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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This Week in Princeton History for December 3-9

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, construction of the Halstead Observatory is underway, Gloria Steinem urges Princetonians to do something outrageous daily, and more.

December 3, 1867—The New York Tribune reports that Princeton’s Halsted Observatory is almost ready to have the telescope mounted. When mounted, it will be the largest telescope in the United States.

Halstead Observatory, ca. 1860s. Historical Photograph Collection, Grounds and Buildings Series (AC111), Box AD05, Image No. 8669.

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This Week in Princeton History for November 26-December 2

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, graduates react to the possible admission of female undergraduates, a dean’s comments in a local newspaper arouse concern, and more.

November 26, 1968—The Princeton Alumni Weekly prints several letters responding to the Patterson Report, which has concluded that Princeton would benefit from admitting female undergraduates. Logan McKee ’48 writes, “Mixing, ‘integrating’ and polluting seem to be the trend of the times, so it is natural that the mixers would want to homogenize Princeton. Of course this is just the next natural step in the pollution process. Long ago they removed the Presbyterian religious bias, the prep-school, the fraternity and the white race preference, and the School’s independence from government grants—so why not remove its last distinction, that of being a men’s college? Then Princeton can be as ‘democratic’ and just as friendly, folksy and mediocre as any outstate A. & M. institution.”

November 28, 1989—The Dean of the Graduate School’s comments in the Trenton Times alarm graduate students, including his assertion that “I think that a graduate student ought to be here to study 120 percent. I worry very, very much that a graduate student has so much time available to worry about a social life.”

Editorial cartoon from the Daily Princetonian. This cartoon refers to later claims the dean made that graduate students should not be offered housing after their second year of study.

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This Week in Princeton History for November 19-25

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, confusion arises over the date Thanksgiving should be celebrated, a plagiarized editorial weighs in on Anita Hill’s testimony, and more.

November 20, 1807—The faculty appoint a committee “to arrange the library and to draw up some regulations to prevent the further waste of the books.”

Part of arranging the library was probably preparing a catalogue. This copy was handwritten by Joseph Skelton in 1810. Princeton University Library Records (AC123), Box 4A.

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This Week in Princeton History for November 12-18

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the first formal exercises open in Nassau Hall, an alum announces a donation in honor of a former roommate, and more.

November 13, 1762—The first formal exercises to be held there open in the completed Nassau Hall.

William Tennent’s rendering of the campus of the College of New Jersey, which then included Nassau Hall and the president’s house, 1764. Prior to the opening of Nassau Hall, classes were held in the president’s home, first in Elizabeth, and then in Newark, but the president’s home in Princeton (now Maclean House) was built at the same time as Nassau Hall. Nassau Hall Iconography Collection (AC177), Box 2, Folder 5.

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This Week in Princeton History for November 5-11

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, college football gets its start, town and gown celebrate the end of World War I, and more.

November 5, 2001—A hazmat team comes to the Woodrow Wilson School to remove a suspicious letter mailed from Canada. Despite mentions of “anthrax” and “dark winter” (believed to refer to a nuclear attack), it will ultimately be determined to be one of many hoaxes plaguing the campus in the wake of Amerithrax.

November 6, 1869—Rutgers defeats Princeton 6 to 4 in the first intercollegiate game of football. The Nassau Lit notes, “The game played was very different from the one to which we are accustomed; and, consequently, a good deal of confusion was created in our ranks.”

This Sports Illustrated advertisement appeared in the issue of Rutgers Athletic News for the Rutgers-Princeton centennial match on September 27, 1969. Athletic Programs Collection (AC042), Box 8, Folder 1.

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This Week in Princeton History for October 29-November 4

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the Art Museum reopens in a modernized environment, the football team’s stunning victory over Penn sparks a riot, and more.

October 29, 1966—The Princeton University Art Museum reopens in its new home in a new McCormick Hall.

The new McCormick Hall was built on the site of the old McCormick Hall and Art Museum extension. The 1880 building, pictured here, was advanced for the 19th century but no longer a suitable home for Princeton’s collections. Historical Photograph Collection, Grounds and Buildings Series (AC111), Box SP05, Image No. 1216.

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This Week in Princeton History for October 22-28

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, police arrest 31 protesters, Woodrow Wilson is inaugurated Princeton’s president, and more.

October 22, 1945—At a brief ceremony in the Faculty Room of Nassau Hall, Princeton’s president, Harold W. Dodds, confers 20 undergraduate degrees, but only 11 graduates are present to receive their diplomas in person. Nicholas Katzenbach ’44, who completed his coursework in a Nazi prison camp, is among those who receive their degrees in absentia. With the exception of a World War II ceremony in which only four degrees were conferred, this is believed to be the smallest Commencement at Princeton since the 1750s.

As can be seen on this grade card for Nicholas deBelleville Katzenbach, originally a member of the Class of 1943, he had an unusual junior and senior year, with asterisks noting courses for which he received credit for work “pursued while a prisoner of war in a German prison camp…” (Click to enlarge image.) Undergraduate Academic Records 1921-2015 (AC198).

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This Week in Princeton History for October 15-21

In this week’s installment of our returning series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, tensions are boiling between town and gown, Dwight D. Eisenhower expresses thanks for the support of Princetonians, and more.

October 16, 1883—According to reports in the New York Sun, the governor of New Jersey has sent the entire state militia and police force to prevent full-scale warfare between students at the College of New Jersey and the residents of Princeton following a bloodbath on October 15. “To-night the annual cane-spree takes place and the students threaten to lynch any townsmen who appear on the Campus. The latter, on their part, declare their intention of cleaning out the College. Both parties are heavily armed. Trouble is feared. The desperate ruffianism of Princeton students is well known.”

October 17, 1952—Dwight D. Eisenhower, who is seeking election as U.S. President, notices a “PRINCETON LIKES IKE” sign among a crowd of 5,000 supporters in Princeton and says he is “really delighted to see some Princeton signs here.

Clipping from Daily Princetonian.

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This Week in Princeton History for October 8-14

In this week’s installment of our returning series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the first female leader takes the helm of the Association of Black Collegians, the Princetonian takes issue with fashion choices in chapel, and more.

October 8, 1971—Princeton’s Association of Black Collegians has a new coordinator: Deborah Jackson ’74, the first woman to hold the organization’s top leadership role.

October 10, 1987—In response to the increasing spread of AIDS among heterosexuals, the Advisory Council to Princeton’s Health Services approves the sale of condoms at McCosh Health Center. Condoms were never previously available at the clinic, but Princeton is the last institution in the Ivy League not making them available to its students.

October 11, 1889—Since many Princeton students seem to be more lax about their clothing in Sunday chapel these days, the Princetonian notes that some attendees’ “sense of propriety has been severely shocked” and urges greater attention to apparel. “Nothing is too good for that occasion, and if a man’s own sense of decency is hardened to wearing sweaters and other such negligé everyday garments at Sunday chapel he should certainly have the good taste to refrain for the sake of others who may feel differently on the subject.”

October 12, 1933—A rally for the Communist candidate for mayor of Princeton, Thomas MacNally, turns violent when onlookers pelt speakers with eggs, cabbage, and other unidentified objects. The local police will insist that Princeton University students are responsible for throwing food, though others, including the University proctors, will deny this.

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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