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
The Ivy five failed in their attempt to cycle to the Yale game, but that didn’t stop them from taking a victory lap. (PAW Archives)
Richard Puffer ’59, a Cottage Club member, had been basking in the spotlight for weeks as campus gossip revolved around his plans to bicycle the 130 miles to Yale for the Princeton-Yale football game.
Disgruntled, five Ivy Club men decided to “take the light off of Puffer,” as one of them recounted later to The Daily Princetonian. They rented an antique five-man tandem bicycle and declared that they, too, would take on the cycling challenge. Continue reading