This Week in Princeton History for January 14-20

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a member of the Class of 1801 walks 20 miles round trip to attend a memorial for George Washington, a class is lit with electric lamps, and more.

January, 14, 1800—John Johnston, Class of 1801, walks with other Princeton students to Trenton to hear Samuel Smith’s oration on the life of George Washington. Attendance is so large that many, including the students, have no seats and stand for the three-hour ceremony that includes Smith’s address. “To walk ten miles going and ten miles returning, and to stand on our feet nearly three hours, was not a small day’s labor. It will be believed, that when we reached the college we were excessively fatigued and hungry, for we had no opportunity to get anything to eat during the day.”

Samuel Stanhope Smith’s address at the Trenton memorial for George Washington, January 14, 1800. Office of the President Records (AC117), Box 253.

January 16, 1962—The New York NAACP speaks out against a proposal to impose a minimum quota of black students at Princeton University.

January 19, 1973—About 250 Princeton students and townspeople participate in the “march against death” down Nassau St., one of many community-based protests against the second inauguration of Richard Nixon.

January 20, 1882—The Princetonian reports that Cyrus Fogg Brackett, physics professor in the School of Science, is using “Edison incandescent lamps” to light his recitations. The light bulbs are running with electricity supplied by a Gramme machine.

Cyrus Fogg Brackett (in the bowler, front, third from right) with Princeton’s Electrical Engineering Group, ca. 1890. Historical Photograph Collection, Campus Life Series (AC112), Box LP02, Image No. 506.

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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