Black alumni looking back, 1996

Harvard offered its first degree to an African American student in 1870, with Yale following in 1874. At Princeton, however, the first two black students graduated only in 1947 and 1948, after arriving on campus as members of the Navy’s wartime V-12 program. Historically the “Ivy League school for Southern gentlemen,” Princeton was a little “tardy,” according to Cornel West (then director of the Center for African American Studies) in the documentary featured here (32:01). In the words of Shearwood McClelland ’69: “If you had a segregationist attitude or would like to cherish that attitude a little longer before real life hit you after you graduated, this was the place to come to.” (31:35).

The first two black graduates, John Howard ’47 and James Ward ’48, are among the 35 alumni who were interviewed for the documentary Looking Back: Reflections of Black Princeton Alumni, which was written and directed by Melvin McCray ’74 and produced by McCray and Calvin Norman ’77 on the occasion of Princeton’s 250th anniversary in 1996. Most of the alumni interviewed are from the 1960s and 1970s, when the administration started to make diversification of the student body a priority. In the documentary Robert F. Goheen, president between 1957 and 1972, explains how the racial riots of 1963 in the South made him realize that Princeton, which counted only seven African American undergraduates in 1962, should provide more educational opportunities to qualified blacks (20:52). Goheen’s successors William G. Bowen (President 1972-1988) and Harold T. Shapiro (President 1988-2001) are also interviewed, as well as Carl Fields (Assistant Director of Student Aid 1964-68 and Assistant Dean of the College 1968-1972), and the aforementioned Franklin Moore.

The 75 minute documentary, in which alumni describe contrasting experiences and feelings, is divided into several chapters: “The early history” (2:59), “Inclusion” (20:46), “Diverse backgrounds” (25:59), “First impressions” (28:44), “A matter of race” (31:57), “Academics” (43:51), “Nassau Hall Protest” (detailing the protest of April 14, 1978 over Princeton’s investments in South Africa, 56:40), “Graduation” (1:01:35), “One Word” (1:04:20), and “Parting thoughts” (1:05:20). In the first chapter Woodrow Wilson’s racism is discussed (6:16). The introduction of coeducation in 1969 is discussed at 48:43.

In addition to the interviews, the producers use historical footage and photographs (including materials from Mudd Manuscript Library and private sources) and renderings of “Old Nassau and “Going Back” by the a capella group “The Persuasions.” The documentary was produced under the auspices of the Steering Committee for Princeton’s 250th Anniversary, in conjunction with the Association of Black Princeton Alumni (ABPA) and the Alumni Council. It won a Bronze Medal from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (1998).

This VHS video is part of the University Archives’ Historical Audiovisual Collection (item no. 1361).

Update: Thanks to Martin Shell ’74 for letting us know about a quote that had been erroneously attributed.


Card carrying members of the ACLU, 1988

One of the largest and most frequently used Public Policy collections at Mudd Manuscript Library is the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) records.  (For a description of the ACLU and its documents, see our previous library blog entry). The ACLU’s Audiovisual Materials Series, however, has been little used, but a few films that were recently digitized will be featured on this blog in the coming weeks. As an introduction, here is a public service announcement (PSA), part of the first television advertising campaign in the history of the ACLU, a result of the organization being drawn into the 1988 U.S. Presidential campaign.

In his nomination acceptance speech, Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis asserted that the election would be “about competence, not ideology” and during the campaign that followed, tied his GOP opponent, Vice President George Bush to the scandals of the Reagan administration.  Bush countered by portraying Dukakis as a liberal out of the mainstream.  Employing a phrase resonant with one used by the notorious Senator Joseph McCarthy, he called Dukakis a “card-carrying member of the ACLU” (a statement Dukakis himself had made in a magazine interview the previous year).  The ACLU decided to use Bush’s attack as a public relations opportunity. The PSA is one of three television commercials, produced by the ACLU’s Southern California chapter, in which Burt Lancaster, Jill Eikenberry, and Michael Tucker explain why they are card-carrying members of the ACLU. All commercials end with the line: ”No one agrees with every single thing they’ve done. But no one can disagree with the guiding principle – with liberty and justice for all.”The actor, director and producer Burt Lancaster (1913-1994), winner of an Academy Award and Golden Globe, was a vocal supporter of liberal political cases. The actress and actor Jill Eikenberry and Michael Tucker, a married couple, are best known for their appearance together in the popular television series L.A. Law (1986-1994).

The VHS tape on which this PSA is found is part of the Audiovisual Materials Series of the American Civil Liberties Union Records (Box 2039).


Kicking off the $53 Million Campaign, October 1, 1959

On October 1, 1959, Trustees and Alumni gathered in Princeton for a significant event. “This cause we serve is a cause of great importance to all Americans and throughout the Free World,” James F. Oates ’21 boomed, before handing over the microphone to Judge Harold R. Medina ’09 and President Bob Goheen ’40. The cause was Princeton’s $53 Million Campaign, and the 500 alumni from twelve different states, the first volunteers for the campaign, were attending the kick-off meeting of the total solicitation phase.

Oates, the Chairman of the $53 Million Campaign, may have sounded overwrought, but the three-year campaign was of historical proportions indeed. It was Princeton’s first professional fund raising effort, run with the help of the new Development Office (established in 1956), a fund raising firm, and ultimately almost 5,000 volunteers, coordinated by eight regional offices from coast to coast. The financial goal was of historical proportions too, and so was the list of projects to be funded, including $30 million for new buildings on campus, including the Engineering Quad, the New Quad, the Woolworth Music building, and the School of Architecture. Thus, the $60.7 million raised by the end of the campaign, pledged by 17,925 donors, enabled the growth and change with which the presidency of Robert F. Goheen (1957-1972) has come to be associated.

The film, presented as a newsreel for alumni, opens with excerpts of speeches by Jim Oates (0:54 and 4:05), Harold Medina (2:09) and Robert Goheen (6:04). It ends with footage of Jim Oates at the opening of a football match later that day, where he announces the launch of the campaign and receives a special shirt as ‘quarterback’ of the campaign (8:56).
This 16mm film is part of the University Archives’ Historical Audiovisual Collection (item no. 0125). For more information about the $53 Million Campaign, see Gregg Lange’s article in the Princeton Alumni Weekly (November 4, 2009).

Combustible Dulles, ca. 1934

Not many collections in the Public Policy Papers at Mudd Manuscript Library contain audiovisual materials. John Van Antwerp MacMurray’s films of China, which were featured over the past nine weeks, and the American Civil Liberties Union records are an exception. So we were very excited when a preservation survey led to the discovery of an unlabeled film reel in one of the most researched collections: the papers of John Foster Dulles, Secretary of State under President Dwight Eisenhower from 1953 until his death in 1959. But the canister smelled nasty, a sign that it contained highly combustible nitrate film.

Dulles still.jpgThe film, however, was in stable enough condition to be digitized. It turned out to be a Pathé newsreel from around 1934, in which a very young Dulles, an international lawyer at the time who served as American representative at the German Debt Conferences of 1933-1934, discusses France’s “war debts.” France was one of the many European nations who were indebted to the US Treasury for loans made during and immediately after World War I (a total of over 10 billion dollars for all countries). Dulles had participated in the American Commission to Negotiate Peace in Versailles (1918-1919), and in the Reparations Commission (1919).

It turns out that British Pathé still owns the newsreels as well as the copyright. This means that we will not be able to post the newsreel ourselves. If you click the image below you will be directed to the Pathé site instead, where you can not only view the Dulles newsreel but access all other Pathé newsreels too. A fascinating resource!

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For us, the existence of the Pathé archives as well as having our own digital copy means that we can safely dispose of the combustible newsreel far away from Mudd Library’s holdings.
The Pathé newsreel is part of the John Foster Dulles Papers (box 542)

Rowing in fashion: the 150lb crew team, 1948-1950

During the Class of 1950’s 60th reunion weekend, Ed Lawrence ’50 donated a DVD to the University Archives that he had made for his former rowing crew teammates from old 8mm movie footage. He gave us permission to put it on Princeton’s YouTube channel, although he doubted that anybody other than his friends would be interested. Within two months, however, the film (initially posted with accompanying music) had been watched over 3000 times. It even almost ended up on CBS’ The Early Show. Why all this interest? Apparently the rowers looked very fashionable!

“Great chinos and sweaters in action at 2:28. Jackets and ties for a trip to Cornell at 4:28. White bucks and grey flannels at 5:51,” wrote a blogger about Ivy style dress. By the time it was picked up by another blog about “preppy” clothes we had reposted the film on YouTube without the music that Ed Lawrence had used to accompany the footage. Although it contained only fragments from an old Glenn Miller piano recording (which gave the film a bit of a slapstick feel), Sony had immediately claimed the copyright to the music, so the film had to return to what it originally had been: a silent movie. Later, when CBS contacted us about using the footage, we discovered why there was this sudden interest: the “preppy look” is back in fashion this fall!  We directed them to ask Mr. Lawrence for permission, but unfortunately, he did not return from vacation in time, so CBS used less historic footage.

For the University archives, the film is of interest for other reasons. We have very few audiovisual recordings that capture students’ extracurricular activities and social life on and around campus. This 20-minute film shows the 150lb crew not only at Carnegie Lake and the Boathouse, but also during trips and matches, including a trip to Cornell (5:03), Watkins Glenn State Park (6:09), Columbia University (8:34), the Eastern Intercollegiate Championship Race in Boston (9:54), and the University of Pennsylvania (10:46).
If you have films or videos of your Princeton years and are willing to part with them, we would be happy to incorporate them into the University Archives’ Audiovisual Collection. If you have converted the footage into a DVD and would want us to share it online, we would very much like to do so too. As long as it does not contain music under copyright!
This DVD of silent 8mm films, a gift from Ed Lawrence ’50, is part of the University Archives’ Historical Audiovisual Collection (item no. 2021)

Escape to the Diamond Mountains in Korea, 1928

(This is our ninth and final post about the films of diplomat John Van Antwerp MacMurray. See the first post for more background.)


“A typical group of Korean women gossiping on the road near Onseiri.” Postcard to Henrietta V.A. MacMurray, printed from a photograph by MacMurray (Box 26, December 4, 1928)

This is the last post featuring the films that diplomat John Van Antwerp MacMurray made while serving as Minister to China from 1925-1929. The film “The Diamond Mountains, 1928,” which captures a family vacation in Korea in the summer of 1928, may be a fitting end: in the three preceding years MacMurray had seen the country that he loved come under the control of Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist Party, a development that he had watched with caution, as did many of his colleagues in the diplomatic corps. His thoughts about how to deal with the Nationalists differed from those of his superiors in Washington, which made his position increasingly difficult. On August 5, 1928, two months after the Nationalists took control of Peking, he wrote his mother about how much he and his wife were looking forward to the vacation in Korea. “Lois and I are feeling very “fed up” and stale and anxious to be away from things for long enough to take a fresh start.” The differences of opinion between MacMurray and his superiors, however, ultimately led to MacMurray’s resignation from his post in October 1929.


The family spent their vacation at one of the pools in the Diamond Mountains (Mount Geumgang, now North Korea), where they stayed in a hotel in the village of Onseiri in the Outer Kongo between August 17 and September 18, 1928. The film opens with family swimming, fishing, and mountain scenes, followed at 6:35 by brief footage of women on a street near Onseiri, also shown on the postcard above. The footage that follows of villagers and monks is assumed to be shot in the Choanji (Changansa) Monastery, which had the largest collection of temples in the Inner Kongo. MacMurray and his wife spent a few days there on their own, while their children were looked after at the hotel.

The John Van Antwerp MacMurray Papers contain photographs MacMurray made during his trips to the Diamond Mountains (Box 155-156), some of which he sent as postcards to his mother (Box 26). Apart from the first postcards, however, descriptions of the scenes are lacking. A film shot of a previous vacation in the Diamond Mountains in 1926, which was recently found, has not been digitized yet.

World War II training on and off campus

In the fall of 1941, preceding the attack on Pearl Harbor, undergraduate enrollment stood at 2,432. By November 1943, however, only 655 of the 3,742 students in residence were civilian. The footage on the two silent films shown here was shot a few years before and after the United States entered the Second World War. The first film captures Princeton students at an ROTC summer training camp off campus. In contrast, the later footage features military students marching on Princeton’s grounds. The Princeton campus, like many others in the country, had turned into a military training facility.

Princeton had maintained an ROTC Field Artillery Unit since 1919, when the First World War had ended. The primary objective of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) was to provide military training at civilian colleges and universities to quality them as Reserve Officers in the US military. As part of a four-year elective course in Military Science (leading to the rank of Second Lieutenant of Field Artillery in the Officers’ Reserve Corps) students attended a six-week summer training camp at the end of the junior year. The film, which was shot before 1942, captures activities at a summer camp at Madison Barracks, New York, including a medical checkup (1:01), mess (4:05), drills (5:29 and 14:58), artillery practice (7:48), and informal scenes. In 1942 the summer training camp was suspended and in the following year ROTC was integrated in the Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP), which arrived on Princeton’s campus in April 1943. The footage from 17:27 shows various military training units that resided on campus during the war. More information is provided with the next clip, which contains similar footage.

To compensate for dwindling resources during the war, Princeton hosted several military training schools on campus. In addition to the ASTP (known as the A-12), Princeton accommodated the Army Post Exchange School, the Naval Officer Training School, the Naval College Training Program (V-12) for Navy candidates and Marines, and the Navy Pre-Radar School. Dormitories provided barracks for the service groups, and fourteen of the largest halls were occupied by Army and Navy trainees. The trainees marched to meals and classes, as can be seen on this footage of various unidentified training units.  The ROTC returned to campus with the reestablishment of the Army Unit and the introduction of a Naval Unit in 1946 and an Air Force Unit in 1951.

These silent 16mm films are part of the University Archives’ Historical Audiovisual Collection (item no. 0106 and part of item no. 0092).

Peking friends and family scenes

(This is our eighth post about the films of diplomat John Van Antwerp MacMurray. See the first post for more background.)

Although most films that have previously been discussed are interspersed with family scenes, shot in and around Peking and during outings and vacations, some of MacMurray’s films are more distinctively “home movies.”  Featured here are films of MacMurray’s family and friends in Peking, including his domestic staff and dogs. The films include rare footage of the Chinese dancer Yu Rongling (1882-1973).

This early personal movie, shot soon after the MacMurray family arrived in China in 1925, captures MacMurray’s children at play, riding bikes and ponies, at a birthday party, and in the company of servants and of their dogs. The film includes some footage of John Van Antwerp MacMurray and his wife Lois Goodnow MacMurray, as well as group shots of their staff.


This 100-foot reel, which was labeled by MacMurray himself, captures a three minute long dance with two swords by the Chinese dancer Yu Rongling, the wife of General Dan Pao Chao of Beijing. Yu, who received a Western education along with her older sister “Princess” Der Ling, had studied dance in Paris and introduced Western dances to China. There is no correspondence in MacMurray’s papers that documents the relationship with Dan Pao Chao and his wife.


The few fragments on this film include footage of MacMurray’s children, a nationalist flag (0:15), and British Ambassador Miles Lampson (0:32), who was a good friend of MacMurray.


This reel contains another fragment of the mime performance by the man identified as José Gallostra, who is mimicking the diplomats prescribed behavior at the bier of Sun Yat-sen during their trip to attend his reinterment in Nanking. It is followed by some footage of MacMurray’s children with an artist and performers.


The footage on this reel includes a picnic with guests, family swimming, and more footage of the performers seen on the above reel “1.”

Previous posts about the films of John Van Antwerp MacMurray:


Kicking off the McCarter era: Triangle footage 1929-circa 1950

The Triangle Club Records at Mudd Manuscript Library are as rich and colorful as the history of the Triangle Club itself. Going back to 1883, when the theater troupe was founded as the ‘Princeton College Drama Association,’ the collection includes a wide range of records, from business correspondence and production files (including scripts and scores) to playbills and posters, scrapbooks, and photographs. In addition, there is a variety of audiovisual recordings, including phonograph records going back to 1924. The date of the oldest film footage in the collection, however, was only determined last week, when we were able to view the 16mm films in digitized format.

The first film shown here opens with a Hearst Metrotone newsreel, featuring Triangle’s famous "chorines" (members of the all-male chorus in drag), in a kickline for The Golden Dog, Triangle’s production for 1929-1930. The footage, presumably shot before Triangle started touring in December 1929, must have been attractive for Hearst Metrotone News, which had introduced sound to its movie theater newsreels only in September that year. For the University Archives the footage is of particular interest: The Golden Dog was performed during the opening night of McCarter Theater on February 21, 1930. Written and directed by A. Munroe Wade ’30 and Joshua L. Logan ’31 (who became a Broadway and Hollywood director and writer), the musical comedy was set in Quebec during the British siege of  the French and Indian War in 1759. The newsreel opens with John Metz ’30 as Sergeant Pierre DeLouche, joined by the chorines, who are dancing to the chorus of "Blue Hell" (lyrics by B. van Doren Hedges ’30 and music by Robert W. Hedges ’31). The text and music of the chorus can be found at Blue Hell score.pdf.

TakeItAway3.jpgThe footage that follows at 1:55, a trailer for a projected silent movie ("Park Avenue Cowhand"), was shot for Triangle’s annual production Take It Away (1936-1937). In this musical comedy three Triangle boys are going to Hollywood to advise Manny Magnum, president of ‘Pasteurized Pictures,’ about a movie version of Macbeth. Not knowing that Triangle is all-male, Magnum invites them to bring a female lead for the movie, and the boys decide that one of them, Chester Pipps (Alexander Armstrong ’37), will double as "Suzette Crepe." They are found out, however, when Magnum invites both Chester Pipps and Suzette Crepe to perform together in ‘Park Avenue Cowhand.’  The trailer is a clever montage of Pipps and Crepe (both played by Armstrong when their faces are visible), whose faces never appear in the same shot. However, the trailer was never used. It appears in a scene in an early synopsis of the play in which it is shown in a movie theater, but does not appear in the final script.
Above: Manny Magnum (Mark Hayes Jr. ’39) with Triangle’s "female lead" Suzette Crepe (Alex Armstrong ’37). 

The footage featured here, found on a silent 16mm film reel that was labeled ‘Old Shots,’ shows kicklines from various Triangle shows in black and white and in color. The black and white footage, starting at 0:56, shows the chorines in Take it Away, discussed above (1936-1937). The subsequent color footage, presumably dating from the late 1940s and 1950s, has not been identified. Any Triangle alumnus who recognizes faces, outfits, choreography, or gams and can identify these shows, please leave a comment!

These 16mm films are part of the Triangle Club Records at the Princeton University Archives (box 177 and additions).  Mudd Library is thankful for the support that the Triangle Alumni Board provided for digitizing these films and unlocking their contents.

Vacation with the Navy, friends with the Marines

(This is our seventh post about the films of diplomat John Van Antwerp MacMurray. See the first post for more background.)


MacMurrayfam with Butler.jpg

Mac­Mur­ray and his wife and two old­est chil­dren at a mil­i­tary review in Jan­u­ary 1928 in Tientsin. Left Gen­eral Smed­ley But­ler (John Van Antwerp Mac­Mur­ray Papers, Box 145)

On August 8, 1926, during a family vacation in Chefoo (the summer headquarters of the US Asiatic Fleet), MacMurray wrote his mother that her grandson had problems staying loyal to the Marines in Peking. After doing battle practice on a four-inch gun destroyer he had told his father: “I find that the sailors are as playful as the Marines.” As members of a diplomat’s family, MacMurray’s children were well acquainted with the US Marines and Navy in China. The films featured here capture naval ships in Chefoo harbor and Marines parading at the Peking Legation, as well as military airplanes, artillery, and tanks during reviews on Marine bases in Hsin Ho and Tientsin. The films include shots of the highly decorated “Fighting Quaker” General Smedley D. Butler, commander of the Marine Expeditionary Force between 1927 and 1929.


This film was shot in Chefoo (Yantai) and Penglai, where the MacMurray family spent summer vacation in 1926. It opens with elaborate views of ships at Chefoo harbor, which is followed by target practice on the USS Pruitt, from which the previous footage was probably shot (2:00). After images of a car being transferred across the water, the film continues with footage of Penglai, a small medieval town with an inner harbor and a temple on top of a rock (3:47). The rare footage of airplanes that follows (3:59) was shot at Camp MacMurray, the first US Marine airbase in China, which was established by Butler at Hsin Ho and named after MacMurray. It is not clear when MacMurray, who appears to have been taken on a flying tour, visited the base. The last part of the film captures artillery and tanks of the 10th Marine regiment in Tientsin on an unknown occasion (6:57), ending with marching British troops at Tientsin.


This film opens with a parade of the Legation Guard (abbreviated by MacMurray as “Lagu” Guard), followed by some brief footage of General Smedley Butler (0:19). (For more information and extensive footage of the Legation Guard see our previous post.) The footage that follows (1:19) captures the building of the Sino-American highway from Tientsin to Peking, a project that took place under Butler’s supervision in the fall of 1928, when the Third Brigade of the US Marines in Tientsin cooperated with Nationalist troops. A commemorative photo album of the project can be found in MacMurray’s Papers (box 147). The films ends with shots of marching Scottish soldiers at the Peking legation and more footage of General Butler (1:42).


After some village and nature scenes in the Western Hills, the fragments on this film include some more footage of the Legation Guard parading in the Peking compound (0:47). This is followed by what may be a Chinese burial procession of someone of importance, showing grieving people carrying banners and puppets of people and animals (1:33).

Our thanks to Dirk Haig for his assistance with identifying military images and to Shuwen Cao for her help with the local scenes.

Previous posts about the films of John Van Antwerp MacMurray: