This Week in Princeton History for October 26-November 1

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the Cane Spree inspires a songwriter, Buddhists chant in Alexander Hall, and more.

October 27, 1868—The freshman defeat of the sophomores in the cane spree inspires the song “Siege of Canes.”

A selection of carved canes carried by students at Princeton in the mid-to-late 19th century. Photo by April C. Armstrong. Memorabilia Collection (AC053), Box Z13.

October 28, 1998—Bob Smiley ’99 appears on Party of Five.

October 29, 1829—A resident writes to the Philadelphia National Gazette to praise the “Salubrity of Princeton, N.J.”: “but two students belonging to the college have died from this institution. One of these was of consumption, brought with him–the other of a fever, the consequence of a severe cold. No epidemic has ever prevailed in this place except the dysentery on one or two occasions–but without causing the death of a single member of the college.”

October 30, 1969—The leader of Nichiren Shoshu of America, a Buddhist sect of Japanese origins, offers a chanting seminar in Alexander Hall.

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This Week in Princeton History for October 19-25

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, two members of the Class of 1979 are running against each other for Congress, the first director of the Program in Women’s Studies is named, and more.

October 19, 1900—Topeka’s Colored Citizen reports that Richard Spaulding, said to be a graduate student at Princeton University, was denied naturalization in a Trenton court on October 16. Spaulding is a native of Dutch Guiana and a graduate of Howard University. “The papers were refused on the ground that the federal laws permit the naturalization of white males only.” Spaulding plans to appeal.

October 20, 1994—Two members of the Princeton University Class of 1979 who also attended secondary school together are running against each other in the Congressional election for Maryland’s second district.

October 23, 1981—The Board of Trustees approves the appointment of Kay B. Warren *74 as the first director of the Program in Women’s Studies.

Pamphlet for Princeton University’s Program in Women’s Studies, ca. 1980s. Historical Subject Files (AC109), Box 51, Folder 15.

October 25, 1911—J. Madison Taylor, Class of 1876, urges fellow Princetonians to boycott any product that advertises using signs. “It would be a delight for the old grads who spin by in the train to gaze once more on the two-mile distant towers and halls of their beloved Alma Mater, freed from Walpurgis Night visions of soaps, soups, sauces and scents.”

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This Week in Princeton History for October 12-18

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a rally mourns the death of Matthew Shepard, controversy surrounds an advertisement in the Daily Princetonian, and more.

October 13, 1998—About 100 Princeton University students rally to mourn the loss of Matthew Shepard, a student at the University of Wyoming who was tortured and murdered in an anti-gay hate crime. Caroline Baker ’02, co-president of Princeton’s Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Alliance, says she is particularly affected by Shepard’s death because he “had just been doing what we had been doing—planning the LGB awareness week.”

Clipping from the Daily Princetonian. Caption reads: “Students sing at the candlelight vigil held Monday night in memory of hate-crime victim Matthew Shepard, who died earlier that day.”

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This Week in Princeton History for October 5-11

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, women gather to discuss sexism on campus, a new kind of roof is being installed for Nassau Hall, and more.

October 5, 1978—Female students and staff hold an exclusive meeting to discuss sexism on campus. Barring men from the meeting is controversial, but the women say this is necessary, “because a lot of women feel uncomfortable saying things in front of men that they wouldn’t feel uncomfortable saying in front of women.” At the meeting, women complain about inadequate medical care, discriminatory employment practices, and professors who penalize female students for refusing their sexual advances.

Marsha Rosenthal ’76 collected a variety of material on women’s issues while she was a student at Princeton University. This pamphlet, published by Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood in 1973, is among the reading material apparently available to Princetonians in the 1970s and is evidence of the concerns of the community.  Marsha Rosenthal Course Materials and Student Activism Materials (AC409), Box 2.

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This Week in Princeton History for September 28-October 4

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a crisis delays dorm heating, a yellow fever epidemic has interrupted campus operations, and more.

September 28, 1819—A visitor to Princeton’s Junior Orations observes that during one of the student speeches, the audience was in tears. The student spoke of the eloquence of the recently deceased college president, Samuel Stanhope Smith.

September 30, 1976—Due to the energy crisis, the University announces that it will not turn on heat in the dorms until October 11, despite overnight temperatures below 50 degrees.

Students could be seen bundling up indoors in the mid-1970s. Photo from 1978 Bric-a-Brac.

October 1, 1767—Robert Ogden brings a sample fire bucket to the Board of Trustees for consideration. They authorize the purchase of 60 of the buckets at a total cost of £36.

October 4, 1793—Boston’s American Apollo updates readers on the situation in Princeton: “According to reports from the Jersies, the students have quitted the college at Princeton, through an apprehension of the yellow fever spreading to that place. It is added, that the commencement, which is held annually on the last Wednesday in September, is postponed.”

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This Week in Princeton History for September 21-27

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, violence erupts at Commencement over politics, a student pitches the first known curve ball, and more.

September 23, 1947—A controversial chain letter begins sweeping the campus.

September 25, 1827—Princeton’s Commencement turns violent. Savannah’s Daily Georgian will report: “A vast crowd of citizens and strangers assembled, among whom was Samuel L. Southward Esq., Secretary of the U. States Navy, who is now on a visit to his friends in this state. … Although in general good order was observed, yet it is to be regretted that a number of acts of violence were committed; several blows passed between different parties of combatants; some were knocked down, and some, otherwise injured. The presidential question in some roused the parties and pushed them forward to pugilistic strife.”

September 26, 1863—In a game against the Philadelphia Athletics, Princeton’s Joseph P. Henry ’66 pitches what is claimed to be the first curve ball. The New York Clipper attributes Princeton’s 29-to-13 victory to this innovation: “In this match slow pitching with a great twist to the ball achieved a victory over swift pitching.”

Princeton’s 1863-1864 baseball team, officially known as the “Nassau Club” but better known on campus as the “Princeton Nine.” Historical Photograph Collection (AC112), Box LP26, Image No. 1978.

September 27, 1886—A letter to the editor of the Princetonian expresses concern about leaflets advertising board for students in town at a lower cost than can be offered through eating clubs potentially undermining the ability of some students to provide for themselves.

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This Week in Princeton History for September 14-20

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, John Maclean defends the expulsion of students, Quadrangle Club opens, and more.

September 15, 1870—James McCosh interrupts a brawl between sophomores and freshmen on Nassau Street over canes with a shout of, “Disperse, young men, or the bailiffs will be after you.”

September 16, 1861—John Maclean writes to the editor of the New York Evening Post to explain the unpopular decision to expel some students from Princeton for attacking another student who had expressed sympathy for the Confederacy: The faculty “will not permit the utterance of sentiments denunciatory of those who are engaged in efforts to maintain the integrity of the national government; nor will they allow of any public expression of sympathy with those who are endeavoring to destroy the government,” but “it must be evident that the Faculty could not permit his fellow-students to take the law in their own hands…”

Pencil drawing of the parade local residents gave for the three students dismissed in the “Pumping Incident,” September 1861. Pyne-Henry Collection (AC125), Box 1, Folder 18.

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This Week in Princeton History for September 7-13

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, Mudd Library opens, Virginia sends the college a map, and more.

September 7, 1976—Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library opens for research.

Architect’s rendering of plans for Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, 1974. Office of Communications Records (AC168), Box 160.

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This Week in Princeton History for August 31-September 6

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, alumnae celebrate the completion of a cross-country fundraising bike ride with a dip in the Fountain of Freedom, an invoice is paid for Nassau Hall’s weather vane, and more.

August 31, 1989—A champagne reception at the Princeton Public Library greets five Princeton University alumnae who bicycled across the country as a fundraiser for the Literacy Volunteers of America and Princeton’s women’s field hockey and lacrosse teams. After the reception, the women jump into the Fountain of Freedom near Robertson Hall. Altogether, they have raised more than $25,000.

September 1, 1941—After months of negotiations, Classics professor Shirley H. Weber and his wife arrive in Princeton, having left Athens about five weeks ago. He brings information about how the Greeks have been weathering the Axis occupation: “The Greek people wait and hope with a religious fervor for the ultimate victory of the British.”

Nassau Hall, 1860. Historical Photograph Collection, Grounds and Buildings Series (AC111), Box MP66, Image No. 2629.

September 2, 1856—Charles S. Olden, Treasurer of the College of New Jersey, pays an invoice from Bottom and Tiffany for $1,270.05 for the installation of a weather vane on the Nassau Hall cupola.

September 4, 1931—The Princeton Herald reports that the Great Depression is beginning to cause hardships for Princeton University students, quoting Student Employment manager Richard W. Warfield ’30: “the problem will be serious during the coming academic year…Undergraduate budgets which were not reduced at all last year will be cut this year and a great many more men will be forced to help support themselves.”

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Fact check: We always strive for accuracy, but if you believe you see an error, please contact us.

This Week in Princeton History for August 24-30

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, employees become eligible for Social Security benefits for the first time, Town Topics honors George Kennan ’25, and more.

August 26, 1913—William Howard Taft writes to accept an invitation to speak at the dedication of the Graduate College’s Cleveland Tower.

Cleveland Tower, ca. 1915. Historical Postcard Collection (AC045), Box 1.

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