Digitzed: Robert Lansing Papers & John Foster Dulles State Department Records

In our ongoing efforts to provide digital access to our records, we are happy to announce two additional collections have been digitized with the help of our students.

Robert Lansing (ca. 1905)

Robert Lansing (date unkknown)

The Robert Lansing Papers and the John Foster Dulles State Department Records are viewable via their finding aids.

The Robert Lansing Papers document the later years of Robert Lansing (1864-1928), lawyer, writer, and the longest serving (1915–1920) of Woodrow Wilson’s three Secretaries of State.

For the John Foster Dulles State Department Records, we scanned Series 2: Declassified Records

The two collections took a little over six months to complete.

For this project, we asked students who worked at the library’s front desk to scan documents by using a top feed and flat bed scanner when not assisting patrons. Once scanned, students would combine files together using Adobe Acrobat Pro.

Student receptionist using the top feed scanner to digitize documents.

While we continually work in house to make more of our collections available online, recently we also have been awarded a grant to have six other collections digitized. Read more about those collections and the project here:

Mudd Library Awarded Grant to Provide Global Access to Records of the Cold War

Embargo Renewal Information for Ph.D. Graduates

This fall, the first set of dissertation embargoes that were instituted under the Graduate School’s revised policy on Publication, Access, and Embargoing of Doctoral Dissertations will expire. This embargo policy only applies to dissertations submitted on or after August 29, 2011.

Those who wish to request a renewal of an existing embargo must email Dean Crittenden or Dean Weaver in the Graduate School and provide the reason for the extension. While embargoes may be extended with the request of the student and the approval of the Graduate School, they can never be re-instituted after having expired.

Embargoes automatically expire two years from the date of deposit at the Mudd Library. Individuals should contact the Graduate School one to two months before their embargo will expire to request a renewal. Graduates are responsible for keeping track of when their embargoes expire.

One can find out exactly when an embargo will expire by checking the dissertation’s record in DataSpace. First, search for the dissertation by the author’s name or its title, click the button at the bottom of the item record that says “show full item record,” and view the date in the “pu.embargo.lift” field. This is the date that the embargo will automatically expire.

The Graduate School will inform the Mudd Library of all embargo extensions and Mudd Library staff will apply the extensions in ProQuest and in DataSpace.

This information can also be found on our dissertations webpage under “Embargoes.”

“Building the House of Knowledge:” The Graduate College Centennial

A new exhibition that opens at the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library on Sept. 16, 2013, chronicles the events and decisions framing the development of America’s first graduate residential college.

Procter Hall view: The centerpiece of the Graduate College, Procter Hall and the beautiful stained glass Great West Window looking towards the Cleveland Memorial Tower, ca. 1913

Procter Hall view: The centerpiece of the Graduate College, Procter Hall and the beautiful stained glass Great West Window looking towards the Cleveland Memorial Tower, ca. 1913

Marking the 100th anniversary of the opening of Princeton’s Graduate College, “Building the House of Knowledge:” The Graduate College Centennial is filled with letters, documents and photographs from Princeton’s University Archives that reveal the story of how the concept of resident graduate education went from an inspired idea to a grand achievement, but not without significant controversy that brought nationwide attention to Princeton.

A view from behind the monumental statue of Andrew Fleming West, erected in the Graduate College quad in the 1920s, looking toward the Cleveland Memorial Tower. West was the first Dean of the Graduate School and driving force behind building the Graduate College.  Cleveland Tower was built as the national monument for President Grover Cleveland, who retired to Princeton after leaving the White House, and was a University trustee and supporter of graduate education.

A view from behind the monumental statue of Andrew Fleming West, erected in the Graduate College quad in the 1920s, looking toward the Cleveland Memorial Tower.

Beginning with the desire for a residential graduate program expressed at Princeton’s Sesquicentennial celebrations, the exhibition reveals the initial agreement of University President Woodrow Wilson and Dean of the Graduate School Andrew Fleming West on the plans for building the Graduate College. Early on, however, disagreements over the use of endowment funding and an appropriate location for the new Graduate College led to battle lines being drawn—with faculty and trustees viewed as being on either Dean West’s or President Wilson’s side. Reports and letters from West, Wilson, and eminent trustees such as Moses Taylor Pyne and former U.S. President Grover Cleveland reveal elements of the dissension developing at the administrative level. Letters from significant Graduate College benefactor and alumnus William C. Procter, Class of 1883 and of Procter and Gamble fame, show how directed endowment bequests played a role in the controversy. These letters and reports focus on how endowment funding and bequests and the choice of a site for the residential building contributed to the heated debate, and possibly influenced the resignation of President Wilson.

Photographs from the archives detail some of the architectural plans and ultimate construction of the Graduate College 17 years after the vision of resident graduate education was first presented. A final case shows photographs of later additions to the original Graduate College in the 1920s and 1960s as increased enrollment pressures necessitated adding rooms to the venerable structure originally built in 1913.

“Building the House of Knowledge:” The Graduate College Centennial is free and open to the public in the Wiess Lounge at the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, 65 Olden Street, until June 6, 2014. The exhibition is open from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., Monday through Friday.

by: Sara Griffiths

 

 

Political Cartoons now available online

Over 2,000 cartoons from three collections of politically related cartoons are now available online. Images can be viewed by search or browsing finding aids of the three collections:  the Political Cartoon Collection (MC180); the Carey Cartoon Collection (MC158); the William H. Walker Cartoon Collection (MC068)

The Political Cartoon collection consists of one thousand original drawings, including a significant number by Charles Lewis Bartholomew, Otho Cushing, Homer C. Davenport, John Tinney McCutcheon, and Frank Arthur Nankivell. Other artists that are well represented include Louis Glackens, Harold Imbrie, Udo J. Keppler, Norman Ritchie, and Fred O. Seibel.

More Dough? MC180, Box 2

More Dough? MC180, Box 2

The Carey Collection consists of large color boards that were originally displayed in shop windows. Most of the cartoons comment on foreign policy issues during World War I.

United States Declares War! MC156, Box 1, Folder 4

United States Declares War! MC156, Box 1, Folder 4

The William H. Walker Cartoon Collection reflects the political climate of America during the late 19th Century and early 20th Century. The cartoons were drawn between 1894 and 1922 for Life Magazine. Life is the title of an American magazine that from 1883 to 1936 was published as a humor and general interest magazine. While the earlier years did not encompass the quantity of cartoons of the latter years, Walker’s satirical style is ever poignant. Through the use of humor, Walker directs attention towards such topics as war, immigration and domestic politics. These themes are related to the reader through the synergistic relationship of ink on paper and intellectual wit. In turn, this relationship generated a light, but serious message for all to appreciate.

Uncle Sam, Buyer of Small Islands, MC068, Box 44.

Uncle Sam, Buyer of Small Islands, MC068, Box 44.

Mudd Library Technical Services staff collaborated with the University Library’s Digital Initiative’s team in making this material available.  Mudd staff created or enhanced the descriptions of the cartoons within the finding aid for each collection and the cartoons were scanned in the Library’s digital studios in Firestone Library.

More about our digitization projects:

 

Our NHPRC-Funded Digitization Project at Six Months

Late last year, the Mudd Manuscript Library was granted an award by the National
Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) to digitize our most-used Public Policy collections, serve them online, and create a report for the larger archival community about cost-efficient digitization practices. Excerpts from our six-month progress report is below.

nhprc-logo-l

Work so far

  1. Project planning

From the time we were awarded the grant to the present, we have produced an overall project plan and timeline, a vendor RFQ and plan of work, in-house quality control procedures for vendor-supplied images, a workplan for in-house scanning, and hardware-specific instructions for in-house scanning. All activities are either on schedule or ahead of schedule. Vendor-supplied digitization is currently eight months ahead of schedule.

  1. Finding a vendor

After distributing an RFQ and collecting bids, we decided on The Crowley Company as our vendor, based on both price and our confidence that they would be able to manage the materials and the work carefully and efficiently.

  1. Managing vendor-supplied digitization

Before materials can go out to the vendor, we first create a manifest of everything we want to send by transforming the EAD-encoded finding aid into an easily-read Excel worksheet. Since we want each folder of material to have a cover sheet that explains the collection name, box number, folder number, URL, and copyright policy, we used collection manifests to make target sheets with this information. A total of 6,943 target sheets were created, printed, and inserted into the beginnings of folders by student workers before materials were sent out to the vendor.

Once materials have been imaged by the vendor, students sample ten percent of the collection to check for completeness and readability. So far, everything has passed quality control with flying colors.

Each month, Crowley sends us a report of how many images have been created that month, how many images have been created cumulatively, and average scanning rate per hour. This information is below:

Boxes Scanned

Pages Scanned

2013 March

15

17119

2013 April

32

45761

2013 May

50

49499

2013 June

65

97896

Totals

162

210275

  1. In-house imaging

Imaging of the John Foster Dulles papers started in June. So far, we have completed a pilot of scanning with the sheet-feed of the photocopier, and pilots of microfilm scanning and scanning with a Zeutschel face-up scanner are underway.

Project goals and deliverables

  1. Twelve series or subseries from six collections digitized

To date, five series or subseries have been completely digitized, and three others are in the process of being digitized.

  1. Approximately 416,000 images created and posted online

As of July 1, 2013, 210,275 images have been scanned by the vendor. Of this total, 39,834 images have been posted online. Our vendor is several months ahead of schedule for this project, and in-house scanning is on track. Since beginning in-house scanning in June, 1,838 pages have been scanned by student workers. In the next months, we will calculate the per-page costs for scanning on a Zeutschel face-up scanner and with a microfilm scanner. From there, we plan to image fifty feet of materials with the sheet feeder of the photocopier, 10.3 feet with the Zeutschel face-up scanner, and 33.4 feet with the microfilm scanner.

  1. Six EAD finding aids updated to include links for 17,508 components (folders)

Two finding aids (Council on Foreign Relations Records and Adlai Stevenson Papers) have been updated to include links to digitized content. Another (George F. Kennan Papers) is ready to be updated. This process is managed semi-automatically with a series of shell scripts. After quality control hard drives of images are sent to Princeton’s digital studios. Staff there verify and copy digital assets to permanent storage. After this, PDF and JPEG2000 files are derived from the master TIFFs, and the relationship between these objects is described in an automatically generated METS file. The digital archival object (<dao>) tag is added to the EAD-encoded finding aid for each component.

  1. Digital imaging cost of less than 80 cents per page achieved

The plan of work with our vendor calls for scanning costs well below the 80 cents per page. Our first (and likely least expensive) of three in-house scanning pilots estimates the costs of scanning with the sheet feeder of a copier to be two cents per page. We will have numbers for microfilm scanning and scanning with a face-up scanner at the time of our next report.

  1. Metrics for digital imaging of 20th century archival collections for

    1. In-house microfilm conversion

    2. Sheet feeding through a networked photocopier

    3. Vendor supplied images

The information that we have collected thus far is below. Our vendor metrics are based on the quote and plan of work with The Crowley Company. Sheet feed metrics are collected by having a student worker fill out a minimal, time-stamped form at the beginning and end of each scan, and then analyzing that information. These numbers are preliminary. Sheet-fed scans have not yet been checked for quality control — re-scans may increase the total time per page and dollars per page for this method.

Vendor

Sheet Feed

Microfilm

Zeutschel

Total pages:

270,600*

1838

Total feet:

530.95

1.68

Total time:

2:25:14

Total time (decimal):

2.42

Time per page:

0:00:04

Pages per hour:

270.75

759.33

Hours per foot:

1:26:26

Feet per hour

0.69

Cost per page:

TBD

$0.02

*This number is an estimate, based on an assumed 1200 pages per box. Our reports from Crowley show anywhere from 1050-1750 pages in a box.

Note: in addition to these three methods, we plan to add a fourth – scanning with a face-up scanner (in our case, a Zeutschel scanner table).

  1. Policies and documentation for large-scale digitization initiative created and shared with archival community

As we go forward with our project, we have been blogging not just about the content of our digitized collections, but also our methods and rationales. A blog post written in February explains how this project fits into our other digitization activities and our approach to access. In early June, we wrote about the reasons why this kind of project is so important, and how our materials will now reach researchers worldwide (and of all ages) who might otherwise never come to our reading room in Princeton, New Jersey.

A more formal report on our methods and results will be made available once more data has been gathered.

Archival Description Group Wins National Award

The University Library’s Archival Description Working Group has won another award for its efforts in finding new ways to deliver information about our collections to our users. The Society of American Archivists will present the C.F.W Coker Award to the group in August for findingaids.princeton.edu, the University Library’s interface for descriptions of Princeton archives and manuscript collections. Society of American Archivists Logo The Coker Award “recognizes finding aids, finding aid systems, innovative development in archival description, or descriptive tools that enable archivists to produce more effective finding aids. To merit consideration for the award, nominees must set national standards, represent a model for archives description, or otherwise have a substantial impact on national descriptive practice.” It is awarded to archives throughout North America; previous winners include the Archivists’ Toolkit project, the Online Archives of California, and the working group that developed Encoded Archival Description.

The Award Committee noted that the team at Princeton “created a complete user experience of the Princeton University collections that is elegant in its outward simplicity and robust in its search capabilities. . . . The site is, in short, a triumph of innovative descriptive practice.” Maureen Callahan, John Delaney, Shaun Ellis, Regine Heberlein, Dan Santamaria, Jon Stroop, and Don Thornbury serve on the Working Group. The site also builds on descriptive data created by many staff involved with aggressive processing and data conversion projects over the last seven years.

The site was publicly released last September. The group was also awarded the Mid Atlantic Regional Archives Conference’s Finding Aid Award in April. As always, our biggest reward is the use of the finding aids, and the material they describe, by our patrons, but it’s great to receive recognition for all the effort that went into developing the site.

Records of Adlai Stevenson, Ambassador to the United Nations, Now Available to View Online

In October 1962, at the height of the Cuban missile crisis, Adlai Stevenson spoke the most famous line of his career. The former Illinois governor and two-time presidential candidate was the United States’ ambassador to the United Nations.

After a series of provocative political moves and a failed US attempt to overthrow the Cuban regime,  Nikita Khrushchev proposed the idea of placing Soviet nuclear missiles on Cuba to deter any future invasion attempt in May 1962. By October 14, American spy planes captured images showing sites for medium-range and intermediate-range ballistic nuclear missiles under construction in Cuba.

Tensions mounted quickly. Concurrent with other negotiations, the United States requested an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council on October 25. There, Adlai Stevenson confronted Soviet Ambassador Valerian Zorin, challenging him to admit the existence of the missiles. Ambassador Zorin refused to answer.

“Do you, Ambassador Zorin, deny that the U.S.S.R. has placed and is placing medium- and intermediate-range missiles and sites in Cuba? Don’t wait for the translation! Yes or no?”

“I am not in an American courtroom, sir,” Zorin responded, “and therefore I do not wish to answer a question put to me in the manner in which a prosecutor does–”

“You are in the courtroom of world opinion right now,” Stevenson interrupted, “and you can answer yes or no. You have denied that they exist, and I want to know whether I have understood you correctly.”

“You will have your answer in due course,” Zorin replied. “I am prepared to wait for my answer until hell freezes over, if that’s your decision,” countered Stevenson. “And I am also prepared to present the evidence in this room.”

The Mudd Manuscript Library holds the papers of Adlai Stevenson, and as part of our NHPRC-funded project, we have digitized records relating to his tenure as United States Ambassador to the United Nations. Here, especially in his section on Cuba, we get more of the story behind the story — notes, memoranda and letters of congratulations after this memorable speech, and records from 1963-1965, after the crisis and when the cold war was icier than ever.

Patrons can view thumbnails of a file to get a sense of what’s available

Browsing Adlai Stevenson correspondence

Scroll through to see all 164 images.

Simply click on any of the thumbnail images to see a larger view.

The entire file is also available for download in PDF form.

Clicking on this button will download a pdf of the entire file.

Clicking on this button will download a pdf of the entire file.

We hope that researchers everywhere will be able to make use of these newly-available materials. As always, please contact the Mudd Library with questions about any of our collections.

Archives for Everyone

In each of the last two springs, several staff of the Mudd Manuscript Library and other members of the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections have judged at the regional qualifier of the National History Day competition held on Princeton’s campus. This is a contest for middle and high school students who, based on rigorous guidelines, synthesize and analyze information about a historic event. They then create a paper, website, documentary, exhibit or performance explaining what they have learned.

Judging National History Day is a powerful touchstone about the value of archives in the production of history. Each year, I see students adroitly avoid some of the more common traps of historical production — their projects are clear, level-headed, open-minded, and support their claims with evidence. Students who submit the best projects don’t just have a clear argument and lengthy bibliography — they let the primary sources surprise them and challenge their previous conceptions of the past. Yes, they may start with textbooks and biographies, but stronger projects evaluate primary sources. And the very best projects tend to not just look at key documents that have been artificially assembled on a website (although this is valuable too) — they look at records in context and try to make arguments about subtext and authenticity.

The best place to find records in context is usually an archives. But of course, access to archives isn’t easy for students. Working parents may not be able to take their children to the New Jersey Historical Society or National Archives or Mudd Library, as much as they might like to provide that experience. Most archives are only open during the hours when parents are working and visiting these institutions can be intimidating. From a young student’s perspective, it’s often hard to tell what the holdings are and whether the trip will be worth it.

Our NHPRC-funded project hopes to be a model toward ameliorating this barrier to access. We believe that by scanning our records and making them available within the same context that one would see them in the reading room, anyone with an internet connection can have a meaningful scholarly experience without the cost and inconvenience of traveling to Princeton, New Jersey.

We hope that children will benefit as much as anyone from this project. As Cathy Gorn, the Executive Director of National History Day, noted in her letter of support for the grant:

Having primary source materials on the Cold War available via the Internet would allow many NHD students around the country to conduct research for their projects that they ordinarily would not be able to, and the Mudd collections to be digitized are broad enough to support a variety of NHD Projects.

Of course, students don’t just wish to access historical records for National History Day — they want access for the same reasons that any other researcher does. A teenager may want to know more about when and how his family came to America. He might want to know more about the history of his town, and how certain sites came to be created. Or he may be interested in the history of ideas, policies and customs that affect his life. The collections that we plan to digitize — the John Foster Dulles papers, the Allen Dulles papers, the James Forrestal papers, the Council on Foreign Relations records, the George Kennan papers and the Adlai Stevenson papers — document how cold war activities were conducted and understood. They also present an opportunity for students to understand through diaries and correspondence the false starts, misunderstandings, and possible alternatives that constitute all historical events.

The historian John Lewis Gaddis makes the argument for access more persuasively than I could. In his letter of support for our grant, he explained the cost, inconvenience and wear on records for professional researchers trying to do research on-site.

But the most fundamental shortcoming of this old system was the disservice it did to students of history who never got to see an archive in the first place. Maybe they lived abroad. Maybe they attended American universities or colleges that could not provide research support. Maybe they were high school or even elementary students who might have gotten hooked on history for life had they had the chance to work with original materials – but they didn’t have that chance.

Now, however, almost all of them have access to a new means of access, which is of course the internet- even if they’re stuck in a place like Cotulla, Texas, where I grew up. I mention this little town because it’s where the young Lyndon B. Johnson spent a year teaching, in 1928-29, in the then segregated Mexican-American school. What he tried to do for those kids is still remembered: it gets its own chapter in the first volume of Robert Caro’s massive biography. But just think what LBJ could have done as a teacher had he had the resources that are available now. That’s why this project is important.

It has the potential, quite literally, to globalize the possibility of doing archival research. That’s no guarantee that this will produce a greater number of great books than in the past. What it will ensure, however, is a quantum leap in the opportunities students and their teachers will have to bring the excitement of working with original documents into all classrooms. That’s easily as important, I think, as writing the kind of books that might get you tenure at a place like Yale.

Name Dropping: A list of famous Commencement Week speakers at Princeton

In a previous post we discussed the history behind commencement at The College of New Jersey and Princeton University. Here, we highlight the individuals and include links to video and news articles.

For the years 2009- 2012 each name will link to an individual flash based streaming video courtesy of Princeton University WebMedia. These are mobile friendly as well.

Years 1998-2008 can be viewed through this link to WebMedia. Scroll to the appropriate year and download you preferred version to your computer. To view via mobile you will need to open in dropbox.

2012

Photo: Princeton University, Office of Communications, Denise Applewhite (2012)

Michael Lewis – Photo: Princeton University, Office of Communications, Denise Applewhite (2012)

Photo: Princeton University, Office of Communications, Steve McDonald (2012)

Steve Carell – Photo: Princeton University, Office of Communications, Steve McDonald (2012)

2011

2010

2009

2008-1998 Can be downloaded for viewing here.

2008

  • Baccalaureate - Paul Farmer
  • Class Day – Stephen Colbert
  • Commencement – Shirley M. Tilghman

2007

  • Baccalaureate - John Fleming
  • Class Day – Bradley Whitford
  • Commencement – Shirley M. Tilghman

2006

2005

2004

2003

  • Baccalaureate – Fred Hargadon
  • Class Day - Jerry Seinfeld
  • Commencement – Shirley M. Tilghman

2002

  • Baccalaureate - Meg Whitman
  • Class Day – James Baker
  • Commencement – Shirley M. Tilghman

2001

  • Baccalaureate – Emma Bloomberg
Bill Cosby - 2001 Class Day Speaker Photo Courtesy: Princeton Weekly Bulletin

Bill Cosby – 2001 Class Day Speaker
Photo Courtesy: Princeton Weekly Bulletin

  • Class Day - Bill Cosby - This marks the first Class Day Speaker from outside of the University. 
  • Commencement – Shirley M. Tilghman

Previous to 2001 many infamous persons took the podium during the Baccalaureate Ceremonies. The following highlight a few of those. During this time the president of the University presides over commencement and typically gives the commencement address as well as speaks at Class Day.

2000 Baccalaureate  - Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan, formerly Lisa Halaby ’73

1999

  • Baccalaureate Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children’s Defense Fund
  • Class Day/Commencement Harold T. Shapiro
  • The Latin Salutatory speaker Thomas Wickham Schmidt broke tradition by including a marriage proposal to Anastacia Rohrman at the end of his speech. WHT_RohrSchmidtThe event was also covered by NBC’s Today Show where Rothman and Schmidt were interviewed.
  • According to the June 6th, 2007 edition of the Princeton Alumni Weekly, ”The two were married in August 2000, after Wick’s first year at Yale Law School.”

WHT_RohrSchmidt2

1998  Baccalaureate: Senator Tom Harkin and wife Ruth Harkin, senior VP at United Technologies Corporation. Parents of Amy Harkin. Both husband and wife spoke to honor 25 years of coeducation at Princeton. This is the first time that there has been two baccalaureate speakers.
1997 – Baccalaureate: Senator William Frist ’74

1996 – Princeton University’s  250th Anniversary

1995 Baccalaureate: Jane Alexander, chair of the National Endowment for the Arts

1994 Baccalaureate: Wynton Marsalis

1993 Baccalaureate: Garry B. Trudeau, Cartoonist. You may view the commencement in its entirety in an upcoming blog post.

1992 Baccalaureate: Rt. Reverend Dr. Frederick H. Borsch ’57
1991 Baccalaureate: William Crowe Jr. *65, retired chair of the Joints Chiefs of Staff
1990 Baccalaureate: Johnetta Cole, President of Spelman College
1989 Baccalaureate: Honorable Andrew Young
1988 Baccalaureate: Representative Patricia Schroeder
1987 Baccalaureate: George E. Rupp ’64
1986 Baccalaureate: Governor Thomas H. Kean ’57
1985 Commencement: William Bowen. Baccalaureate: Ira D. Silverman (Fun Fact: Theodore Seuss Geisel aka ‘Dr. Seuss’ was given an honorary degree this year.)

1984 Baccalaureate: Honorable Paul Sarbanes ’54 P’84, (Maurice Sendak received an honorary degree this year, author of ‘Where the Wild Things Are’)
1983 Baccalaureate: The Rev. Dr. Homer U. Ashby Jr. ‘68
1982 Baccalaureate: The Honorable Charles B. Renfrew, ’52. (Stephen Hawking received an honorary degree)
1981 Baccalaureate: Dr. Sissela Bok,
1980 Baccalaureate: Michael M. Stewart, M.D. ’57, Commencement: William Bowen Minutes from the Senior Class Committee from January 13th, 1980 mention a sub-committee had been formed to find ways to expand Class Day.
1979 Baccalaureate: Redmond C. S. Finney ’51,
1978 Baccalaureate: Gerson D. Cohen
1977 Baccalaureate: Theodore M. Hesburgh
1976 Baccalaureate: James I. McCord
1975 Baccalaureate: Professor Gregory Vlastos, Ph.D., B.D., D. D., LL.D., (Princeton University Philosophy Department)
1974 Baccalaureate: The Reverend Thomas P. Stewart, ’51.
1973 Baccalaureate: The Reverend Dr. John B. Coburn ’36, Charter Trustee

Until 1972, the baccalaureate speaker was the current President of the University. Beginning in 1973, outside speakers were invited.

1969: Representative from the Class Day Committee asks President Goheen to approve the re-institution of planting ivy with class year stone markers around Nassau Hall rather than the previous (expensive) tradition of breaking $200 worth of clay pipes. The representative also suggested that the message of planting rather than destroying is better for Class Day. Commencement: Unlisted. Baccalaureate: President Goheen.

1968: Many of this year’s events were modified due to the Assassination of Senator Robert Kennedy on June 4th. The Alumni parade was smaller and within campus, the baseball game and Triangle Club performances were cancelled. Commencement/Baccalaureate and Class Day President Goheen.

1949 Baccalaureate: Harold Dodds

1945

  • February 22nd 1945 – Winter term exercises held again in Nassau Hall. This also marks the first graduation in two years where honorary degrees have been given. The address was given by the Head of the Faculty Robert K. Root and the benediction was given by the Dean of the University Council.
  • June 23rd 1945 – Spring term exercises held on front campus. Address is given by Dean Christian Gauss. Benediction is given by Dr. Arthur L. Kinsolving.
  • October 22nd 1945 – The smallest number of graduates have commencement held in President Harold Dodds office. 20 students are candidates for degrees. Only 11 are present for the conferring of the degrees.

1944

  • January 5th 1944 – 26 members of Class of 1944 graduated in brief ceremony in Nassau Hall
  • February 22, 1944 – 35 degrees given. Dr. Charles G. Osgood gives the commencement speech. Students in armed forces were instructed to wear uniforms while others wear the traditional cap and gown.
  • April 4th 1944 – 36 degrees given in Nassau Hall.
  • June 24th 1944 – Special Convocation for the Navy V-12 Unit was held on front campus. James V. Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, receives an honorary degree. President Dodds also gave an address to the graduating members.
  • The 24th also included regular commencement exercises with the address given by Dr. Henry P. Van Dusen ’19. President Dodds gave concluding remarks.
  • September 19th and October 19th held additional Special Convocations for the Navy V-12 Unit
  • October 25th a small regular ceremony took place in Nassau Hall.

1943

  • On January 29th and 30th Princeton observed its first winter commencement in almost 200 years. This was due to the 315 members of the 1943 class that sped up their courses so they could report to active duty.
  • Commencement was combined with the baccalaureate address took place in the university chapel. Charles Scribner Jr. gave the Latin Salutatory and President Dodds gave the commencement speaker.
  • Joseph C. Grew, former Ambassador to Japan spoke at the Princeton commencement luncheon
  • The spring commencement was held on May 28th and 29th and would be the last formal commencement for the duration of the war. The class day customary exercises were condensed into one ceremony. President Dodds gave his address at commencement as usual.
  • On September 29th the University held its 3rd commencement ceremony of the year for undergraduates a the end of the current quarter. The ceremony was held in the Faculty Room of Nassau Hall
  • The 4th and final commencement occurred on October 28th for 26 members of the Class of 1944.

1942 The University’s 195th ceremonies took place against a background of total war. A new event was introduced into the commencement season because of this. A Service of Dedication “a dedication of all that we have and all that we are, with no counting of the cost.”

1929 – View scenes from the Class of 1929′s commencement activities in this complimentary blog post.

February 21st, 1920 86 Members of the Class of 1918 & 1919 graduates returning from War Service. Informal exercises were held in the Faculty Room of Nassau Hall. “This was the first time in in the recollection of alumni that graduation exercises were ever conducted at any other time than the spring of the year” The Daily Princetonian Feb 23, 1920.

From 1792 to about 1918 the Valedictory, Salutatory and other speeches were given by students and members of the college. While details are few, the programs still include photos, schedules and class roll. These can be viewed here at the archives at Mudd Library and are located in the Commencement Records collection.

The history of Princeton University Commencement Ceremonies

Every year leading up to the final weeks of classes, commencement and reunions, we receive questions related to the history of commencement activities. In this post we dive right into that subject!

The original commencement of the College of New Jersey was held in Newark, New Jersey on November 9th, 1748. There was a procession, an address from President Aaron Burr followed by graduate disputations, and finally, the awarding of the degrees. You can read more in this Princetionian article from 1932 and this satire, The First Commencement by Lewis Morris Jr.

Nathanial Scudder's College of New Jersey - Master of Arts Degree from 1759 - from the Princeton University Diploma Collection (AC138)

Nathanial Scudder, 1751, College of New Jersey – Honorary Master of Arts Degree from 1759 – from the Princeton University Diploma Collection (AC138)

The Commencement Records (AC115) has a rich description of the history of commencement addresses. One of the earliest Valedictory addresses was given by Ashbel Green’s address in 1783.  These addresses were first given in 1760 by a high ranking student. Through the years valedictory addresses have tried to sum up the experience of college life in relation to the world the seniors were about to enter.

Salutatory addresses date back to the first commencement in 1748. Though no actual addresses appear in the files until 1903, newspaper articles occasionally elaborate on them. This address was traditionally delivered by the highest ranking member of the senior class and is Princeton’s oldest student honor. The salutatorian delivered this half-hour address in Latin, in keeping with the serious tone of the formal proceedings of commencement. Today the Salutatory, while still in Latin, is quite short, and each student receives the speech (with prompts in it for laughing and exclamations), in hopes that the audience will be suitably impressed with their Latin skills.

Class Day exercises are held by the students on Cannon Green and are generally filled with wit and wisdom, mocking both faculty and students alike. The earliest “program” can be found in 1856, though as the years go by the programs become much more colorful and elaborate. By 1913 they are bound in leather and contain numerous photographs, a schedule of commencement events and cannon exercises as well as the class roll.

The baccalaureate service is one of Princeton’s oldest traditions, and the earliest program dates from 1889. The earliest recorded address was delivered by Samuel Davies in 1760 entitled “Religion and Public Spirit.” Baccalaureate is held the Sunday before commencement. Also included are printed programs to senior dinners and balls which were given during commencement celebrations. In Box 1, Folder 1 of the Commencement  Records (AC115), you can find more about Baccalaureate sermons in the paper by Daniel Edward Sack titled, The Last Lecture: Baccalaureate sermons at Princeton University, 1876-1969.

Commencement programs themselves appear in 1792 with a schedule of the day’s events.

Here we see one of the earliest programs in our collection from 1844 when students completed degrees in 2 years.

AC115_1844 Program 1AC115_1844 Program 2

As the years advance the programs grow in length and scope. In 1913 they expanded to several pages giving greater detail to the exercises and listing all graduates and prize winners. Today the program runs some 48 pages and contains the names of graduating seniors and advanced degree recipients. Also included are the names of the processional participants, honorary degree recipients, lists of students earning departmental honors, undergraduate awards, prizes, and commissions, fellowships, retirements, and winners of the President’s distinguished teaching awards. Background information on the history of the trustees of the university, the Commencement Committee and the Senior Class Steering Committee is also provided.

 

A Princeton Companion, by Alexander Leitch explains more about the changes of commencement.

“Princeton held its first commencement in the Newark, New Jersey “meetinghouse.“ Upon moving to Princeton in 1756 commencement services were held in Nassau Hall until 1764 when they were moved to the First Presbyterian Church. In 1892 they were moved to Alexander Hall and in 1922 moved a final time to outside the front of Nassau Hall, where they are still held today. In the event of rain, commencement is moved to Jadwin Gymnasium. Observed in the fall until 1843, the celebration was moved to the spring in 1844.

Commencement activities continue for nearly a week, beginning with alumni returning to campus for alumni/faculty forums on the Thursday afternoon before commencement. Saturday afternoon the annual alumni P-Rade occurs, as well as class reunions usually held outdoors under tents. On Sunday students and their families attend a baccalaureate service in the morning, the president’s garden party in the afternoon and a concert in the evening. Monday is devoted to Class Day exercises, departmental receptions and a senior dance. Formal commencement exercises occur on Tuesday. An academic procession to Nassau Hall begins the festivities, followed by an invocation, the conferring of bachelor degrees, recognition of honors graduates, the valedictory speech, the conferring of master, doctor and honorary degrees, remarks by the president, and the singing of “Old Nassau.”

(From http://paw.princeton.edu/issues/2009/07/15/pages/9577/)

The tradition of short, typically lighthearted speeches from two or three graduating seniors at Class Day began in 2001, when class president Justin Browne ’01 added them to the program, along with a “celebrity” guest speaker. “A lot of the [Commencement events] are just pomp and circumstance,” Browne said, “so we wanted to make Class Day speeches something fun that students get to do for themselves.”

In the coming weeks we will be posting a number of complementary posts related to Commencement Week activities, including a number of newly digitized items that will be posted on our Reel Mudd Audiovisual Blog.