Dear Mr. Mudd: Which School Is Older, Penn or Princeton?

By Spencer Shen ’16

Q: Dear Mr. Mudd,

I have a friend at Penn who claims that his school is older than Princeton. Is he right?

A: The answer to this question depends on what you mean by “older”, but institutional pride can result in tenuous claims for precedence. The University of Pennsylvania currently asserts that it is the fourth oldest college in the United States, placing Princeton in fifth place after Harvard, William and Mary, Yale, and Penn. Its basis for this claim is that it is an outgrowth of a “charity school” founded in 1740, but the school was never operational. Its building was used for religious services until 1749, when it was acquired by Benjamin Franklin and his associates for the purposes of establishing an “academy”, including an agreement to operate a charity school. “We have bought for the Academy,” Franklin wrote on February 13, 1750, “the house that was built for itinerant preaching, which stands on a large lot of ground capable of receiving more buildings.” The charter for Franklin’s Academy incorporated the text of the previous charity school’s trust verbatim. This adoption of the exact wording of the trust lies at the heart of Penn’s claim to precedence. However, it was not until 1751 that instruction actually commenced and not until 1753 that the “College, Academy and Charitable School of Philadelphia in the Province of Pennsylvania” was chartered.

penn_princeton_graphic

Click to enlarge graphic.

Penn celebrated its centennial in 1849, and its trustees did not formally accept 1740 as the year of the institution’s founding until 1899. By contrast, Princeton was chartered in 1746 as the College of New Jersey, began to offer instruction in 1747, and moved to Newark later that year. To the south, in Philadelphia, no such signs of higher educational life existed.

This post was originally written by John Weeren (2001) as an FAQ page on our old website. It has been revised and expanded here by Spencer Shen ’16 as part of the launch of our new website.

When Did the College of New Jersey Change to Princeton University?

Q: Dear Mr. Mudd,

When and why did the College of  New Jersey change its name to Princeton University?

Town_to_University_arch_AC112_LP19_No._1387

Sesquicentennial Archway, Princeton, New Jersey, October 1896. Historical Photograph Collection, Campus Life Series (AC112), Box LP19, Image No. 1387.

A: The College of New Jersey, founded in 1746, changed its name to Princeton University during the culmination of the institution’s Sesquicentennial Celebration in 1896. Historically, the University was often referred to as “Nassau,” “Nassau Hall,” “Princeton College,” or “Old North.” Continue reading

The Origins of the “Ivy League”

Q. Dear Mr. Mudd,

Where did the term “Ivy League” come from, and what schools are in it?

A. The eight universities belonging to the Ivy League are Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Pennsylvania, Princeton, and Yale. The idea dates back to October 1933 when Stanley Woodward, a sports writer for the New York Herald Tribune, used the phrase “ivy colleges” to describe these schools, which had common athletic programs. In 1936, the student newspapers of these colleges printed an editorial calling for the formal establishment of an athletic league for the “ivy colleges.”

Clip from NYHT

Clipping from New York Herald Tribune, October 16, 1933.

When initiated by administrators in the eight schools in September 1946, the “Ivy Group” was concerned about growing interest in college athletics as a form of national entertainment, especially football. The advent of televised college football games only intensified the colleges’ resolve to develop rules governing the sport. The Ivies were to be places where athletes were primarily students who participated in sports as a part of an overall educational program, not professionals who were recruited for their physical abilities nor students who were exploited for the material gain of their institutions. Continue reading

Dear Mr. Mudd: Who Are You?

By Spencer Shen ’16

Dear Mr. Mudd:

Q: Who are you?

A: Actually, I’m Dr. Mudd. I was a practicing cardiologist before joining the faculty of the California Institute of Technology. Later, I became a professor, a member of the Board of Trustees, and the Dean of the School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. I also served as a trustee of Pomona College, Stanford University, the California Institute of Technology, and the Carnegie Institute of Washington.

MrMudd

As you can see, I was keenly interested in promoting higher education, and I contributed more than $10 million to private colleges and universities during my lifetime. In my will, I established the $44 million Seeley G. Mudd Fund of Los Angeles to support educational excellence through grants for the construction of buildings for teaching, learning, and research.

The fund stipulated that an institution requesting funds would pay at least half the cost of a new building. For the Mudd Manuscript Library at Princeton University, the fund’s trustees made a grant of $1,125,000 to Princeton toward the $2,500,000 needed to build it. The balance was contributed by other donors, many of whom were alumni or their relatives.

Princeton was not the only university to apply for a grant from the Mudd Fund. You can go to Yale University, Duke University, Lawrence University (Appleton, WI), and Pomona College (Claremont, CA) and visit a Mudd Library there. There is a large medical complex named for me at the University of Southern California, and Howard University also has a Mudd Medical Building in its College of Medicine. You can also visit Mudd science buildings at the University of Denver, Colby College (Waterville, ME), and Lehigh University. There is even a Seeley G. Mudd Chapel at Whitworth College (Spokane, WA). These are only a few of the buildings financed by the Mudd Fund.

I am often asked whether I am a relative of Samuel A. Mudd, the Maryland doctor imprisoned for aiding John Wilkes Booth after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. We are only very distantly related, as fifth cousins thrice removed. I am the great-great-great-great-great-grandson of Henry “Harry” Mudd (1685-1736), and Samuel A. Mudd is the great-great-great-grandson of Henry Mudd’s older brother Thomas Mudd, Jr. (1679 or 1680-1739). Henry and Thomas Jr. were two of Thomas Mudd’s (1647-1697) children. He had three wives, but both Thomas Jr. and Henry were born to Sarah (Boarman) Matthews. Thomas Mudd immigrated to America from Austria circa 1665. He is believed to be the first Mudd to have arrived in America, though it is possible that he also came with two of his brothers.

Mudd tree

Dr. Mudd can no longer do his own writing, so we confess that we answer his mail on his behalf.This post was originally written by Nancy M. Shader (2003) and Christopher Shannon (2007) for our old website. It has been revised and illustrated here by Spencer Shen ’16 as part of our launch of our new website

Can Nathaniel FitzRandolph’s Descendants Attend Princeton University for Free?

Q. Dear Mr. Mudd,

I read that Nathaniel FitzRandolph’s descendants get free tuition at Princeton University. Is this true?

A. According to legend, an agreement between Nathaniel FitzRandolph and the College of New Jersey (as Princeton was then known) was made in 1753. In exchange for donating the land on which Nassau Hall now resides, the College agreed to pay tuition for all of his descendants to attend the institution. We have bad news for today’s FitzRandolphs, though: No such provision was incorporated into the deed of gift.

FitzRandolph_Inscription_AC126_Box_21

Inscription on the FitzRandolph Gateway. Princeton Alumni Weekly Photograph Collection (AC126), Box 21.

Continue reading

African Americans and Princeton University

Dear Mr. Mudd:

Q. What information do you have about African Americans and Princeton University?

A. Until the twentieth century, Princeton’s history has mostly been dominated by white men, typically from prosperous backgrounds. Though decidedly pro-Union during the Civil War, the campus had strong Southern influences, and its reputation as the “northernmost university town of the [segregated] south” was not undeserved. Yet that is not to say that Princeton’s story can only be told in terms of its loudest voices. Here, we give a brief overview of some of the ways African Americans fit into Princeton’s past.

Cheerleaders_1995_AC112_SP9_No.2484

Princeton University cheerleaders, 1995. Historical Photograph Collection, Campus Life Series (AC112), Box SP9, Image No. 2484.

Continue reading

Eating Clubs and “The Street”

Dear Mr. Mudd:

Q. What are “eating clubs”? Did F. Scott Fitzgerald make them up? What is “The Street”?

A. Princeton alumnus F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel This Side of Paradise (1920) gave the world a glimpse into the exclusive social enclaves known as the Princeton eating clubs through the eyes of fictional student Amory Blaine. According to Blaine, each club had a different character and social standing on the campus. “The upper-class clubs, concerning which he had pumped a reluctant graduate during the previous summer, excited his curiosity: Ivy, detached and breathlessly aristocratic; Cottage, an impressive melange of brilliant adventurers and well-dressed philanderers; Tiger Inn, broad-shouldered and athletic, vitalized by an honest elaboration of prep-school standards; Cap and Gown; flamboyant Colonial; Literary Quadrangle, and the dozen others, varying in age and positions.” While today’s clubs may now have different reputations, various stereotypes continue to surround them.

Couples_on_bikes_Patton_EC_1946_AC112_BoxMP154_Item_4237

Couples at a Patton Club party, 1946. Historical Photograph Collection, Campus Life Series (AC112), Box 154, Image No. 4237.

Continue reading

The Rittenhouse Orrery

Dear Mr. Mudd:

Q: What is an orrery, and how did Princeton University come to own one? How was it damaged in the Battle of Princeton?

Repaired_Orrery_1954_AC112_Box_MP10

Rittenhouse Orrery on display in Firestone Library, 1954, Historical Photograph Collection, Campus Life Series (AC112), Box MP10.

A: An orrery is a mechanical model of the solar system. Orreries were regarded as essential teaching equipment for 18th-century lectures on “natural philosophy” (the physical sciences). Although invented ca. 1700 by George Graham, they have been called orreries because English instrument maker John Rowley named a copy he made of Graham’s machine “The Orrery” in honor of Charles Boyle, Earl of Orrery.

Rittenhouse_designing_Orrery_AC123_Box_302

Gillett G. Griffin, pen and ink drawing of David Rittenhouse designing his orrery, University Library Records (AC123), Box 302. Griffin was Princeton’s Curator of Graphic Arts 1952-1966.

David Rittenhouse, a Pennsylvania clockmaker, self-taught astronomer, and later the first director of the U.S. Mint, designed and built the College of New Jersey’s orrery (now Princeton University). In 1771, College President John Witherspoon purchased it from Rittenhouse for approximately £220 and installed it in Nassau Hall. The orrery instantly became the College’s most valuable asset. Rittenhouse’s original plans for the orrery included a central panel of four square feet showing the planets revolving around the Sun, and two smaller panels, one focused on Jupiter and Saturn, and the other on the Earth and the Moon, but all that remains today is the central panel, after damages during the military occupation of Nassau Hall in 1776-1777. A more complete example of a Rittenhouse Orrery has been preserved at the University of Pennsylvania Library.

Rittenhouse_shows_Orrery_to_Witherspoon_AC123_Box_302

Gillett G. Griffin, pen and ink drawing of David Rittenhouse showing his orrery to Princeton president John Witherspoon, University Library Records (AC123), Box 302.

Continue reading

Which came first? The Tiger or his stripes?

Dear Mr. Mudd,

What is the origin of the Princeton Tiger? Which came first the tiger or his stripes?

TigerHead

In 1992 the Office of Communications produced a photo essay concerning this very topic! The answer is that Princeton adopted the stripes long before the actual tiger!

Here is an excerpt from that essay:

On October 12, 1868, the faculty of the College of New Jersey  (later to be called Princeton University) passed a resolution permitting students “to adopt and wear as the college badge an orange colored Ribbon bearing upon it the word Princeton,” thus simultaneously keeping alive the college’s historical association with the Royal Dutch House of Orange while publicizing the unofficial college name, Princeton.

But even earlier—June of 1867—Princeton baseball players wore orange ribbons with black writing (’69 B.B.C.) at their match with Yale. At a Sarasota regatta in 1874, members of the freshman crew wore hatbands of black and orange silk ribbons. And for its 1876 football game with Yale, Princeton’s team proudly wore black jerseys with an orange P on the chest. 

During the celebration of Princeton’s sesquicentennial in 1896, the trustees not only changed the college’s name to Princeton University but also adopted orange and black as the official colors for academic gowns. The design reflects the tiger’s colors though not its many stripes; yet, undoubtedly a tiger’s heart beats beneath these conservative robes. For several years college cheers had contained the rallying cry of “tiger,” and orange and black were growing in use as the school colors Sportswriters of the day started to call the players “tigers.” The tiger and its colors began to appear in college songs, student publications, and even the name of an eating club. Then they showed up carved in stone, beginning most conspicuously with the large tigers placed atop the gateposts between Little and Blair halls in 1902. Very permanent tigers were cropping up on buildings all over campus.

By 1911 the tiger had become so firmly established as the University mascot that the Class of 1879 replaced the pair of lions that had flanked the doorway of Nassau Hall… with the regal tigers that still guard the entrance, acknowledging the tiger as a unifying decorative element on campus.

Lions at the entrance to Nassau Hall - Historical Photograph Collection, Grounds and Buildings, Box MP81 Image 3306

Lions at the entrance to Nassau Hall – Historical Photograph Collection, Grounds and Buildings, Box MP81 Image 3306

Tiger enthusiasm reached new heights in 1923 when the father of Albert Red Howard ’25 captured a young Bengal tiger while on an expedition to India and sent it to Princeton as a mascot. In the end, the combination of community anxiety and the cost of care led to the tiger’s ultimate transfer to a New Jersey zoo, but it was not the last live tiger to saunter through the Princeton campus.

Since the 1940s, a less-alarming live tiger has appeared regularly at Princeton football and basketball games or at least an anthropomorphized one. Dressed in forty pounds of faux fur, flowing tail, and padded paws, countless Princeton students have donned the tiger suit to entertain sports crowds and socialize at various events. In 1973 a few years after women were first admitted to the University, a tigress accompanied the well-known male mascot for the first time, distinguished by orange bows on her head and tail. Today, with the novelty of coeducation long past, there is only one tiger that entertains children, rallies school spirit, and gets chased by members of the opposing team’s school. In the end, one tiger is symbolically fitting: one tiger for one Princeton.

Tigers at Nassau Hall 1911 - AC111 Box MP71

Tigers at Nassau Hall 1911 – AC111 Box MP71

The University Archives has a plethora of images, documents and tiger references. In the Historical Subject Files, Box 393, one can find an article by the former Keeper of Princetoniana, Frederic Fox ’39.

Within this article Fox notes that the “Tiger did not come to Princeton easily.” Officially the tiger’s entrance came about due to members of the Class of 1879, though originally those classmates of Woodrow Wilson preferred lions. In 1889, their 10th reunion, they gave the University a pair of lions because it was the emblem of the royal house of Orange-Nassau.

These two lions flanked the entrance to Nassau Hall and were attributed to the French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, the designer of the Statue of Liberty. However, in the 1990s it was determined that they were produced by the now-defunct J. L. Mott Ironworks, a company that sold zinc statuary and bathroom fixtures through catalogs. The lions stood guard at Nassau Hall from 1889 to until they were removed in 1911. The current tigers by the artist A.P. Proctor were presented to the university by the Class of 1879 in 1911, with the lions moved to the steps of 1879 Hall, where they stood for about 60 years before moving into storage. They were re-discovered in 1998 in the basement of Palmer Hall, restored and placed back in public view (see final article in link). Today the they can be seen on the steps heading from Goheen Walk to Wilcox Hall.

PU museum lions

Here at the archives we have a copy of the Proctor tiger that guards our card catalog in the public area.

Tiger Miniature

 

We also have this furry unofficial Tiger friend to greet you at the front desk, courtesy of our former employee, Matt Reeder!

Furry Tiger

Related Sources

Historical Photograph Collection, Campus Life Series, circa 1850-1996

Historical Photograph Collection, Grounds and Buildings Series, circa 1850-1980

Historical Subject Files Collection, 1746-2005

Leitch, Alexander. A Princeton Companion, (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1978). Also available online.

Oversize Collection

Princeton Alumni Weekly Photograph Collection, c. 1968- c. 1991

Princeton Memorabilia Collection, c. 1782-2000

Princeton Music Collection, 1849-1982

Princetoniana Committee: Campus Traditions, History, and Lore sections on The Tiger.

Smagorinsky, Margaret. The Regalia of Princeton University: Pomp, Circumstance, and Accoutrements of Academia. (Princeton, New Jersey: Office of Communications and Publications, Princeton University, c. 1994).

Tiger Magazine

“Tigers prowl around the Princeton campus.” Web story and photo essay.

View more photos from the Historical Photograph Collection: Grounds and Buildings Series online here.

Princeton Alumni Weekly article, February 8th 2012, Why Tigers?

For more about tigers on campus see this article.

Excerpts from this post have been adapted from the FAQ written by Susan Hamson (2003)

 

Is or was there a Princeton Law School? Not really!

A question that is frequently asked of us here at the archives is whether or not there was ever a “Law School.” The answer to that is, not really!

gavelandlawbooks

Initial attempts to create a law school at the College of New Jersey (as Princeton University was then known) were unsuccessful. The College trustees appointed a committee to hire a law professor in 1824, but the first two choices (Richard Stockton ‘1779 and John Van Cleve ‘1797) both died before they could begin classes. In 1835 James Kent declined to take the position offered, as did Justice Smith Thompson, Theodore Frelinghuysen, and retired governor Samuel L. Southard ‘1804 in 1839.

After these unsuccessful attempts, the College finally established a law school in 1846. The school boasted three prominent professors, James S. Green, a U.S. attorney; Richard Stockton Field ‘1821, the New Jersey Attorney General; and Joseph C. Hornblower, the retired Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court. Field built the law school building at his own expense on a piece of his family’s land and named it Ivy Hall. The building, now maintained by Trinity Episcopal Church, still stands in Princeton at its original location on Mercer Street facing Alexander Road .

The law school was largely independent from the College. The College could not afford to contribute any funding to the law school, and it did not intervene in curriculum or degree decisions. None of the law faculty ever attended even a single faculty meeting at the College. Law students were allowed, however, to attend chapel and lectures at the College and use its library.

The professors designed the program to be completed in three years, although it could be finished in two. On the recommendation of the law faculty, the College awarded a bachelor of laws degree to students who had completed the program. Seven law students graduated before instruction at the law school was discontinued, due to lack of funds, in 1852. The school officially closed in 1855.

In 1871 the trustees instructed the business committee to look into reviving the law school, but the issue did not receive serious attention. In 1890 President Francis Landey Patton remarked to a gathering of alumni, “We have Princeton philosophy, Princeton theology, but we have to go to Harvard and Columbia for our law. Gentlemen, that is a shame. Just as soon as I find a man with a half a million, I am going to found a law school.” Nothing came of this pronouncement either, probably because a man with half a million never showed up. Patton’s successor, Woodrow Wilson (who was elevated to the presidency from his position as professor of jurisprudence), also wanted to start a law school, but was too busy battling faculty, trustees, and alumni over the graduate school and the residential college plan to concentrate on forming a new school.

World War I clouded hopes of acquiring a law school in New York City in 1918, but a proposal to create a law school was seriously considered from 1923 to 1925. However, in 1926 the idea was abandoned in order to conserve funds. Professor John Dickinson’s proposal for a law school in 1929 received little attention. On the recommendation of President William G. Bowen in 1974, the trustees appointed a committee to determine the resources necessary to establish a law school. The president and the trustees decided, after the committee issued its report, that Princeton ought to focus on maintaining the quality of its current programs instead of adding new ones during that time of fiscal insecurity.


Related Sources

Board of Trustees Minutes and Records, 1746-Present. Entries on the following dates, at least, contain references to creating a law school: June 26, 1871; January 23, 1897; December 14, 1899; October 24, 1918; April 12, 1923; April 11, 1929; and September 1974 (restricted until 2024).

Catalogue of the Officers and Students of the College of New Jersey (Princeton, New Jersey: John T. Robinson, printer). Volumes for the years 1846-1847 to 1854-1855 contain the names of the law professors, students, and a description of the program.

Historical Subject Files Collection, 1746-2005

Leitch, Alexander. A Princeton Companion. (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1976). Also available online.

Link, Arthur S., ed. The Papers of Woodrow Wilson. (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press). Vol. 7, 1969. Pages 63-68 discuss Princeton University President Francis Patton’s and Woodrow Wilson’s attempts at establishing a law school.

Office of the Dean of the College Records, 1919-2001

Office of the President: William G. Bowen Subgroup, 1940-1998

Office of the Provost, 1953-1996

Office of the Secretary Records, 1852-2001

Princeton Alumni Weekly. Entries on the following dates, at least, contain references to the topic of a law school: November 26, 1974; March 11, 1975; and December 8, 1975.

Waller, Amelia Carpenter. “Princeton for the Nation’s Service”: The Debate Over Legal Education at Princeton.Waller’s senior thesis (110 pages) was submitted to the History Department of Princeton University in 1979. This thesis can be viewed on request at the Mudd Manuscript Library and can also be found in the “Law School” files of the Historical Subject Files. For information on how to request a photocopy of this thesis please click here.

Wertenbacher, Thomas Jefferson. Princeton : 1748-1896 (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1946). Pages 229-232 and 377-378.

Note: This post, authored by Matthew Reeder, was previously on the Mudd Manuscript Library’s FAQ website and has been moved to our blog as part of our website upgrade.