This Week in Princeton History for March 30-April 5

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the library receives a new gift of F. Scott Fitzgerald correspondence, a campus publication rails against women’s suffrage, and more.

March 31, 1967— Charles Scribner Jr. ’43 presents the Princeton University Library with Charles Scribner’s Sons complete correspondence with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Class of 1917.

An excerpt from a letter F. Scott Fitzgerald, Class of 1917, to Max Perkins, his editor at Charles Scribner’s Sons, December 20, 1924:
“Hotel des Princes, Piazza di Spague, Rome.
“Dear Max:
“I’m a bit (not very–not dangerously) stewed tonight & I’ll probably write you a long letter. We’re living in a small, unfashionable but most comfortable hotel at $525.00 a month including tips, meals, etc. Rome does not particularly interest me but it’s a big year here, and early in the spring  we’re going to Paris. There’s no use telling you my plans because they’re usually just about as unsuccessful as to work as a religious prognosticater’s [sic] are as to the End of the World. Iv’e got a new novel to write–title and all, that’ll take about a year. Meanwhile, I don’t want to start it until this is out & meanwhile I”ll do short stories for money (I now get $2000.00 a story but I hate worse than hell to do them) and there’s the never dying lure of another play.
“Now! Thanks enormously for making up the $5000.00. I know I don’t technically deserve it considering I’ve had $3000.00 or $4000.00 for as long as I can remember. But since you force it on me (inexorable [or is it exorable] joke) I will accept it. I hope to Christ you get 10 times it back on Gatsby–and I think perhaps you will.” 
Archives of Charles Scribner’s Sons (C0101); Manuscripts Division (Firestone Library), Department of Special Collections.

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Demystifying Mudd: Research from Home

Mudd Library is closed right now for renovations, and many of our researchers are practicing social distancing. Though some projects will be on hold, the good news is that if you are at home reading this right now, you have a lot of options for remote research. Some resources are available to all, while others can be accessed by Princeton University’s scattered community with a Secure Remote Access (SRA) connection, also known as a Virtual Private Network (VPN). If you have a Princeton NetID and would like to use these materials, you can follow the instructions on the OIT website to establish the connection on your own device.

Resources Available to All:

This Blog

We’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that our own blog can be a great resource for finding information and digitized materials. It’s worth a search to see what we’ve already curated for you. Think creatively! You may find digital image galleries like in this post about the Liberty Loan Fund’s advertising for women during World War I or videos like this campaign film about nuclear weapons to use as primary sources on topics completely distinct from our reasons for putting them up on the blog.

Drawing of Uncle Sam standing next to a banker opening a safety deposit box in front of a woman. The woman is handing a "Liberty Loan Bond" to Uncle Sam.

Liberty Loan Committee Records (MC089), Box 19, Folder 15.

Princeton University Library Finding Aids

You may find that what you need has already been digitized and attached to the finding aid, so it is always worth a look. You will need to navigate to the individual item to see the files, such as with these minutes of faculty meetings from the Department of Chemistry Records. If you find a broken link, please email us.

Papers of Princeton Database

If you’re interested in just about anything related to the history of the town of Princeton or Princeton University, this database is a great place to start. It includes town newspapers like Local Express, the Princeton Herald, and Town Topics; student publications like the Daily Princetonian and Nassau Literary Review; and other local periodicals like the Princeton University Weekly Bulletin and Princeton Recollector


Princeton University Library Catalog

You might think the main Princeton University Library Catalog can only tell you where a physical book is, but a lot of digital content is available there, too, like this video of a 1954 CBS News interview with H. Alexander Smith, Class of 1901.

HathiTrust Digital Library

This searchable database contains millions of digitized titles in the public domain from libraries around the world. You can find early issues of the Princeton Alumni Weekly or reference books like John Frelinghuysen Hageman’s History of Princeton and Its Institutions, but you need not focus on Princeton here. Want to know what slang words college students across the U.S. were using in the 1850s? Check out Benjamin Homer Hall’s A Collection of College Words and Customs.

Princeton University Archives Tumblr

Our Tumblr page is a frequently overlooked reference resource, but it’s not all just fun and games. You can use the search box to find content specific to your interests, or explore with the hashtags. You can find out what Princetonians have been eating for the past few centuries, read a student’s letter home, or get a sense of how coeducation shaped Princeton.

Class of 1883 dinner menu, June 7, 1883. Princeton University Class Records (AC130), Box 23.


Princeton University Digital Library

High resolution scans of significant portions of several of our collections can be found in the Princeton University Digital Library (PUDL). Search or browse historical photos and postcards of the Princeton University campus, or peruse early 20th-century posters from the New York City subway system.

Elevated Express poster, ca. 1925. Ivy Ledbetter Lee Papers (MC085). Box 137.


Digital Princeton University Library

The materials from the PUDL are gradually migrating to a new system, the Digital Princeton University Library (DPUL). New materials are always being added, like this photo from a 2017 student protest and David L. Aaron’s notes on the first White House meeting about the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis.

Special Collections Databases

We have several online databases you can use to do things like verify someone’s class year or the department where a faculty member worked.


Google Books

Though much of the content in Google Books that might be relevant to you is also in the HathiTrust Digital Library, it’s often worth searching both databases. You might find, for example, that more recent issues of the Princeton Alumni Weekly are available in Google Books but not from HathiTrust.

HistoryPin

HistoryPin helps you search for local content through Google maps. Zeroing in on Princeton University will bring you to content we’ve put up, but also content from the Institute for Advanced Study, local residents, and other institutions.

“A Lesbian Was Here” sticker, 1991. Historical Subject Files (AC109), Box 201, Folder 14.


Mudd Library via Email

We’re a resource you can access remotely, too–just email mudd@princeton.edu if you want help finding something. Though we don’t have access to our collections, either, sometimes we may surprise you with what turns out to be available in a digital format.

For more on our remote reference services, please see our previous blog post on this topic.


Resources Available to Princetonians via VPN:

Dataspace

For recent dissertations and senior theses, as well as some senior theses from earlier decades, the Princeton community can search the Dataspace repository. Some materials may be listed as “walk-in access only.” Please email us for assistance with those items. Note that if an item is listed as under embargo, it is not accessible until after the date listed.

JSTOR

JSTOR is a rich resource for almost all researchers, whether they’re interested in the subjects our collections cover or not, but it’s worth mentioning a few of the specific resources there that we often recommend to our patrons: the full text of A Princeton Companion and five volumes of The Princetonians: A Biographical Dictionary:

Newspaper Databases

The Princeton community has access to a significant number of digitized newspapers. The ones most frequently relevant for our researchers are America’s Historical Newspapers and ProQuest Historical Newspapers.

American Civil Liberties Union Papers 1912-1990 Database

Though not all of the American Civil Liberties Union Records are digitized, a significant portion of them are, and this database is keyword searchable. Note that researchers not affiliated with Princeton University may still have access to this database if their institutions subscribe. Please see our LibGuide for a list of subscribing institutions.

This Week in Princeton History for March 23-29

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the first intercollegiate gymnastic league meet is held, graduate school is offered as an option for confused seniors, and more.

March 23, 1900—In the first-ever intercollegiate gymnastic league meet, Princeton’s team earns a silver cup, but Columbia wins the top honors.

Princeton’s 1900 Gymnastic Team. Photo from A History of Princeton Athletics (1901).

March 26, 1992—An AT&T answering machine worth $100 is found to have been stolen from Green Hall.

March 28, 1888—Noting that many graduating seniors are “in doubt and ignorance as to what they will do on leaving college” and many graduating seniors “are thrust from college into the world like strangers in a foreign land, with no definite plans or ideas,” the Princetonian recommends graduate school.

March 29, 1976—Scottish filmmakers are on campus to work on a documentary about the American bicentennial. “Liberty’s Child” will air July 18, 1976.

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 March 16-22

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the town is raising money to pay for sprinkling the streets, Robert Goheen defends free speech on campus, and more.

March 18, 1991—On today’s episode of Sally Jesse Raphael, the Princeton University band surprises Brooke Shields ’87 with a rendition of “Cannon.”

March 19, 1886—The Princetonian reports on a fundraising effort in town to pay for sprinkling the streets.

Nassau Street, Princeton, New Jersey, 1881. Historical Photograph Collection (AC111), Box AD05, Image No. 8619. Sprinkling streets was a way of controlling dust in dry weather.

March 20, 1819—Erkuries Beatty writes to James Hunter Ewing, Class of 1818, to ask for help tracking down a runaway slave named Joseph, age 20.

March 21, 1972—Princeton University president Robert Goheen weighs in on the controversy surrounding R. J. Herrnstein backing out of an invitation to lecture on his research on the intelligence of pigeons (which has led to Herrnstein proposing a theory that racial disparities in IQ testing are based on genetic differences) because Princeton would not ban protesters from attending. In a letter to Herrnstein, Goheen says, “We do not here believe that academicians any more than anyone else have a right to claim total immunity to minor heckling (including placards).”

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 March 9-15

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, Martin Luther King’s visit to campus is attracting controversy, a new card-playing club forms, and more.

March 9, 1989—A bomb threat—the third in two weeks—cuts midterms short for three classes forced to evacuate McCosh Hall.

March 11, 1874—Students and townspeople alike are alarmed by news of the murder of a peddler passing through town. The Nassau Literary Magazine reports, “The Juniors were so affected that the ‘final’ in logic was altogether forgotten… On the night following, few single rooms were occupied, but companies formed for mutual protection and defence” [sic].

March 13, 1960—Amid controversy, Martin Luther King., Jr. preaches in Princeton University Chapel. His originally scheduled visit was postponed due to the injuries King sustained in an assassination attempt at a department store in 1958. Alumni are divided over whether his visit should be viewed positively. David Baker, Class of 1915, responded in a letter to Robert Goheen, “I would also like to enter my protest against the University selecting a Dean of the Chapel who is not even a naturalized American citizen, and who cannot therefore understand the feelings of the people in America” (Office of the President Records (AC193), Box 193, Folder 16).

March 14, 1895—Students organize the Whist Club, devoted to playing the popular card game of the era.

Students from the Princeton Class of 1889 playing cards, ca. 1889. Historical Photograph Collection, Campus Life Series (AC112), Box SP14, Image No. 3470.

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 March 2-8

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a ban on pizza delivery is enforced, a release party is held for a new book, and more.

March 2, 1960—Princeton University is enforcing a ban on pizza delivery on campus.

March 4, 1913—2,000 undergraduates attend the inauguration of Woodrow Wilson, Class of 1879, as president of the United States, bringing a sea of orange and black to the usual red, white, and blue on display.

Student petition for Princeton University holiday for March 4, 1913. Office of the President Records (AC117), Box 57, Folder 4.

March 6, 1947—Martin Niemoeller, said to be “still gaunt from his years of imprisonment,” opens the first in a series of community Lenten services in Princeton University Chapel.

March 7, 1999—The Princeton Arts Council hosts a release party for Latin American Princeton/Princeton Latinoamericano, a compilation of student research projects for SOC/LAS 338: The Sociology of Latinos in the United States and oral histories conducted by the students of Apoyo/Princeton Immigrant Rights League. The book focuses on the town’s immigrant Latinx community.

Cover of Latin American Princeton/Princeton Latinoamericano, 1999.

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 February 24-March 1

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a professor speaks publicly about his escape to America as a fugitive deserter from the Prussian cavalry, the school song gets new lyrics, and more.

February 24, 1883—Professor Joseph Kargé gives a lecture in the Old Chapel, “The Crisis of My Life,” telling the story of how he escaped to America as a fugitive deserter from the Prussian cavalry.

Joseph Kargé, undated. Historical Photograph Collection, Individuals Series (AC067), Box 77.

February 26, 1987—After months of debate among students, alumni, and administrators, Princeton University announces that the lyrics to the alma mater, “Old Nassau,” will be officially changed. “My boys” will replaced by “we sing” and “her sons will give while they shall live” will change to “our hearts will give while we shall live.”

“Old Nassau” arranged for male voices, 1905. Princeton Music Collection (AC056), Box 10. (Click to enlarge.)

February 29, 1956—A Princeton sophomore is acquitted on charges of shooting out street lights with a revolver. He will later plead guilty to another charge related to the incident (carrying a concealed weapon).

March 1, 1875—Students are pushing for Princeton to hire women to clean their dorm rooms: “Sweeping and bed-making is women’s work, and there is no reason whatever why we should not have women to do women’s work in our dormitories. Their services can be procured for one-third less wages than is paid the miserable Irishmen who now pretend to set our sanctums in order.”

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 February 17-23

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, wives are organizing for women’s rights, a new eating club is organized for those looking for something less expensive, and more.

February 17, 1970—Elaine Showalter and Molly Oates, wives of Princeton faculty, lead a discussion of women’s rights in the Old Graduate College Common Room at a meeting of the local chapter of the National Organization of Women. The group of 40 is seeking opportunity to match their educations and abilities. Oates: “Women are unpaid servants of the institution for which a husband works—they entertain and bake cookies. A woman’s position is determined by her husband’s.”

Elaine Showalter, ca. 1990s. Historical Photograph Collection, Individuals Series 9 (AC067), Box 17. Showalter was teaching at Douglass College (Rutgers University) in 1970. She joined the faculty at Princeton University in 1984. For more on faculty wives and their advocacy for broadening women’s roles on campus, see our previous blog post on this topic.

February 21, 1871—A group of women puts on a minstrel show. It is so popular among Princetonians that they are invited back for an encore in March.

February 22, 1998—David Milanaik ’98 gives a presentation entitled “Jew Man Group” about his conversion to evangelical Christianity to a small group of students at Forbes Theater. Milanaik has sparked controversy on campus due to his partnership with Jews for Jesus.

February 23, 1941—Members of the Class of 1943 organize Prospect Cooperative Club, a less expensive option for students who cannot afford Princeton’s traditional eating clubs.

Prospect Cooperative Club, ca. 1942. Photo from 1943 Bric-a-Brac.

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 February 10-16

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a local farmer is making use of the waste from the outhouses, badminton debuts on campus, and more.

February 10, 1881—A report to the Board of Trustees notes that a local farmer is emptying the outhouses and taking the excrement to use as manure. (See Volume 6 of the Board of Trustees Minutes.)

February 12, 1891—Prof. Cyrus Brackett gives a lecture on electricity with a demonstration of battery-operated electric lights at Second Presbyterian Church to a large audience.

February 14, 1936—Princeton debuts badminton on campus in a tournament in Dillon Gym.

Princeton University Badminton Club, ca. 1930s. Historical Photograph Collection: Campus Life Series (AC112), Box LP59, Image No. 3890.

February 15, 1960—The New York Times reports that Orange Key’s planned fund-raising dance, advertising “One Hundred Dates to Be Sold,” has been cancelled due to phone calls from angry mothers of the women from Centenary College in Hackettstown, New Jersey, who were unwittingly being offered for “sale.” The Centenary College students have decided not to attend.

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 February 3-9

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the last winter Commencement is held, a woman successfully bickers an Eating Club for the first time, and more.

February 3, 1949—Princeton holds its sixth and last winter Commencement, presenting 274 degrees. Frank Osborn, Class of 1910, tells the assembled graduates, “we are forced to realize that the world is a dangerous place to live in. That’s a new idea for my generation. We don’t like it.”

Frank Osborn with Harold Dodds at Princeton University’s Feburary 2, 1949 Winter Commencement. Photo from Princeton Alumni Weekly, March 19, 1949. Osborn’s speech can be found in the Princeton University Commencement Records (AC115).

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