With the 2016 U.S. Presidential Elections just around the corner, we’ve been having fun answering the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration’s #ElectionCollection challenges on Twitter. The timing also seemed right to put some of our elections-related memorabilia on display here at Mudd. Our lobby exhibit case now holds a variety of elections-related materials from diverse collections in the Princeton University Archives and the Public Policy Papers, with a date range spanning nearly a century from William McKinley’s 1896 campaign to Bill Clinton’s in 1992.
When we launched our Tumblr page in January 2015, we filled it with a variety of content on the history of Princeton University, but it didn’t take long for us to discover that one alumnus in particular consistently received a lot of attention on the platform: James Maitland Stewart ’32. In honor of this, we currently have an exhibit case in our lobby dedicated to Stewart’s long-term connection to Princeton: “‘This Is More Than a School’: James M. Stewart 32’s Princeton.”
Jimmy Stewart, the son of Alexander “Eck” Stewart of the Class of 1898, wrote on his 1928 application to Princeton that he chose it due to family connections and his belief that Princeton “is by far the best equipped to give me a broad, profitable education, provided that I apply myself diligently to the work.” His dreams of becoming a civil engineer, however, were short-lived. Diligent work proved a challenge in the face of tempting recreational activities. He later told Princeton Living, “College algebra was like a death blow to me.” He did especially poorly in a Shakespeare course and “did not survive Spanish.” Unable to keep up in his classes, Stewart was forced to attend summer school to avoid flunking out. At the end of Stewart’s freshman year, his math professor told him, “You’d better think very seriously about being something else [other than a civil engineer], or you’ll be in deep trouble.”
Princeton University’s radio station, WPRB, has for the most part been a frenetic hodgepodge where Beethoven plays alongside The Ramones and sports broadcasts back to back with national news. However, the radio station has also been the space where new bands get airplay, campus history is made, and revolutionary ideas are expressed without restraint. For 75 years, WPRB has facilitated creative and intellectual pursuits by serving as the delightful petri dish for the students that spin its turntables.
In celebration of its 75th anniversary, the exhibition “WPRB: A Haven for the Creative Impulse” showcases the impact of the college radio station on the Princeton campus and the entire nation.
In 2012, Hiroshima University gave Princeton University seven roof tiles that were damaged during the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The details of the gift can be found here. Three years later, the tiles have been brought out into our lobby display case to mark the 70th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb.
The scorched roof tiles are not the only items in the Mudd Manuscript Library that tell the story of the atomic bomb. Both the University Archives and the Public Policy Papers contain documents that detail the creation of the bomb and the attempts to reconcile the implications of its use. Continue reading
Written by Rossy Mendez
The Vietnam War was one of America’s longest and most controversial wars. Suits, Soldiers, and Hippies: The Vietnam War Abroad and at Princeton is a new exhibition at Princeton University’s Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library that highlights the major events of the war such as the Gulf of Tonkin incident, the Tet Offensive, and the invasion of Cambodia, and focuses on how these events affected government policy and American society at large. More than a mere narrative of events, the exhibition reveals the perspectives of the individuals involved in the war including policy makers, soldiers, and every day citizens.
The documents and objects in the exhibition are drawn from the Public Policy Papers and the University Archives at the Mudd Manuscript Library and range from transcripts of the private conversations of presidents and policy-makers to widely-distributed magazine articles and pamphlets. At the national scale, the records demonstrate that the war affected not only those who were fighting in the jungles and swamplands of the Mekong Delta but also those living on the home front. The range of objects takes us from the Oval Office to lively protests on America’s campuses.
On the local scale, the exhibition, Suits, Soldiers, and Hippies provides insight into the reaction of the Princeton University community. Photographs and letters among other documents highlight campus events such as the SDS occupation of the IDA, the Princeton Strike, and the 1970 commencement ceremony, and reveal how the war sparked unrest but also fostered collaboration between the administration and the student body that induced change at both the institutional and national level.
Suits, Soldiers, and Hippies: The Vietnam War Abroad and at Princeton is free and open to the public in the Wiess Lounge at the Mudd Manuscript Library, 65 Olden Street, until June 5, 2015. The exhibition is open from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Monday through Friday.
For more information, call 609-258-6345 or email Mudd Library.
Written by Elizabeth Bennett
1914: War Breaks Out in Europe!
We are pleased to announce the availability of a large digital collection of pamphlets documenting World War I in Europe. These pamphlets were collected by the Princeton University Library starting from the outbreak of the war, as part of a larger European War Collection, and later renamed the Western European Theater Political Pamphlet Collection. They cover a broad range of topics including the economy, the press, the military, arms, territorial disputes, and others. The collection also includes speeches, sermons, bulletins, calendars, and songbooks. It is a multi-lingual collection with material in English, German, French, Italian, Russian, and other languages and reflects the views of people on all sides of the war.
Have you ever wondered what our researchers are up to in the reading room? Many of them are working fervently towards producing highly esteemed, ground-breaking, and sometimes award-winning books.
This entry features a sample of recent publications, each developed through extensive research at the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library. Drawing from material found in the Princeton University Archives, as well as the Public Policy Papers, these works demonstrate the varied research potential of the collections housed in our library. (All descriptions from Amazon.com.)
In Ebony and Ivy, Craig Steven Wilder, a rising star in the profession of history, lays bare uncomfortable truths about race, slavery, and the American academy.
From Pulitzer Prize–winning, #1 New York Times–bestselling author A. Scott Berg comes the definitive—and revelatory—biography of one of the great American figures of modern times.
Three decades in the making, the definitive, authorized biography of one of Cold War America’s most prominent and most troubled grand strategists.
Neither a straightforward architectural history nor a simple guidebook, it weaves social history and the built fabric into a biography of a great American place.
These books are also on display in the lobby case at the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library.
by: Amanda Pike
A new exhibition that opens at the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library on Sept. 16, 2013, chronicles the events and decisions framing the development of America’s first graduate residential college.
Marking the 100th anniversary of the opening of Princeton’s Graduate College, “Building the House of Knowledge:” The Graduate College Centennial is filled with letters, documents and photographs from Princeton’s University Archives that reveal the story of how the concept of resident graduate education went from an inspired idea to a grand achievement, but not without significant controversy that brought nationwide attention to Princeton.
Beginning with the desire for a residential graduate program expressed at Princeton’s Sesquicentennial celebrations, the exhibition reveals the initial agreement of University President Woodrow Wilson and Dean of the Graduate School Andrew Fleming West on the plans for building the Graduate College. Early on, however, disagreements over the use of endowment funding and an appropriate location for the new Graduate College led to battle lines being drawn—with faculty and trustees viewed as being on either Dean West’s or President Wilson’s side. Reports and letters from West, Wilson, and eminent trustees such as Moses Taylor Pyne and former U.S. President Grover Cleveland reveal elements of the dissension developing at the administrative level. Letters from significant Graduate College benefactor and alumnus William C. Procter, Class of 1883 and of Procter and Gamble fame, show how directed endowment bequests played a role in the controversy. These letters and reports focus on how endowment funding and bequests and the choice of a site for the residential building contributed to the heated debate, and possibly influenced the resignation of President Wilson.
Photographs from the archives detail some of the architectural plans and ultimate construction of the Graduate College 17 years after the vision of resident graduate education was first presented. A final case shows photographs of later additions to the original Graduate College in the 1920s and 1960s as increased enrollment pressures necessitated adding rooms to the venerable structure originally built in 1913.
“Building the House of Knowledge:” The Graduate College Centennial is free and open to the public in the Wiess Lounge at the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, 65 Olden Street, until June 6, 2014. The exhibition is open from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., Monday through Friday.
by: Sara Griffiths
Civil War exhibition reveals sectional fissures within college and town.
“Your True Friend and Enemy”: Princeton and the Civil War, a new exhibition at Princeton University’s Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, examines life at the college and within the town of Princeton against the backdrop of the War Between the States. Through the eyes of students, faculty, and townspeople—including women and African Americans—the exhibition provides a local view of this watershed event in American history. It opens on September 17, 2012, the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam, after which President Abraham Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.
“Each case features something related to Abraham Lincoln,” said Dan Linke, the head of the Mudd Manuscript Library and one of the four exhibition curators. “We have student accounts of his pre-inaugural speech in Trenton and then his funeral train, as well as an alumnus soldier’s diary noting the assassination. Perhaps the most significant item is the three-page handwritten letter sent by Lincoln to the college president accepting an honorary degree. It is one of the University’s treasured possessions and what a former dean called ‘among the title deeds to our Americanism.’”
Letters and documents drawn from the University Archives at the Mudd Manuscript Library and from other units of the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, as well as the Historical Society of Princeton, demonstrate how sectional differences affected student life and how the bonds of friendship transcended the national conflict. The exhibition also illuminates how Princetonians and the university have commemorated the war and preserved the memory of fallen student and alumni soldiers.
Mudd Library staff members Christie Lutz, Brenda Tindal, and Kristen Turner also curated the exhibition. “This exhibit shows how both local communities—the College of New Jersey and Princeton—grappled with the impact of the Civil War and responded to the crisis in a variety of ways.” said Turner. “The story is more nuanced and complicated than you may remember from your history books.”
“Your True Friend and Enemy”: Princeton and the Civil War is free and open to the public in the Wiess Lounge at the Mudd Manuscript Library, 65 Olden Street, until June 1, 2013. The exhibition is open from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Monday through Friday. An open house will be held at Mudd Library from 10 a.m. until noon on Saturday, October 20, 2012. A behind-the-scenes tour will start at 10:30 a.m.
For more information, call 609-258-6345 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 1912 U.S. presidential election was a turning point for progressivism, both for the nation and for Woodrow Wilson. An exhibition now open at the Princeton University Library illustrates this remarkable election and the life of the man who won it.
Drawn from the University Archives and the Public Policy Collection at the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, the exhibition follows Wilson’s career as scholar, university president, governor of New Jersey, and newly elected president of the United States to tell the story of how his ideas were formed and changed in service of the nation. In addition, the exhibition features rare Wilson memorabilia loaned by Anthony W. Atkiss, a member of Princeton’s class of 1961.
“The Election for Woodrow Wilson’s America” is free and open to the public, and is on display in Firestone Library’s Milberg Gallery now through the end of December 2012.
The 1912 election was a four-way race between a conservative incumbent, William Howard Taft, a socialist, Eugene Debs, and two progressives, former president Theodore Roosevelt and Wilson. Growing concern about the concentration of wealth and influence among the power elite and pressing questions about taxation, the welfare of farmers, banking regulation, and labor rights made it almost inevitable that a progressive candidate would take the White House.
“The exhibition is filled with some exceptional items, including love letters Wilson wrote to his first wife, the complete text of Wilson’s first inaugural address, the top hat he wore while campaigning for the presidency, a good number of original political cartoons from the era, and a tremendous variety of pins, buttons, pennants, and other campaign memorabilia, generously loaned to us by Mr. Atkiss,” said Dan Linke, the head of Mudd Library, who co-curated the exhibition with Maureen Callahan, a project archivist at Mudd.
According to Callahan, Wilson represented the model citizen-scholar that Princeton strove to produce throughout the 20th century. Cosmopolitan, serious, and reformist, he had studied the structures that make political change happen and was willing to leverage his influence to affect them. As Princeton’s president from 1902 to 1910, Wilson transformed the university into a far more scholarly place than it had been when he was a student. Motivated by ambition and a sincere desire to serve, Wilson took on the political party system and local monopolies as governor of New Jersey from 1911 to 1913, and this work helped catapult him to the presidency.
“The Election for Woodrow Wilson’s America” is currently open from 8:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Monday through Friday. Starting Sept. 4, it will be open from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Monday through Friday until Dec. 28, 2012. The exhibition is open from noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays. A curator’s tour of the exhibition will be held Oct. 28, 2012, at 3 p.m.