This Week in Princeton History for February 12-18

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, debates over fallout shelters are taking place, Henry Fairfax makes his last deliveries, and more.

February 12, 1962—The Fallout Shelter Committee presents its recommendations to Princeton University president Robert Goheen, provoking debate over the school’s responsibilities to local residents and visitors in the event of a nuclear attack.

Map of fallout shelters at Princeton University, ca. 1962. (Click to enlarge.) Office of Physical Planning Records (AC154), Box 32.

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This Week in Princeton History for February 5-11

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the library makes a significant change in how it catalogs books, the Board of Trustees is divided over a hiring decision, and more.

February 5, 1976—University Librarian Richard Boss announces that new materials will use the Library of Congress classification system rather than the Richardson system unique to Princeton, originally developed in the 1890s by Boss’s predecessor, Ernest Cushing Richardson. Richardson felt that the Dewey classification system was inappropriate for a research library. However, in the open stacks, books with Richardson numbers would not be completely phased out until 2011.

An employee shelves books in the Princeton University Library, ca. 1970s. The call numbers here are all Richardson numbers. (Click to enlarge.) Historical Photograph Collection, Campus Life Series (AC112), Box MP06, Image No. 132.

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This Week in Princeton History for January 29-February 4

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the death of a member of the Class of 1919 sparks national debate, the chess club organizes, and more.

January 29, 1975—Alum Henry Pitney van Dusen (Class of 1919) enters into a suicide pact with his wife. Their deaths will spark nationwide debate over euthanasia.

January 30, 1997—Sarina Sassoon ’00 appears on the Late Show with David Letterman, where she discusses Princeton’s mascot and her future plans, holds cue cards, and operates a camera.

Sarina Sassoon ’00. Photo from 2000 Nassau Herald.

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This Week in Princeton History for January 22-28

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the Board of Trustees decides to move the institution from Newark to Princeton, a donor’s bequest causes controversy, and more.

January 22, 1773—Between 3:00 and 4:00AM, students wake up and help put out a house fire nearby. “The students upon this occasion behaved with a becoming boldness which does them honour,” the Pennsylvania Packet will report.

January 23, 1871—In a controversial lecture, College of New Jersey (Princeton) president James McCosh asserts that Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution is consistent with Christianity.

James McCosh, ca. 1870s. Historical Photograph Collection, Individuals Series (AC067), Box AD13.

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This Week in Princeton History for January 15-21

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, students and guests attend the first art lecture, the Board of Trustees ends gender-based admissions quotas, and more.

January 15, 1877—Professor Edward Delano Lindsey gives the first lecture of a course in Art in the newly established Department of Art and Archaeology. The Nassau Literary Magazine observes, “Even the ladies were represented and proved by their attention and expressive countenances their appreciation of both lecturer and subject.”

January 16, 1813—Students successfully petition the faculty “to be allowed this day as a holy day [sic], for the purpose of spending it in the amusement of sleighing.”

January 19, 1974—The Board of Trustees votes to end an admissions policy that enforces quotas on the number of women who may be admitted to Princeton University, a policy originally intended to prevent a decline in the number of men admitted after the advent of coeducation.

This photo of a Princeton University classroom ca. 1975 was labeled “Coed classroom.” If you look closely, you will find a woman in this class (out of focus toward the left). Though Princeton began admitting women to all degree programs in 1969, it was some time before it felt fully coeducational to students, in part due to quotas that kept the ratio of men to women high. Historical Photograph Collection, Campus Life Series (AC112), Box MP150, Image No. 4013.

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This Week in Princeton History for January 8-14

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a graduate becomes governor of Georgia, the first gymnasium opens, and more.

January 8, 1999—Six cases of alcohol poisoning and other incidents attendant to the event will lead University President Harold Shapiro to ban the Nude Olympics, which occur for the last time at Princeton on this night.

Daily Princetonian cartoon depicting press attention at the Nude Olympics, 1991. For more about the history of this event and why it no longer occurs, please see our previous blog.

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This Week in Princeton History for January 1-7

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, Baker Memorial Rink opens, the status of graduate alumni is in dispute, and more.

January 1, 1891—Students gather to ring in the new year, but become so absorbed in their recreational activities that they mostly fail to notice that midnight has come and gone. Undeterred from their original plan, they march through town in the early hours of the morning and wake residents with loud singing and horn blasts.

January 3, 1777—George Washington and the Continental Army defeat the British at the Battle of Princeton.

Princeton long celebrated Washington’s birthday as a major holiday. Programs for the day’s events like this one from 1897 usually commemorated his 1777 victory on the Princeton campus. Washington’s Birthday Records (AC200).

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This Week in Princeton University History for December 25-31

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a chaplain tries to negotiate the release of hostages in Iran, the New York Times announces a new partnership, and more.

December 25, 1980—John T. Walsh, Princeton University’s Southern Baptist chaplain, meets with Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini to discuss the release of American hostages.

Photo from the Daily Princetonian.

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This Week in Princeton History for December 18-24

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a newspaper’s editorial cartoon satirizes the contrast between the presidential leadership of John Maclean and James McCosh, a Princetonian becomes Senate Majority Leader, and more.

December 18, 1772—John Witherspoon writes to the New York Gazette to defend himself against charges that by praising the College of New Jersey (Princeton) he is denigrating the College of New York (most likely this refers to King’s College, which will later be renamed Columbia University). “There are many real Advantages attending a College in a large City, for the Instruction and Improvement of Youth. Should any Gentleman think fit to recommend the College of New-York, on these Accounts, pray how would it be taken if I should resent it as an Injury to the College of New-Jersey?”

December 22, 1875—The Daily Graphic runs a front-page editorial cartoon depicting the faculty of the College of New Jersey (Princeton) as the frogs, former president John Maclean as the Log King, and current president John McCosh as the Stork King in Aesop’s fable, “The Frogs who Desired a King.” Three student fraternities waving signs in the background reference recent controversies over secret societies at Princeton.

Cartoon from Daily Graphic, December 22, 1875. Click to enlarge.

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This Week in Princeton History for December 11-17

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, an atomic bomb survivor speaks on campus, a numismatist gives a lecture to women in town about an archaeological dig, and more.

December 11, 1995—Hiroshima bombing survivor Michiko Yamaoka tells an audience in a crowded McCormick 101 about her experience with the world’s first nuclear attack and its aftermath and why she believes the weapons must never be used. Saying her hatred for the United States and Japan for going to war has been replaced by a hatred for war itself, she instead urges communication. “I realized how important it was to meet people across boundaries that had separated us, to have a meeting of the hearts.”

Melted roof tile from Hiroshima University. Atomic-Bombed Roof Tiles from Hiroshima University (AC408), Box 1. To read more about the impact of the blast in Hirsohima, see our previous blog post. To learn more about Princeton University’s involvement in the development of the atomic bomb, visit our current exhibition on display through June 2018.

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