This Week in Princeton History for January 20-26

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the Graduate School reports increased diversity, gym users ask for protection from prying eyes, and more.

January 20, 1949—At “the first 11:00 catharsis in 15 years,” students celebrate the end of final exams with flaming tennis balls and a mock war.

January 21, 1970—The Daily Princetonian reports on an increase in the diversity of the Graduate School’s student population: Black enrollment, at 2.5% (38 students), is seven times what it was in 1967 and a 50% increase in the number of women since 1966 has brought the total number of female graduate students to 200.

Graph showing Graduate School enrollment 1964-1972. Graduate School Records (AC127), Box 67.

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This Week in Princeton History for January 13-19

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, frustrations arise from confiscated toasters and banned bicycles, Southerners celebrate Robert E. Lee’s birthday, and more.

January 14, 1998—Graduate student Kieran Healy *01’s “The Grinch Who Stole Breakfast” complains of a Christmas present being confiscated by overzealous dormitory inspectors, although he does not live in a dorm, because the unopened toaster was against rules prohibiting heat-producing appliances in campus housing. “My house has a six-ring Viking Professional gas stove in it, so why didn’t they confiscate that as well?”

January 15, 1974—Brendan Byrne ’49 is sworn in as New Jersey’s 47th governor.

Brendan Byrne ’49 (center) at Princeton University for his first Board of Trustees meeting (New Jersey’s governors are ex-officio members of the board), 1974. Office of Communications Records (AC168), Box 128.

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This Week in Princeton History for January 6-12

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, many are curious about a veil hanging outside a window, undergraduates write poetry about their fears of a chickenpox epidemic, and more.

January 6, 1877—A green veil hanging outside a Dickinson Hall window sparks curiosity.

Dickinson Hall, ca. 1870s. Historical Photograph Collection, Grounds and Buildings Series (AC111), Box MP037, Image No. 1063.

January 7, 1940—Undergraduates hang a poem on the doorknob of Princeton president Harold W. Dodds’s office expressing fears of a chickenpox epidemic and requesting that classes be called off to prevent it:

Chicken pox’ll get us;

It’s a dangerous disease.

There should be two weeks’ recess;

Give it to us, please.

January 8, 1990—For the first time, Princeton’s faculty begins the process of revoking a Ph.D. The student’s dissertation has been found to have been extensively plagiarized.

January 11, 1817—Students from the College of New Jersey (Princeton) join with students from Princeton Theological Seminary to form a tract society.

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

Fact check: We always strive for accuracy, but if you believe you see an error, please contact us.

This Week in Princeton History for December 30-January 5

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the Glee Club breaks speed records in the Midwest, the Princeton Alumni Weekly editor is drafted into military service, and more.

December 30, 1893—The Glee Club’s special tour train sets a record for the fastest journey ever taken from Louisville to Cincinnati, covering 119 miles in 136 minutes.

Though the Glee Clubs referred to themselves as part of “Princeton University” on the cover of their 1893-1894 Glee Club tour itinerary, Princeton didn’t officially change its name from the College of New Jersey until 1896. Historical Subject Files (AC109), Box 193, Folder 6.

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This Week in Princeton History for December 23-29

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, Triangle Club performs in Cincinnati, the Board of Trustees decide to meet in Princeton for the first time, and more.

December 23, 1953—Campus proctors catch Ovel Withers, a former Princeton V-12 student and Harvard graduate student, who has been committing serial burglary across the Ivy League.

December 24, 1912—On it’s longest annual tour to date, the Triangle Club performs “Once in a Hundred Years” in Cincinnati.

Publicity photo for Princeton University Triangle Club’s “Once in a Hundred Years,” 1912. Triangle Club Records (AC122), Box 256.

December 25, 1752—The Board of Trustees of the College of New Jersey decides to hold their next meeting in Princeton rather than in Elizabeth.

December 27, 1898—Franklin Woolman D’Olier (Class of 1898) sees a boy struggling after falling through the ice in the Delaware River near Burlington, New Jersey, and rescues him. For this he will be awarded a medal from the Life Saving and Benevolent Association of New York.

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

Fact check: We always strive for accuracy, but if you believe you see an error, please contact us.

This Week in Princeton History for December 16-22

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, New Jersey’s governor pardons the marching band’s drum major, Jimmy Stewart’s singing gets positive reviews, and more.

December 16, 1981—Drum Major Stephen Teager ’82 will not appear in Princeton Municipal Court today as planned, thanks to an 11th-hour pardon by Gov. Brendan T. Byrne ’49. Teager would have faced charges of parading without a permit for causing congestion on Witherspoon Street when he led the marching band in a victory parade on November 23. “There’s no question I was guilty,” Teager says. The penalties could have earned Teager a fine of $1,100 and a jail sentence of up to 210 days.

Editorial cartoon depicting the arrest of Stephen Teager ’82, Princeton Alumni Weekly ,December 14, 1981.

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Debating Race at Princeton in the 1940s, Part II: Roundtable News and the Liberal Union

This is the second post in a two-part series examining Princeton University’s debates over admitting African Americans in the 1940s. These debates began in earnest due to the dedication of one undergraduate in the Class of 1943, Francis Lyons “Frank” Broderick, whose efforts were the focus of the first post in this series. Here, I examine what our holdings reveal about Broderick’s legacy on campus toward the end of World War II and in the early postwar period.

By April C. Armstrong *14

To my teachers and friends on the Princeton faculty
and
my colleagues on the Daily Princetonian
who are fighting against white supremacy at Princeton

–Francis Broderick’s senior thesis dedication page, 1943

As his senior thesis suggests, Frank Broderick wasn’t alone in his fight to transform what it meant to be a Princetonian. After his graduation from Princeton, discussion of race on campus continued in his absence throughout World War II and beyond. Others made arguments similar to the ones Broderick had made about the conflicts between the ideals Americans were fighting for abroad and their own practices at home. These students also met resistance from fellow Princetonians, but in the process, changed opinions. They weren’t content to simply make arguments, however. They took action and set Princeton on a new trajectory.

James Everett Ward ’47 and Arthur Jewell Wilson ’47 outside Laughlin Hall, 1946. Historical Photograph Collection, Campus Life Series (AC112), Box MP215, Image No. 5644.

A few students wrote editorials in Princeton’s Roundtable News in 1944. Like Broderick had before them in the Daily Princetonian, which largely suspended publication 1943-1945, they pushed readers to make connections between the war abroad and domestic policy. In the March 23, 1944, issue of Roundtable, John Kemeny ’47 *49 accused Princetonians of “copying the Nazi party” in their “hysterical” responses to the admission of African American naval officers in 1943. Kemeny referred to having heard students “talk about forming lynching parties” after their arrival. Edward Kessler ’44 called for an end to discriminatory policies in the April 27, 1944 issue, asking, “How can we fight a world war to destroy the race theory and propagate the very same theory at home?” Thomas J. Wertenbaker, Jr. ’43 responded that he was “astonished” that Kemeny and others made these arguments, and that racial prejudice was no greater threat to democracy than lust or egotism. Debates continued, but a catalyst for tangible change didn’t arrive until after the war’s end.

John Bunzel ’46, whose education had been interrupted by his service in World War II, returned to campus in 1946 to finish his final two years of college. He later said his time in the Army had sparked a passion for civil rights. He led Princeton University students who shared Broderick’s commitments to form the Liberal Union in 1946 and served as its president until his graduation in 1948. Continue reading

This Week in Princeton History for December 9-15

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a typing class is starting, reform-minded undergraduates organize, and more.

December 9, 1958—Registration is underway for an undergraduate typing course. For six dollars, students will learn how to type about 20-30 words per minute.

A variety of options were available to students who wanted to hire typists. This was one of several ads for typing services that ran in the Daily Princetonian in 1958.

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This Week in Princeton History for December 2-8

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, campus proctors nab serial burglars, a comedian gives an ominous warning, and more.

December 2, 1942—Charles Bagley III ’44 writes to the Daily Princetonian in response to a November 30 editorial that, among other things, called for African Americans to have equality under the law. “Did [the author] choose to ignore the question of states’ rights is concerned[?] On second thought, has he ever heard of states’ rights?”

December 3, 1920—Campus proctors arrest two men accused of burglarizing dormitories at Princeton for two years by brazenly going into students’ rooms while they were out and filing the students’ suitcases with whatever they wanted, then walking out with the suitcases in broad daylight.

Campus proctor William Coans (“Bill Coons”), ca. 1920. Historical Photograph Collection, Individuals Series (AC067), Box 1.

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This Week in Princeton History for November 25-December 1

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the football team defeats Dartmouth in hurricane force winds, a student writes home to complain about the food, and more.

November 25, 1950—Despite 108-mile winds at kickoff, Princeton and Dartmouth still play their championship game in Princeton’s Palmer Stadium. About 5,000 fans attempt to watch the game in person, but an estimated 25,000 ticket holders simply stay home to wait out the storm. Most of those who do attend seek refuge in the dormitories.

The 1951 Bric-a-Brac‘s report on the 1950 Princeton-Dartmouth football game.

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