This Week in Princeton History for December 28-January 3

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a former student defends the institution to the press, the Western Pennsylvania Club gathers in Pittsburgh, and more.

December 30, 1991—At the invitation of the Kuwaiti government, two students leave for an all-expense paid tour of Kuwait.

December 31, 1823—Someone identified only as “An Alumnus of N. Jersey College” takes Philadelphia’s National Gazette to task for its “ridiculous account of the late disturbance of the College of New Jersey,” saying,

The Faculty have done their duty on the occasion; and if they shall be supported by the Trustees, as doubtless they will be, —and, if parents will do as several have done, much to their credit, send their sons back, —teaching them, that a pledge of honor to do mischief, is not worth redeeming, our public seminaries would be freed from a deal of vexation, and we might hope to see our youth better educated, and trained to better habits. I am neither an Officer nor a Trustee of any College, but I am a friend to public institutions of learning, and take the liberty of saying, that the publication of unauthorized statements, calculated to bring them into disrepute, to break the sinews of discipline, and countenance youthful insubordination, is an act of flagrant injustice to the community.

January 2, 1767—Samuel Greville, a former student at Princeton who was probably a member of the Class of 1766 before dropping out, makes his acting debut in Tamerlane at Southwark Theatre in Philadelphia. Greville reportedly found the rules at Nassau Hall too constraining. He is believed to be the first American ever to act professionally, a fact that will not gain him respect in his lifetime. A friend who attends the play will write, “The People in general here rather pity than condemn him: this is the Consequence of loose Morals & may serve as a Lesson to others.”

January 3, 1894—Students and alumni affiliated with Princeton’s Western Pennsylvania Club gather in Pittsburgh, where Nat Goodwin and Burr McIntosh provide entertainment at the Duquesne Theatre with roles in In Mizzoura and speeches afterward. From there, the group banquets at the Duquesne Club.

An artist’s depiction of Princeton’s Western Pennsylvania Club taken from the 1893 Bric-a-Brac.

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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