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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This Week in Princeton History for January 27-February 2

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 1772 is appointed U.S. Attorney General, the Texas Club forms, and more.

January 27, 1794—William Bradford, Class of 1772, is appointed Attorney General of the United States.

William Bradford, ca. 1790s. Undergraduate Alumni Records 1748-1920 (AC104).

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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.