This Week in Princeton History for December 20-26

In this week’s installment of our recurring series, the son of the Mississippi governor’s presence becomes controversial, prominent professors oppose fallout shelters, and more.

December 22, 1821—The New Hampshire Sentinel reports that the will of Elias Boudinot has left a portion of his estate to Princeton. The institution will use the gifts as follows:

  • $10,000 will be used to endow two fellowships, one in history and one in modern languages
  • 1,004 acres of land in New York State will be sold to pay for a cabinet to display natural history specimens
  • His books will be added to the library

December 23, 1980—University chaplain John T. Walsh receives a call from an Iranian official asking him to perform Christmas services for Iran’s American hostages.

December 25, 1850—A writer in the Worcester, Massachusetts National Aegis accuses Mississippi’s governor, John A. Quitman, of hypocrisy, because Quitman (a “Fire-Eater”) is pro-secession but has sent his son to Princeton. “So, doubtless, it would be found that many other fire-eating orators, who are urging their Southern fellow-citizens not to buy of the North and not to wear or eat any thing [sic] that comes from the North, send their own children here to be educated. This shows at once the inconsistency of their course, the hollowness and hypocrisy of their declarations, and the inestimable value of the Union they threaten to destroy.”

John A. Quitman, governor of Mississippi (shown here), was the father of Frederick Henry Quitman (Class of 1851). Photo courtesy the National Archives and Records Administration.

December 26, 1961—Princeton professors Charles C. Gillispie (history), Arthur Mendel (music), and Willard Thorp (English) sign an open letter with about 100 others that appears in today’s issue of the Washington Post expressing opposition to John F. Kennedy’s fallout shelter program. Thorp believes the program increases the danger of nuclear war: “we may be more willing to ‘go to the brink’ if we think survival is possible…”

Map of fallout shelters at Princeton University, ca. 1962. Office of Physical Planning Records (AC154), Box 32.

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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1 thought on “This Week in Princeton History for December 20-26

  1. Pingback: This Week in Princeton History for December 27-January 2 | Mudd Manuscript Library Blog

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