This Week in Princeton History for June 26-July 2

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 expresses concern about vices on campus, a trek up Denali raises money for AIDS research, and more.

June 26, 1790—Having just returned from an evening at David Hamilton’s Tavern, four students put a calf in the pulpit of Nassau Hall as a prank, then flip the outhouse over.

June 28, 1848—The Board of Trustees, noting that “the vice of intemperance has prevailed among the students to an alarming degree,” directs the faculty to expel any student “who is ascertained to be in the habit of commonly using intoxicating drinks, or of frequenting taverns.”

Sketch by unknown author depicting students drinking at Princeton, “It’s a Way We Have at Old Nassau,” ca. 1863. Historical Photograph Collection, Campus Life Series (AC112), MP159, Image No. 4395.

Continue reading

This Week in Princeton History for June 19-25

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a scientific expedition begins, the institution declines to pay for extra policing, and more.

June 21, 1877—A group of twenty sets off on Princeton’s first scientific expedition to the North American west, during which they will collect paleontological and geological information in Colorado.

Princeton’s first scientific expedition camping in Fairplay, Colorado, 1877. Princeton Scientific Expeditions Collection (AC012), Box 3, Folder 2.

Continue reading

This Week in Princeton History for June 12-18

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the Liberty Bell is in town, the first woman earns a Princeton degree, and more.

June 13, 1878—A member of the Class of 1878 writes that he is disappointed by the College of New Jersey (Princeton)’s invitation to U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes to speak at Commencement, saying his appearance would dishonor the graduates and Commencement would be “made subservient to outsiders.” It is ultimately a moot point; Hayes declines the invitation.

College of New Jersey (Princeton) Commencement Program, 1878. Princeton University Commencement Records (AC115), Box 2, Folder 18.

Continue reading

This Week in Princeton History for June 5-11

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, Commencement is held without predicted problems, a senior praises William Howard Taft, and more.

June 5, 1978—Princeton University’s Board of Trustees votes to include coverage for abortion under the student health insurance plan.

This article by an anonymous female Princeton University student details her experiences with health care prior to the decision to cover abortion under the student health plan (Princeton Forerunner, November 30, 1976).

Continue reading

This Week in Princeton History for May 29-June 4

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the University Chapel is dedicated, a professor spirits a Chinese dissident to safety, and more.

May 30, 1928—The University Chapel, which replaces the destroyed Marquand Chapel, is dedicated in a Sunday morning service. It is the largest such chapel in the United States.

Princeton University Chapel, May 29, 1928. Associated Press photo. Historical Photograph Collection, Grounds and Buildings Series (AC111), Box MP30, Image No. 744.

Continue reading

This Week in Princeton History for May 22-28

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, protesters are arrested at Nassau Hall, a professor urges Princetonians to buy Liberty Loan bonds, and more.

May 22, 1949—Nassau Hall’s flag flies at half mast as a tribute to James V. Forrestal, a member of the Class of 1915 and the nation’s first Secretary of Defense, who died after jumping out a window on the sixteenth floor of Bethesda Naval Hospital on this date.

James Forrestal, ca. 1940s. Official U.S. Navy Photo. James V. Forrestal Papers (MC051), Box 188.

Continue reading

This Week in Princeton History for May 15-21

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a former president dies in a car accident, graduates can look one another up online, and more.

May 15, 1963—Princeton mails preliminary acceptance letters to 17 students from eight different colleges for the new Critical Languages Program, which will bring female undergraduates to campus for intensive language study. The program still awaits official approval from the Board of Trustees. The Daily Princetonian will report that one of the “major problems” not yet resolved is where women might live and eat among the all-male undergraduate student body.

May 17, 1933—John Grier Hibben of the Class of 1882, who served as president of Princeton University 1912-1932, dies in a car accident when the Packard sedan given to him as a retirement present collides with a truck on Route 25 near Rahway, New Jersey.

John Grier Hibben’s Packard sedan following the May 17, 1933 crash. Elliot Service photo, Office of the President Records (AC117), Box 66, Folder 6.

Continue reading

This Week in Princeton History for May 8-14

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) delights the campus with a surprise appearance, protests greet a segregationist governor’s visit, and more.

May 8, 1989—A freshman diagnosed with the measles is admitted to the McCosh Health Center, prompting approximately 500 students to get a booster vaccine to prevent an outbreak on campus.

May 9, 1901—Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) surprises students with an unadvertised appearance in Alexander Hall, where he gives a reading of his work and entertains the crowd with stories about his adventures in Nevada and his attempts to learn German.

This letter from Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), most likely to Stephen Van Rennseler Throwbridge, Class of 1902, dates from ca. 1901 and seems to accept an invitation to speak at Princeton “as long as one would only have to talk, & not have to talk long, nor make preparation.” Pyne-Henry Collection (AC125), Box 2, Folder 1.

Continue reading

This Week in Princeton History for May 1-7

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a plot against campus squirrels is uncovered, food services workers strike, and more.

May 1, 1871—Vassar College professor of elocution Minnie C. Swayze gives a lecture entitled “Women’s Abilities” to Princeton students in Albert S. Cook’s Hall on Chambers Street. She argues that women are equal to men. Princeton’s College World reports: “Though not ultra, her position is firm in maintaining woman’s intellectual equality with men, and in demanding for her sex equal, social and political privileges. … We prophesy for her a brilliant career.”

May 4, 1957—A Daily Princetonian investigation reveals that the mysterious deaths of dozens of campus squirrels can be traced to a group of students who have been killing them to stuff and sell to other students at women’s colleges.

May 5, 2001—Shirley Tilghman is named the 19th president of Princeton University. She is the first woman to fill this role.

Shirley Tilghman at her installation as president of Princeton University, 2001. Office of Communications Records (AC168), Box 197.

Continue reading

This Week in Princeton History for April 24-30

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a senior signs an NFL contract, Daylight Saving Time causes confusion, and more.

April 26, 1771—The New Jersey General Assembly passes “An Act to erect the District of Prince-Town into a Town by the name of Princeton.” The College of New Jersey, already referred to as “Prince-Town College” as early as its move to the area in 1756, will become well established colloquially as Princeton College until it officially changes its own name in 1896.

April 27, 1994—Keith Elias ’94 signs on to play professional football with the New York Giants.

Keith Elias ’94, ca. 1993. Undergraduate Alumni Records (AC199).

Continue reading