Category Archives: Throwback Thursday

#ThrowbackThursday: Princeton’s Aviation Pioneers

Flying ace Elliott Springs, Class of 1917, with his wife, Frances. (PAW Archives)

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.

#ThrowbackThursday: Touching Up Witherspoon

(J. Todd Faulkner ’70/PAW Archives)

(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.

#ThrowbackThursday: A Seismic Blast from the Past

(PAW Archives, Feb. 26, 1960)

(PAW Archives, Feb. 26, 1960)

“There was once a day that the geological hammer, a pair of stout legs and a keen eye were all that a geologist really needed for his research,” professor Sheldon Judson ’40 wrote in the Feb. 26, 1960, issue of PAW. But by the 1960s, the mantra of “have hammer, will travel” had given way to a new set of instruments, including the seismic truck, right, used to measure the effects of experimental explosions, left.

Judson’s story traced the history of the geosciences at Princeton, beginning with the arrival of Professor Arnold Guyot in 1854, and did not give much attention to the accompanying photos from departmental field work. If any readers recall the seismic truck or can provide details about its research, please use the comment box below.

#ThrowbackThursday: Aerial Views of Princeton, 1967

From 1958 to 1968, Princeton added an astonishing 2.7 million square feet of building space to the campus — increasing the physical plant by 70 percent in the most significant expansion in the University’s history, according to the 2008 Princeton Campus Plan. PAW showcased parts of the construction boom, as captured by photographer Robert Matthews, in a January 1967 photo essay titled “Aerial Princeton.”

Gifts from a $53 million capital campaign funded parts of the growing campus, and Cold War-era funding for scientific research played a prominent role as well. Click the images in the gallery below for a closer look at the additions, which included Robertson Hall, Jadwin Gymnasium, the E-Quad, and New South.

#ThrowbackThursday: Freshmen in Service, 1992

(PAW Archives, Oct. 14, 1992)

(PAW Archives, Oct. 14, 1992)

Tricia Cortez ’96, left, and Leonard Marquez ’96 were among the Princeton freshmen who worked to rehabilitate homes in Trenton during the week before orientation in 1992. They were part of the University’s Urban Action initiative, now known as Community Action. Last year, the program drew 202 participants from the Class of 2017, and this fall, it expects an additional boost, thanks to the University’s increasing support for civic-engagement, highlighted in the July 9 issue of PAW.


#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.