforded little privacy to the newlyweds, but they didn’t seem to mind. As one veteran reported, “Privacy is something this generation doesn’t know anything about.”
This campus climate stands as quite a contrast to the present. Because of the relatively small number of married couples and families at Princeton today, the modern-style Spelman Halls suffice in housing married couples on campus. And, of course, it’s not just the husbands who can be students anymore!
If you walk around the Princeton campus this Saturday, you likely will cross paths with the crowds of students and alumni flocking to Princeton Stadium for the Tigers’ home football finale against Yale.
Though Princeton fans have always been loud and proud, game day in 2015 looks a little bit different than it did 45 years ago. An October 1970 issue of PAW featured these photos of the Princeton cheerleaders — men and women, in the second year of coeducation — trying to rally the Palmer Stadium faithful.
The 1970 Tigers finished 5-4 overall, and running back Hank Bjorklund ’72 became the first Princeton player to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season. Bjorklund would later play for the New York Jets.
The 2015 Tigers are 5-3 heading into the Yale game and have been led by junior quarterback Chad Kanoff (1,731 passing yards, five touchdowns, and four interceptions) and junior running back Joe Rhattigan (524 rushing yards, seven touchdowns).
(PAW Archives, Oct. 12, 1945)
The Oct. 12, 1945, cover of PAW featured this photo of Pfc. Norman D. Weir Jr. ’46 perusing his favorite alumni periodical at the U.S. Army base on Okinawa. “It isn’t a flattering picture,” Weir wrote, “but at least it’s accurate.”
The address department of alumni records had a monumental task during the war years but did its best to keep mailing “the Weekly” to its loyal readers. The magazine was not the only printed material from Princeton that found its way into the hands of students serving abroad. In 1943, President Harold Dodds *1914 shared presents from the University with each student in the service, as Gregg Lange ’70 explained in a 2006 PAW column:
Approaching Christmas of 1943, the country and Nassau’s sons faced the certainty of an impending year bloodier than any since the Civil War. In the teeth of this, rather than despair, Dodds chose to send Christmas gifts. Each of the 1,300 Princetonians in the service received three books of his own choosing, each with a personal bookplate, delivered wherever he might be. With apologies to Dickens, Dodds brought the Best Damn Place of All to the Worst Damn Place of All. Alumni of the 1930s and ’40s speak about the gesture to this day.
(PAW Archives, June 11, 1979)
Before the creation of the Lewis Center for the Arts — and before the groundbreaking for its future home, now under construction near McCarter Theatre — creativity took root at Princeton in a converted school building known simply as “185 Nassau.”
A 1979 PAW article detailed the remarkable accessibility of professional artists to Princeton undergraduate students in their visual-arts classes. Sean Scully, whose work is now part of permanent collections in the Guggenheim and Smithsonian, commuted from New York to Princeton a few days a week in 1979 to advise and instruct students in painting. Scully’s instruction went far beyond canvas and brush, however, as he pushed students to confront the theoretical issues that influenced their work.
Scully was one of many instructors hired on a part-time basis to allow them to continue as practicing artists with interests in contemporary art. Program director Jim Seawright told PAW he was interested in accumulating artists with diverse points of view who were more motivated “by the challenge of working with bright students and by the freedom to try innovative teaching techniques” than by advancing their academic careers. Continue reading
“Hitting the hay” had a less-than-restful connotation for this unnamed Princeton tackler, shown with assistant coach Keene Fitzpatrick during preseason football practice in 1928. The Tigers, under the direction of head coach Bill Roper, went 5-1-2 that fall, including a 12-2 victory over rival Yale and a 6-6 tie at Ohio State in Princeton’s first and only trip to the famed “Horseshoe.”
This year’s Tigers kick off practice today (on artificial turf, not grass and straw) and begin the season Sept. 19 at Lafayette. Princeton was picked to finish fourth in the Ivy League’s preseason media poll, behind Harvard, Dartmouth, and Yale.
PAW’s January 30, 2002, cover featured Laura Smith ’05 at the edge of the Sierra Nevada mountains, taking notes during a class trip for Jason Morgan *64’s “Active Geologic Processes,” one of 67 freshman seminars offered at Princeton that year. An accompanying feature story called the program “Princeton’s most successful curricular innovation in a generation, and the most popular.”
This year will be the 30th for freshman seminars, and the classes remain popular. There are 39 in the fall-semester catalog, including Joshua Katz’s “Wordplay: A Wry Plod from Babel to Scrabble,” and former University president Harold Shapiro *64’s “Science, Technology and Public Policy.”
(PAW, Sept. 21, 1965)
This summer — like most — is a busy season for construction and maintenance across campus, stretching from the Arts and Transit Project to the Lake Carnegie dam. Fifty years ago, one building’s demolition was the “principal event” of the summer, at least in PAW’s telling. Reunion Hall, a 95-year-old former dormitory used for administrative offices, was torn down. Alan Richards captured this cover image of the work in progress, including a “Funeral, No Parking” sign in the foreground.
Built in 1870 and named to commemorate the reunion of the Old and New Schools of the Presbyterian Church, the dormitory was situated between Nassau Hall and Alexander Hall. While one University official quipped that its passing “would not leave a wet eye in the house,” the building had one claim to fame: In the fall of 1935, it was home to freshman John Fitzgerald Kennedy during his lone semester at Princeton.
READ MORE: Demolishing Dorms: A Delicate Decision (Rally ’Round the Cannon archives)
Click to enlarge. (From the PAW Archives, Oct. 5, 1928)
From PAW’s Oct. 5, 1928, issue:
“An arresting view of the University campus, showing the handsome group of newer dormitories which have sprung up during the past decade at its southwest corner — Lockhart, 1905-Foulke, 1904-Henry, Laughlin, 1901, and Pyne Halls.”
Can any alumni spot their old rooms?
In 1950, station manager James Leslie ’52, pictured above, hosted an open house at the recently refurbished studios of WPRU, the student-run radio operation then in its 10th year. Broadcasting at 540 AM, the station adopted the slogan “the bottom of the dial for the tops in style.”
WPRU’s successor, WPRB, moved to the FM dial (103.3), but the student DJs still have the lofty aspirations of their predecessors. Later this year, the station will celebrate the 75 years on the air, and to mark the anniversary it has launched a new website, WPRBHistory.org, highlighting stories, recordings, and memorabilia from the past. The site includes an audio archive drawn from an eclectic mix of programming: an irreverent station ID from John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten), recorded in 1986; a 22-minute Q&A with composer Leonard Bernstein; and a pair of interviews with men’s basketball coach Pete Carril and senior star Bob Scrabis ’89 previewing the Tigers’ 1989 NCAA Tournament game against Georgetown.
Some of the most compelling content appears in a series of testimonials from station alumni such as Moe Rubenzahl ’74, who writes, “I told my parents I was majoring in engineering. Truth be told, I majored in Radio Station.”
The June 16, 1915, issue of PAW featured this photo of Saturday evening at Reunions — the first of its kind in the magazine. Then, as now, alumni were eager to come back to Old Nassau. William H. Vail 1865 walked a symbolic 50 miles from his home in Newark to celebrate his 50th reunion. (“His story is attested by numerous automobilists who offered him a lift at different points along the journey,” one reader wrote in a letter to the editor.)
In the P-rade, the younger classes wore creative costumes — the Class of 1912 in artists’ smocks and berets, the Class of 1910 in Greek garb — while the older classes donned blazers and straw boaters. And the seniors were on hand to witness it all. Dean Christian Gauss relayed the story of one graduate in an essay for PAW. “It makes me feel pretty blue to think that very soon this class, with which I have spent the best four years of my life, will break up and never meet again with all present,” the senior told Gauss. “It sort of breaks you up — you can’t help it. I hate to think of leaving them, but I am anxious to get started.”
(Cliff Moore/PAW Archives)
In the spring of 1975, Princeton women’s rowing finished strong, placing second in the varsity eight at Eastern Sprints and fifth at the National Women’s Rowing Championships, above, held on Lake Carnegie. PAW’s season wrap-up also noted that four Princeton women were competing for spots on the U.S. national team, in advance of the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, where women’s rowing would be part of the program for the first time. Carol Brown ’75 and coxswain Mimi Kellogg ’76 made the team for Montreal, and Brown won bronze in the women’s eight, becoming the first Princeton alumna to earn an Olympic medal. Continue reading
Forty-five years ago today, President Richard Nixon announced the U.S. invasion of Cambodia in a televised address. The speech set off a wave of protests at college campuses, including Princeton, where the response began one of the most tumultuous months in University history.
Hundreds of students handed in their draft cards at protest meetings in the University Chapel. Nearly 4,000 students, faculty, and staff attended a May 4 assembly at Jadwin Gym and voted to approve a strike against the war in Vietnam, postponing the remaining academic work in the spring semester. Students protested at the Institute for Defense Analyses on campus and firebombed the Army ROTC headquarters at the Armory.
The activism continued through Reunions and Commencement: Members of the Class of 1970 boycotted the alumni P-rade and wore “Together for Peace” armbands at graduation. (Priscilla Read ’70, one of the first eight women to earn a Princeton undergraduate degree, was pictured on PAW’s cover, right, wearing the armband.) Continue reading
(Elizabeth Menzies/PAW Archives)
For more than 100 years, the Mather Sundial — a replica of Charles Turnbull’s Pelican Sundial at Oxford’s Corpus Christi College — has been a recognizable campus landmark and gathering spot for students like the ones pictured above, between classes in 1950. At the time, only seniors were allowed to sit on the sundial’s steps. That tradition faded in the 1960s.
As PAW contributor W. Barksdale Maynard ’88 wrote in 2013, within a few years of its 1907 dedication, the sundial “quickly became a Princeton icon, much photographed and filmed, from a 1925 home movie showing students scurrying to class to a 1977 television commercial starring Joe DiMaggio.”
John Peale Bishop, Class of 1917, devoted his class poem to the spring, his favorite season on campus:
… Princeton is the place of places
Where first she lingers in her traces.
Flowers are many and grass is deep,
And all the ways are calm as sleep
And rich as a dream. There she stays
And half forgets to count her days.
The University owes much of its springtime appeal — what Bishop’s classmate F. Scott Fitzgerald called its “lazy beauty” — to famed landscape architect Beatrix Jones Farrand, whose work at Princeton began in 1912 and spanned more than three decades. The pink saucer magnolia featured on PAW’s June 11, 2008, cover was a Farrand favorite. A bench outside the University Chapel honors her contributions with a simple, grateful inscription: “Her love of beauty and order is everywhere visible in what she planted for our delight.” Continue reading
With the 2015 Princeton baseball team set to begin its Ivy League schedule this weekend, we turn back the clock to check out a pair of Tiger teams from the illustrious 150-year history of the “Nassau Nine.”
Above, the 1870 Tigers hold a special distinction as the first Princeton team to beat Yale. They topped the Elis in New Haven, 26-15, in a game that — despite the high score — lasted just over two hours, according to the official boxscore.
Seventy-one years later, the 1941 Tigers duplicated the 1870 poses in a photo for PAW. The ’41 squad also had Yale’s number, beating the rival Elis twice en route to Princeton’s first Eastern Intercollegiate Baseball League championship.
For Princeton seniors beginning the final sprint to their thesis deadlines, this desktop scene from 1940 may look somewhat familiar (with a different keyboard, of course, and some changes to the peripheral refuse).
As student columnist Jill Smolowe ’77 once wrote in PAW, the thesis “starts as a distant and incomprehensible word your freshman year, creeping up silently through the middle-class years, only to pounce with a fierce vengeance in the autumn of your senior year.” By the time the second semester arrives, it can seem all-consuming: “Your well-being and your thesis become synonymous.”
Of course, it’s not all work and no play — or at least it wasn’t for another student columnist, Richard Kluger ’56, who explained the secret to a strong senior year: “[G]ive the impression of feverish, utterly devoted academic activity probing into realms never before trammeled by white bucks while, at the same time, maintaining a well-rounded schedule for goodfellowship and gaiety.” Continue reading
(Robert Denby/PAW Archives)
In addition to being a perch for panoramic photographers and the home of Princeton’s carillon, Cleveland Tower at the Graduate College has been one of the University’s most recognizable landmarks for the last century. In this case, it provides a stately backdrop for this festive sledding photo by Robert Denby, featured on the Feb. 9, 1983, cover of PAW.
Princeton history columnist Gregg Lange ’70 once called Rob Smiley ’80’s May 4, 1981, cover image — pictured at right — “the most successful PAW cover of all time, and my favorite by far.”
The illustration shows a map of Princeton and beyond, executed by Smiley as an inspired parody of Saul Steinberg’s famous cover for The New Yorker, titled “View of the World from 9th Avenue.” Steinberg’s map ran in 1976; Smiley’s ran five years later (with the standard PAW banner; the New Yorker-style type was added for a poster version of the image).
“The loving touches — the WPRB radio tower on Holder Hall, the prominence of the Nassau Hall bell, PJ’s Pancake House, and even the New Yorker typeface replacing the PAW banner, were executed brilliantly by Smiley,” Lange wrote. “The resulting homage has been one of the few PAW covers to be reproduced for the public by popular demand, not to mention sold for real money.”
For more than a hundred years, Princeton Student Agencies have offered goods and services — some essential, some luxurious, others just plain wacky — to the Princeton community.
In 1946, an all-male group of juniors founded the Tiger Tot Tending Agency, offering babysitting services to faculty and town folks to widespread demand.
“The Tiger Tot Tenders got an unexpected bonus of being picked up by the national press and then we were off,” wrote Charles Biddle ’47, a PAW reader and one of the agency’s co-founders. Continue reading
The Washington Family, by Edward Savage, part of the Mellon Collection at the National Gallery of Art, shows the first president with wife Martha, her granddaughter Eleanor, and grandson George Washington Parke Custis, then 10 years old.
Princeton’s connections to U.S. presidents run deep. There are the obvious ones: James Madison 1771 and Woodrow Wilson 1879 were alumni of the University. A handful of others were awarded honorary degrees — including Abraham Lincoln (1864), William Howard Taft (1912), and Bill Clinton (1996). And of course, the White House’s current occupant, Barack Obama, is “s’85” (spouse, Class of 1985, in Class Notes-speak).
History buffs may know about future President George Washington’s role at the Battle of Princeton (described in detail in this excellent piece from MountVernon.org and depicted in the famous painting in Nassau Hall’s Faculty Room). PAW readers also may recall that Washington visited the College of New Jersey’s 1783 Commencement exercises.
But less prominent in the Washington mythology is his role as a Princeton parent (or step-grandparent, to be precise). In the following story from PAW’s archives, Virginia Kays Cressy recounts how George Washington Parke Custis 1799 gave his stepgrandfather fits during an abbreviated stay at Old Nassau. Continue reading
Last weekend, Princeton women’s basketball improved to 19-0 this season — an unprecedented start in the annals of Tiger hoops history.
Women’s swimming coach Susan Teeter in 2003. (Beverly Schaefer)
The University has seen its share of impressive winning streaks: Men’s basketball won 20 in a row during the 1997-98 season; football won 24 straight between 1949 and 1952; and men’s tennis won 43 consecutive matches in a six-year span that began in 1975. But the owners of Princeton’s longest winning streak resided in DeNunzio Pool. From 1998 to 2004, the women’s swimming and diving team won a mind-boggling 47 dual meets in a row, spanning seven seasons.
The streak ended with a loss to Pittsburgh in January 2004, and afterward, head coach Susan Teeter told PAW, “I truly believe, in my heart of hearts, that when they come back for their 50th reunions, this record will still be standing.”
Teeter also said her team was anxious to start winning again — the loss came just before Princeton’s January exam break. After finals, the Tigers won their four remaining meets and finished the season with a first-place finish in the Ivy League Championships.
James R. Wade ’59 led a winter ascent of Mount Princeton in 1964. (PAW Archives)
Over the years, many Princetonians have made the gallant trek up the 14,197-foot-high Mount Princeton in Colorado.
William Libbey 1877 (Library of Congress/Wikipedia)
The “intrepid” William Libbey, Jr. ’77 (1877, that is) made the first recorded ascent less than a month after graduating, PAW reported in 1997. Libbey apparently had no difficulty with the ascent until he came within 1,500 feet of the summit, “when his only way lay over a bed of débris . . .; the size of the boulders being such that nothing but the hardest sort of crawling would answer,” according to a report of the expedition.
In 1964, at the request of the Rocky Mountain Princeton Club, which was publicizing an upcoming conference, James R. Wade ’59 led a winter expedition that successfully conquered the summit. Wade is pictured above in the cover photo from PAW’s March 17, 1964, issue. Continue reading
Images from PAW’s 1978 story on theft at Princeton libraries, from left: A library guard served as “a reminder to be honest”; new security measures included electronic scanners; librarian Peter Cziffra showed tabs in the card catalog that indicated missing books.
On a winter Friday 33 years ago, local police found more than 2,000 stolen library books — including nearly 1,000 from Princeton University and the Princeton Theological Seminary — at the home of a former graduate student.
It wasn’t the first time the University had dealt with book theft. In January 1978, Firestone Library estimated that some 150,000 its volumes had disappeared, almost certainly as a result of theft. “One year we put the books out, the next year they’re gone,” Peter Cziffra, then the head of the Fine Hall math and physics library, told PAW. (The story’s headline: “Crime in the Stacks.”)
From the 1920s through the 1960s, Princeton’s no-car rule banned undergraduates from having a vehicle on campus. Some lucky souls, of course, managed to get around the restriction by parking in town. But no one sidestepped the rule so deftly and with such style as Eric Grinnell ’61 did as a 19-year-old sophomore in 1958: He brought a horse-drawn carriage onto campus.
“Old Elegance at Old Nassau,” read a Life magazine feature on Grinnell’s ingenious endeavor. The New York Times also picked up on the story, giving him front-page attention alongside articles on the Republicans’ campaign strategy and nuclear testing in the Soviet Union. Continue reading
(PAW Archives/Bruce Beckner ’71)
Elizabeth Emerson ’73 and Herman Reepmeyer ’72 posed for this Grant Wood-esque PAW cover photo in 1971. The story inside profiled “student artisans” — young men and women with hobbies fit for the frontier, including weaving, glassmaking, pottery, and woodcarving. Sociology major Michael Rodemeyer ’72 interviewed four students, including Emily Bonacarti ’73, who had traveled to Sweden in the summer to learn more about weaving. “There was a time when you had to know these crafts to survive,” she said. “Today people are getting lost in the technology. They want to know they can do something.”
The magazine also mentioned a small but growing interest in vegetarian diets and farm-fresh produce. That seed blossomed on the campus and has continued to grow in the last decade with the creation of a student-run organic garden, new sustainability initiatives in Dining Services, continued interest in the vegetarian 2 Dickinson co-op (founded in 1977), and more.
Proctor “Axel” Peterson, with pipe, looks on as students interview Dr. Timothy Leary. (George Peterson ’69/PAW Archives)
For generations of Princeton alumni, PAW contributor George Peterson ’69 wrote in 1967, “memories of undergraduate years invariably include the proctors.” At the time, the men in suits and hats had been charged with maintaining order on the campus for nearly a century. They filled other roles as well, like transporting ill students to the infirmary or delivering urgent messages. By 1967, there were seven proctors, working with a growing campus security department that employed 63 uniformed officers.
Proctor Mike Kopliner, left, in 1937. (PAW Archives)
The Office of the Proctor, created by President James McCosh in 1870, began as a department of one — Matt Goldie, who held the post for 22 years. Goldie was well respected and had a reputation for being “square and honest,” according to A Princeton Companion. The reputations of his successors were mixed. There were some who earned affection from the students — the Princeton University Band paid tribute to one, Mike Kopliner, by forming a giant K in his honor during a halftime show. Others were labeled “the Pinkertons of Princeton” in a popular student song from the 1930s and ’40s.
One memorable proctor, the 6-foot-7-inch Herbert “Axel” Peterson, explained the group’s philosophy in a 1967 interview with The Prince: “We treat the boys like they want to be treated. If they don’t give us trouble, we won’t give them any.”
“Axel” Peterson tones down a party in Holder Hall, circa 1967. (George Peterson ’69/PAW Archives)
From the Dec. 19, 1990, cover of PAW:
“It’s not all gimme, gimme, gimme! Here’s one from Princeton University. They want to confer an honorary degree on you — Doctor of Humanitarian Service.”
The cartoon and the imaginary letter from Nassau Hall are creations of longtime New Yorker cartoonist Henry Martin ’48, a prolific artist who got his start at The Princeton Tiger. Martin has contributed dozens of drawings to PAW’s pages over the years, including wry takes on Reunions and thumbnail sketches that still find their way into the Class of ’48’s notes column. In 2010, he donated nearly 700 drawings to the University Library.
READ MORE: Gregg Lange ’70’s column about Henry Martin and the Class of 1948
The latest episode of our oral-history podcast, PAW Tracks, features alumnus and Army Air Corps veteran Herb Hobler ’44 speaking about the moment he first heard of the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the ways in which that news shaped his life in the years that followed. Classmate Donald Voss ’44 *49 explores the same topic in a new online essay. But these additions are just the tip of the iceberg: PAW published a vast and vivid collection of memories from that day in the Dec. 4, 1991, issue, just before the 50th anniversary of the attack. The cover story, “Pearl Harbor Remembered,” included first-person recollections from 26 alumni, including the late Yeiichi Kuwayama ’40, a Japanese-American graduate and Army quartermaster at the time of the attack, stationed in Vermont:
“We didn’t believe it at first when the radio announced the attack on Pearl Harbor, but as the radio blared on, we became convinced that this wasn’t some prank by Orson Welles. Most of my fellow enlisted men were of Polish or German descent and came from around Buffalo, New York. I was the only one from New York City and the only Japanese-American. Continue reading
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
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