This Week in Princeton History for February 11-17

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, African American women express their views of campus, police are on the lookout for stolen silverware, and more.

February 11, 1994—A group of students responds to an editorial cartoon with pleas for greater thoughtfulness about the use of imagery and language on campus, saying the cartoon’s portrayal of Cornel West *80 played to a variety of offensive stereotypes. Discussions continue throughout the week.

A follow up set of editorial cartoons from the Daily Princetonian.

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This Week in Princeton History for February 4-10

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, frozen pipes make bathing impossible, the campus celebrates the issuing of a new postage stamp for Chinese New Year, and more.

February 5, 1822—John Maclean, a tutor at the College of New Jersey, catches a student lighting the fuse of a bomb in an entry to Nassau Hall, stomps it out, and saves the building from damage.

February 6, 1919—Russell Conwell, founder of Temple University, gives his infamous “Acres of Diamonds” lecture at Princeton. (The full speech is available online.)

February 8, 1877—Because the gymnasium’s water pipes have frozen, using the campus’s only bathtubs will have to wait until the spring thaw.

Gymnasium at the College of New Jersey (later named Princeton University), ca. 1870s. Historical Photograph Collection, Grounds and Buildings Series (AC111), Box MP47, Image No. 1544.

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This Week in Princeton History for January 28-February 3

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a new professor’s direct contradiction of an established Princeton scholar startles his audience, a gay serviceman’s ad in the Prince provokes discussion, and more.

January 28, 1875—Newly hired Professor of Natural History George Macloskie causes a stir in his first lecture at Princeton when he says Arnold Guyot has been using erroneous models for divisions and classifications in biology.

George Macloskie, ca. 1870s. Historical Photograph Collection, Faculty Photographs Series (AC058), Box FAC63.

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This Week in Princeton History for January 21-27

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, Indiana University’s new song is found to be plagiarized from “The Orange and the Black,” students take the first unproctored final exams, and more.

January 21, 1905—The Princeton Alumni Weekly publishes evidence that Frances Morgan Swain has plagiarized Princeton’s song, “The Orange and the Black,” for Indiana University’s “The Crimson and the White.”

Compare the lyrics to “The Orange and the Black,” as printed in the 1905 edition of the Carmina Princetonia and first copyrighted in 1894 (Princeton Music Collection (AC056), Box 2), to this excerpt from “The Crimson and the White” below:
Although Yale has always favored
The violets dark and blue
And the gentle sons of Harvard
To the crimson rose are true
We will own the modest May flower,
With its colors fair and bright
And pledge our love forever
To the Crimson and the White
Notably, this is not the only such example we’ve seen. Knox College used strikingly similar lyrics in 1902’s “The Purple and the Gold.”

January 23, 2003—Maurice Cohill Jr. ’51 wins a Jefferson Award for his work with the National Center for Juvenile Justice, which he founded.

Maurice Cohill ’51. Photo from the Class of 1951’s 50th reunion book, 2001.

January 24, 1936—A memorial service is held in Princeton University Chapel for King George V of England.

January 26, 1893—At the first exam given under the Honor Code, H. G. Murray observes a change in his classmates: “Upon entering, the difference was at once noticeable and the men instead of taking the back seats as was the custom in those days all rushed to the front of the room. … To my knowledge, this was also the first examination at which men smoked openly and I recall the relief which I experienced from lighting my pipe at that time. The nervous strain was naturally very great but several men handed in papers which they knew could not pass, without the slightest regret.”

This is H. G. Murray’s English Literature exam from January 26, 1893. Historical Subject Files (Ac109), Box 5, Folder 20.

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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

This Week in Princeton History for January 14-20

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a member of the Class of 1801 walks 20 miles round trip to attend a memorial for George Washington, a class is lit with electric lamps, and more.

January, 14, 1800—John Johnston, Class of 1801, walks with other Princeton students to Trenton to hear Samuel Smith’s oration on the life of George Washington. Attendance is so large that many, including the students, have no seats and stand for the three-hour ceremony that includes Smith’s address. “To walk ten miles going and ten miles returning, and to stand on our feet nearly three hours, was not a small day’s labor. It will be believed, that when we reached the college we were excessively fatigued and hungry, for we had no opportunity to get anything to eat during the day.”

Samuel Stanhope Smith’s address at the Trenton memorial for George Washington, January 14, 1800. Office of the President Records (AC117), Box 253.

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This Week in Princeton History for January 7-13

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the Princetonian criticizes the grading system, the Texas governor gives an on-campus club the designation “Texas Embassy in New Jersey,” and more.

January 9, 1975—Princeton students are featured in the NBC documentary special The Changing Role of Women and Men. Architecture majors Lisa F. Lee ’76 and Robert C. Vuyosevich ’76 talk about how academic competition led to the breakup of their romance, which NBC says is one of the consequences of women entering fields previously dominated by men. Lee says she had other ideas, but they “were cut from the show.”

January 10, 1906—James Robb Church (Class of 1888) is awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for deeds of valor in the Spanish American War.

January 11, 1877—The Princetonian editorializes that the grading system needs to change, because ranking students against one another and capping every class average at 85 unfairly penalizes good students. “A class of blockheads would make as good a showing as a class of admirable Crichtons.”

Sample page from the Registrar’s grade book, 1877. Note what appears to be the class ranking in red. Office of the Registrar Records (AC116), Box 15.

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This Week in Princeton History for December 31-January 6

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the construction of Lake Carnegie begins, the faculty approve a program in Women’s Studies, and more.

January 2, 1905—Work begins clearing 170 acres of heavily wooded land for the construction of Lake Carnegie.

Laborers and horses who cleared land for the construction of Lake Carnegie, ca. 1905. Historical Photograph Collection, Lake Carnegie Construction Photographs Series (AC065), Box 11.

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This Week in Princeton History for December 24-30

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, Princeton pays its first phone bill, an undergraduate writes to his cousin to urge him to join him at school, and more.

December 24, 1895—The College of New Jersey pays its very first telephone bill ($40.00 for the year).

December 25, 1818—William Krebs writes to his cousin from Nassau Hall and encloses Princeton’s current catalogue. “This will doubtless prove amusing to you. … Do not abandon the idea of joining College next spring…”

Early catalogues for the College of New Jersey (Princeton) were in Latin, like this one William Krebs sent to his cousin on December 25, 1818. Catalogus Collegii Neo-Caesariensis is translated as Catalogue of the College of New Jersey.

December 26, 1906—News that Trenton vaudeville actress Edna Mae Chandler has secretly married a Princeton student in a 2:00AM ceremony performed by a local Justice of the Peace makes headlines throughout the region, but it will later come out that contrary to Chandler’s understanding, Harry F. Bibbins is not a 22-year-old Princeton senior and the son of a millionaire but rather a 17-year-old Trenton hotel clerk. They will divorce in 1913.

December 27, 1765—The St. John’s Grand Lodge of Massachusetts grants a petition from residents of Princeton, including Richard Stockton, to establish a Masonic Lodge.

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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

This Week in Princeton History for December 17-23

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a shipment of coal mitigates a fuel shortage, the Triangle Club performs for Eleanor Roosevelt, and more.

December 17, 1917—A new shipment of coal just after the last bit available ran out means there will be enough fuel on hand to last the winter, bringing relief to concerned Princetonians. Measures will still need to be taken to preserve it.

Clipping from the Daily Princetonian, December 19, 1917.

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This Week in Princeton History for December 10-16

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a graduate receives his second Nobel Prize, a Native American member of the Class of 1762 complains of “too much confinement” in Nassau Hall, and more.

December 10, 1972—John Bardeen *36 accepts his second Nobel Prize in physics and becomes the only two-time laureate in the same field.

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To honor of the accomplishments of John Bardeen *36, Princeton University chose him as the first recipient of the James Madison medal in 1973. Note that the graduation year on the medallion is incorrect. Bardeen earned his Ph.D. in 1936, not 1939. Princeton University Memorabilia Collection (AC053), Box E-1. Photos by April C. Armstrong.
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