MYTHBUSTER — “I Love Lucy” and a lost Presidential election?!

Is there any truth to the story that a commercial for Adlai Stevenson’s campaign interrupted an episode of “I Love Lucy” and cost him the 1952 election?

StevensonforPres copy

This story has appeared in various books and articles, but none has a verifiable citation.
For example, in the book “Lucy A to Z: The Lucille Ball Encyclopedia” author Michael Karol asks the question “Is it possible the Democrats lost an election because of the (viewers) dedication? He writes that a Canadian website states that the Stevenson campaign was bombarded with hate mail when it bought a half hour campaign ad that preempted the popular show (p. 277). Another variation of the story has Stevenson receiving a telegram from a disgruntled Lucy fan that read: “I love Lucy, but I hate you.”

However, no Stevenson biography mentions this incident, nor is there any reportage of it in newspapers at the time. A search within the Adai Stevenson Papers held at Mudd Manuscript Library contains records documenting his 1952 radio and TV commercial purchases. They reveal that Stevenson’s campaign ran four types of ads: 20-second spots, 30 minute spots, five minute condensations, and 15 minute condensations. Presumably the condensations were reduced versions of the 30 minute spots. The evidence of this is found in multiple documents but the most succinct summary is in an undated telegram from Jay Sheridan to G. Rudiak found in Box 244, Folder 8. But the real stake in the heart for this myth is a listing of the campaigns media purchases for Fall 1952. While it shows a number of CBS-TV purchases on Monday nights, none were near the 8 p.m. time slot when “I Love Lucy” aired.

Given the lack of contemporary evidence (all the stories about the telegram date from well past the end of the campaign), and that the nature of the story fits with a common pattern in urban myths (smart guy gets his comeuppance for being ignorant about something commonly understood), we declare:


Most used Princeton theses

Dear Mr. Mudd, I was wondering what is the most popular/most requested senior thesis in the University Archives collection?

This is a perennial question and the short answer is that with the exception of celebrity alumni theses, there are few theses that are pulled with any regularity, yet the collection as a whole (totaling over 60,000 theses) is our most used collection within the University Archives. Last year over 1,000 theses were viewed by visitors–mostly Princeton undergraduates–to the Mudd Library, which accounted for about 1/4 of all Archives materials circulated.


Wendy Kopp’s thesis is always among those requested by remote researchers–that is, those who do not visit the library in person, and whenever a Princetonian makes news or is on a hit show, their thesis is often requested.

In the past, this included Wentworth Miller III (when Prison Break was a hit), David Duchovny (for the X Files) and Dean Cain (Adventures of Lois and Clark), as well as all three now sitting Supreme Court Justices: Samuel Alito, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor.

The entire theses collection can be searched via this database, and Archives staff are working to make future senior theses available online to the Princeton community starting in 2013.

Princeton’s African American Honorary Degree Recipients: Activists and Public Servants

by: Brenda Tindal

In the fall of 1748, Princeton University–then known as the College of New Jersey– held its first commencement. During this ceremony, six undergraduate students were graduated with Bachelor of Arts degrees and the administration conferred the honoris causa (honorary degree) upon Jonathan Belcher, the Governor of New Jersey. Thereafter, Princeton awarded honorary degrees to individuals who had made significant contributions in various sectors of society including religion, academics, arts and culture, politics, science, military, and finance, among other fields. However, it would not be until 1951 that Princeton would confer this honor upon an African American. Since then, more than forty African Americans have been honored in this way. This post focuses on some African American activists and public servants who have received an honorary degree from Princeton University.

Ralph Johnson Bunche

Diplomat and scholar-activist Ralph Johnson Bunche was the first African American awarded an honorary degree from Princeton in 1951, receiving a Doctor of Laws degree.

Citation read at Princeton’s 204th Commencement:
"A political scientist on the faculty of Howard University on leave since 1941 for government service. Stafford Little Lecturer at Princeton in 1950. Professor-designate at Harvard. An expert analyst of colonial areas and territorial affairs for the State Department and advisor to the United States Delegation at the several Conferences that initiated the United Nations. Now on loan from the State Department to be Director of the Department of Trusteeship in the United Nations. Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for 1950 as United Nations mediator in Palestine. Where human affairs need a knowing appraisal and statesmanlike leadership, people draft him because he can be believed. His singleness of purpose brings people to the point of reconciliation, and his sincerity and simplicity inspire in them confident hope. A world citizen ‘ever willing to accept as great a share of hazard as of honor.’ "

Thurgood Marshall

Judge and civil rights litigator Thurgood Marshall received the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws in 1963.


Citation read at Princeton’s 206th Commencement:


Whitney Moore Young, Jr.

Leader of the National Urban League and civil rights activist Whitney Moore Young, Jr., received the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws in 1967.


Citation read at Princeton’s 220th Commencement:


Coretta Scott King

Human rights activist and widow of slain Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Coretta Scott King received the honorary degree of Doctor of Humanities in 1970.


Citation read at Princeton’s 223rd Commencement:


John Lewis

Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis received the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws in 1987.
Citation read at Princeton 240th Commencement:

Constance Baker Motley

Judge and civil rights litigator Constance Baker-Motley received the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws in 1989.

Citation read at Princeton’s 242nd Commencement:


Dorothy Irene Height

Civic leader, activist, and educator Dorothy Irene Height received the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws in 1990.
Citation read at Princeton’s 243rd Commencement:


Robert Parris Moses

Educator and civil rights pioneer Robert Parris Moses received the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws in 2002.
*Moses is currently the 2011-2012 Visiting Fellow in Princeton’s Center for African American Studies (CAAS)
Citation read at Princeton’s 257th Commencement:


“Merge the Best of the Old with the Best of the New:” Coretta Scott King’s visits to Princeton

Last year, as the nation celebrated the observance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, we posted an entry entitled “Martin Luther King Jr.’s visits to Princeton,” which highlighted the various collections at the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library containing archival materials related to Dr. King and his 1960 and 1962 visits to Princeton. To be sure, the “apostle of non-violence”—an eponym ascribed to MLK—was not the only King to spend time at Princeton.
Coretta at Commencement
Eight years after King’s last visit, his widow, Coretta Scott King, an activist in her own right, was conferred the Doctor of Humanities, honoris causa (honorary degree) at Princeton’s 1970 commencement exercises. During this occasion she was joined by an august group of honorees, including musician Bob Dylan. In a letter of gratitude to Princeton’s President Robert F. Goheen, Scott King’s altruism, conscientious tenor, and unwavering commitment to racial and gender equality were evinced when she wrote:
“I consider it a distinct honor to be an alumna of Princeton, especially since I received my degree at the time that you graduated your first woman student. I am further honored to be associated with a progressive institution which is steeped in tradition, but is keenly sensitive to the temper of the times and can therefore merge the best of the old with the best of the new.”
In yet another testament to her unshakable activism, Scott King returned to Princeton in November 1982 to partake in Black Solidarity Day, a rally sponsored by the Organization of Black Unity, among other student organizations and academic departments. According to the November 2, 1982 Daily Princetonian article, when she climbed upon the rostrum, as if to channel her late husband’s philosophy and disposition, she echoed the organizing principles of non-violent social change, for which she added: “[non-violent action] awakens a sense of moral shame in one’s opponent.”
CSV and Honorees
Coretta Scott King along with other Honorary Degree recipients.
In both her 1970 and 1982 visits, Scott King demonstrated to Princetonians that she had not retreated to widowhood after King’s untimely assassination in 1968. Rather, she continued in his stead, delivering the gospel of non-violence, while also preserving the rich legacy that Dr. King left in his wake. In short, Scott King cemented her place in Princeton’s Valhalla of distinguished alumnae and visitors, right alongside her husband.
Interestingly, on November 1, 1983, precisely a year after her powerful speech at Black Solidarity Day, and after years of lobbying, Scott King stood next to President Ronald Reagan as he signed the bill establishing Dr. King’s birthday as a federal holiday. As the Princeton community joins the nation in commemorating King, we must also remember Coretta Scott King, her time at Princeton, and most importantly, the indelible mark she has left on the world. On this day, we salute, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King.
Information about Coretta Scott King’s honorary degree can be found in the Honorary Degree Records, with a photograph of her and the other 1970 honorees found in the Historical Photograph Collection, Campus Life Series . From the Public Policy Papers, information related to her role as a civil right and human rights leader can be found in the Franklin Book Programs Records and the American Civil Liberties Union Records: Organizational Matters Series.
To learn more about any of these resources, please feel free to contact or visit the Mudd Manuscript Library.
–Brenda Tindal

Meet Mudd’s Maureen Callahan

Thumbnail image for CallahanImageWarthog
Maureen made fast friends with this warthog who was a part of the hotel where she was staying while working on an archives project at the University of Fort Hare in Alice, Eastern Cape, South Africa.

Name/Title: Maureen Callahan – Public Policy Papers Project Archivist

Title/Duties: My official job title is Public Policy Papers Project Archivist. Like everyone at Mudd, I do a lot of different things, but my main focus is being a good intermediary between the feet, yards, even miles of archival records that we have and researchers who want to come to use them. I spend time figuring out how to describe materials in aggregate and make sense of their context and content. Or, to put it another way, I dig through a lot of dusty stuff so you don’t have to.

I also work with other archivists and librarians here to leverage the tools of a networked world to make our resources available to people who might never be able to come to Princeton to do research. We’re looking at possibilities for mass digitization so that we can put our actual stuff – and not just descriptions of it – on the internet.

Recent projects: Part of the reason why I enjoy my job so much is because I get to do a lot of different things. Dan Linke and I are currently working on an exhibit about the 1912 election – reading about characters like Eugene Debs, Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson (and let’s face it, to a lesser extent) William Howard Taft is extremely engaging, and we’re having fun thinking about ways to explain the contexts and parallels of 1912 and today.

Over the summer I processed the papers of Judge Harold R. Medina, a figure so well-known during the 1940s and ’50s that he made the cover of Time magazine, but who is rarely referenced today. Medina presided over the trial of the leaders of the Communist Party, USA, and over a huge anti-trust case against investment banking firms in the early 1950s. After spending quality time with Judge Medina, I would say that there are possibly dozens of articles and dissertations to be written from the content of his records. I hope that we see an uptick in researchers now that his papers are more fully processed!

Worked at Mudd since: I’ve worked at Mudd since February of 2011. Before that, I led a project to digitize rare materials from the Middle East and North Africa at George Washington University, and previous to that I was an archivist at the Penn Museum.

Why I like my job/archives: Well, at an esoteric level, I believe that an honest look at the historical record tends to destroy previous conceptions of what is normal, and I think that there’s something extremely liberating about this. Even Mudd’s records of fairly mainstream characters have the power to challenge my previous conceptions of how power presents itself, how people behave, and how the nation operates.

Much more concretely, I like working with people and I like working with technology. We get a lot of questions that start with "my ancestor went to Princeton. Can you tell me about him?" I appreciate the chance to connect people with the people who came before them, and sometimes surprise them with the richness of our records. This process is rewarding, and I’m optimistic about the capabilities of the web to bring our resources to more people.

Favorite item/collection: I’m not sure if it’s my favorite, but last year we accessioned the records of Elmer C. Werner, an IRS agent who had the goods on Halliburton’s (well, the group that existed that eventually became Halliburton) illegal contributions to Lyndon Baines Johnson’s senate campaign. I wrote a blog post about it, which tells the whole sordid story:

IMLS Archival Fellow: Brenda Tindal

Brenda Tindal for HM

Brenda Tindal is one of nine archival fellows chosen from a very competitive applicant pool to participate in Increasing African American Diversity in Archives: The HistoryMakers’ Fellowship, Mentoring, Training and Placement Institute, described by Harvard University Professor and pre-eminent African American scholar Henry Louis Gates as“a wonderfully innovative program.” The program addresses the “appalling low proportion” of African American archivists, which despite decades of effort has increased by only 1% in 22 years–from 1.8% as recorded in the Society of American Archivists (SAA)’s 1982 survey of its professionals, to 2.8% in 2004 as recorded by the A* Census.

As an archival fellow in residence at the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library at Princeton University, Tindal is actively engaged in processing archival material, research, reference services, appraisal and collection development, pedagogy, and outreach initiatives. Her work “advances Mudd’s commitment to making the University Archives and the Public Policy Papers accessible to patrons who include faculty, students, visiting scholars and researchers, and genealogist, among others,” says Tindal. It also allows her to “hone invaluable skills and continue to develop a greater literacy of the many facets of archival work within an academic library.” Additionally, Tindal adds, the Increasing African American Diversity in Archives fellowship program has also given her the opportunity to “build upon her expertise in African American history and culture, while cultivating relationships with like-minded archival practitioners, who have a vested interest in diversifying the profession and the nations archival holdings.”
The goal of Increasing African American Diversity in Archives is to provide African American archival collections with African American archivists and other archivists qualified and interested in working with African American collections. Ultimately, the program seeks to "increase the visibility of the archival profession and African American collections through public programs/outreach efforts," says Executive Director and Founder of The HistoryMakers, Julieanna L. Richardson.
“I am delighted Brenda is part of the Mudd staff,” said University Archivist Daniel J. Linke. “She brings a passion for documents grounded in a deep understanding of their historical context. In just the first few weeks she has been here, she has been fantastic in the classroom working with students, and I expect her time here will benefit us as well as her.”
Speaking on the importance of the program, Tindal says, “an initiative of this magnitude is ingenious and has the potential to redefine the industry by addressing the paucity of African Americans in the archival profession, and in turn, elevate the unique perspectives that we bring to the domain of library and information science.”
Brenda Tindal is a Ph.D. candidate in the Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts (American Studies) at Emory University, where she is completing a dissertation entitled “’What Our Common Past Had Done to Us’: Landscapes of Memory, Representation, and Enactments of Movement Widowhood, 1963-2006.” Tindal has worked on numerous archival projects, including the Alice Walker Papers and the organizational records of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference at the Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library at Emory University and the Andrew J. Young Papers at the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History.

Meet Mudd’s Jimmy Lu

Jimmy 003

Name: Jimmy Lu ’13

Major: Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Title/Duties: Special Collections Student Assistant. I copy and scan documents to fulfill patron orders. I deliver files to offices that are too valuable to be sent via campus mail. On occasion, I also watch over the library’s reading room, lest patrons misbehave.
Recent projects: Digitization of Trustees Minutes. From the old volumes of early 1900s to the confidential records of the recent years, I contribute to humanity’s transition from our reliance on paper to a bondage to electronics.
Worked at Mudd since: Summer 2010
Why I like my job/archives: It’s a nice change of pace from my coursework. I can perform my duties while letting my mind drift and wander. The immersion in the history of Princeton is also very enjoyable. Seeing the old documents that have survived from Princeton’s baby years strengthens my connection to the prestigious institution. Additionally, the short distance between the archives and most of my classes suits my lazy self very well.
Favorite item/collection: The Daily Princetonian Records. Nothing covers the many aspects of Princeton and the happenings inside the Orange Bubble as completely as the student newspaper. It’s interesting to see the changes in the writing quality, the focus of the articles, and the temperaments of the student body through the many decades.

“She Flourishes:” Chapters in the History of Princeton Women

The Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library at Princeton University invites visitors to view the new exhibit, "She Flourishes: Chapters in the History of Princeton Women," which documents the struggles and accomplishments of women scholars, students, staff and other women associated with the institution. The exhibit is open now through the end of August, 2012.

The exhibit title is derived from the University’s official motto, Dei Sub Numine Viget, which translates to "Under God’s Power, She Flourishes." Drawing from the library’s rich holdings, the exhibit showcases various accounts of women throughout Princeton’s history and explores the ways in which these women have redefined what was once considered an "old-boys’ school."

From the "dangerous experiment" of Evelyn College (Princeton’s local all-women’s college, 1887-97), to the implementation of undergraduate coeducation (1969), and the inauguration of President Shirley M. Tilghman (2001), women have historically contributed significantly to the function and educational mission of Princeton University, though not always without opposition. Exhibition items from the University Archives at the Mudd Manuscript Library spotlight chapters in the lives of a handful of particularly notable Princeton women, while demonstrating their changing roles and their ability to influence their environment.
Women highlighted in the exhibit include: Beatrix Farrand, who was responsible for crafting Princeton’s highly regarded landscape environment; Katharine Fullerton Gerould, a noted scholar and faculty wife barred from intellectual pursuits, skewered the parochial, hyper-masculine environment at Princeton in 1924; Josephine Thomson Swann who was integral in the founding of the Ivy Club in 1887; and Sally Frank, who more than one hundred years later, challenged male-oriented cultural traditions, resulting in the full integration of women into the eating clubs.
Woman Enters Admissions
This exhibit does not and cannot tell the whole story of women at Princeton. It does, however, provide a glimpse into the materials generations of Princeton women left behind including letters, memoranda, photographs, publications and other records of scholarship and campus work. The exhibit also includes a video compilation of archival footage relating to women at Princeton, available online through the Reel Mudd Blog. For more information related to the history of women at Princeton, see the Mudd Library’s page devoted to this topic.
"She Flourishes" is open to the public free of charge from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Monday through Friday until August 31, 2012. The Mudd Library will also be open Saturday morning, June 2, 2012, for Reunions. Beginning in June, exhibit hours will be 8:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Annual Report 2011: Goals for Fiscal Year 2012

To finalize our series on our 2011 Annual Report, please see a description of our goals for fiscal year 2012:

  • Complete NHPRC-funded ACLU processing grant
  • Collection development: continue to build the Policy collections through donations and efforts such as the Baker Oral History Project
  • Implement Aeon for registration and other public service functions
  • Continue high level of public services
  • Begin work on redesign of EAD website
  • Continue to exploit our blog, Facebook, and other social media as part of outreach efforts.
  • Complete Daily Princetonian digitization project
  • Build a records management program
  • Successfully host IMLS intern
  • Continue University Archives processing and description
  • Complete description of additions to audiovisual and memorabilia collections; finish P-collection survey; begin HPC description and cleanup work
  • Provide access to all newly created data either through revamped databases and Primo, or conversion to EAD
  • Continue work on processing and description documentation enhancement and consolidation
  • Formalize plans for start of electronic records management program
  • Shift to electronic submission of doctoral dissertations beginning in Fall 2011

We hope you enjoyed our series on our 2011 Annual Report. You may read it in its entirety here. Check in next year for a review of our activity in FY2012!

Annual Report 2011: Exhibitions, Public Relations, and Outreach

As a continuation of our series on our 2011 Annual Report, please see a description of our work in exhibitions, public relations, and outreach:

  • The John F. Kennedy exhibition assembled by Nicole Milano in August 2010 was very well-received, so much that we extended its run through the end of August 2011. In addition, in March Mudd co-hosted a panel with the Woodrow Wilson School entitled “JFK and Civil Rights: 50 Years After” that filled Dodds auditorium. John Doar ’44 and Nicholas Katzenbach ’43 were the highlights of the panel that reminisced about their service in US Justice Department in the first half of the 1960s. A dinner in the Garden Room at Prospect followed where over 50 people dined with the speakers, including President Shirley Tilghman.
  • Mudd hosted an Open House on Saturday, October 23, featuring the exhibit and stacks tours that attracted 17 people.
  • The Mudd blog continues to be a source of information on new collections, interesting reference inquiries, digital collections, staff, accessions and finding aids, and other library news. We created 25 new entries last year. Mudd continued to expand its embrace of social media this year by adding a new blog, The Reel Mudd, devoted to providing access to our audiovisual media, with 58 entries featuring over 85 films. We also launched Facebook and Twitter sites. At the conclusion of the fiscal year, our Facebook page had over 200 monthly active users and we had more than 200 wall posts, a significant number of those originating from our Twitter account where we deliver the “This Day in Princeton History” facts.
  • In conjunction with Alumni Day, Mudd Library assisted Theatre Intime’s 90th anniversary dinner in February. Student members assembled an exhibition in the Harlan Room that was viewed prior to the dinner which was served in the reading room.
Stay tuned for further discussion of our goals for fiscal year 2012.