This Week in Princeton History for August 3-9

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a change allows for Greek literature to be studied in English, a professor offers encouraging words in Alexander Hall, and more.

August 3, 1898—Harold Perry Smith of the Class of 1898 sets sail for Puerto Rico, having enlisted in the Army immediately after his graduation in order to fight in the Spanish-American War.

August 6, 1936—Registrar Wilbur F. Kerr announces some new offerings in the fall curriculum. Because incoming students are no longer assumed to have studied Greek ahead of matriculation, Greek literature may be studied in English, and the Classics department will also offer a course in elementary Greek. Due to a broader interest in modern languages, Princeton will also now offer a course in Japanese.

August 7, 1880—The Trenton Sentinel reports that applications for admission to Princeton are down. The Sentinel attributes the decline to the spring’s typhoid epidemic: “The recent sickness at the college has something to do with it.”

August 8, 1894—In an address to “a company of historical pilgrims” in Alexander Hall, Professor William Sloane says “The lesson to be learned from Princeton’s historic scenes should be that intellect and not numbers controls the world; that ideas and not force overmaster bigness; that truth and right, supported by strong purpose and high principle, prevail in the end.”

Alexander Hall, ca. 1900. Historical Postcard Collection (AC045), Box 1.

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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This Week in Princeton History for June 8-14

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, thanks are offered to Harriet Crocker Alexander, an anonymous donor offers the colony of New Jersey funding for a scholarship for a Native American, and more.

June 9, 1894—During the formal presentation of Alexander Hall, Princeton’s president, Francis Patton, thanks Harriet Crocker Alexander for her gift to the school.

Harriet Crocker Alexander, pictured here ca. 1880s, donated the funds to build Princeton University’s Alexander Hall in 1890. In accordance with her wishes, Alexander Hall is not named in her honor, but in honor of her husband, her husband’s father, and her husband’s grandfather (Charles B. Alexander, Class of 1870; Henry M. Alexander, Class of 1840; and Archibald Alexander, Class of 1810). Historical Photograph Collection, Individuals Series (AC067), Box 1.

June 10, 1974—Women’s Wear Daily observes, “Students at Princeton, taking advantage of spring weather, are showing lots of leg—male and female. The big favorite for both sexes—short cutoff jeans. Most girls are keeping their skirts short. It’s okay for those with bronzed, shapely limbs, but forget about those pasty whites.”

June 13, 1755—An anonymous donor in Great Britain sends a donation of over £300 to the colony of New Jersey to establish an endowed fund for one of four possible purposes:

  • To support a missionary “among the Indians in North America”
  • To support “a pious & well qualified Schoolmaster in teaching the Indians the English language & the principles of natural and revealed religion”
  • To support the education of “a well qualified Indian Youth at the College of New Jersey…in order to his instructing his Countrymen in the English language & the Christian religion or preaching the Gospel to them,” or
  • To support the education of a student from Scotland or England at the College of New Jersey to prepare “for teaching or preaching the Gospel among the Indians in case an Indian Youth of suitable Qualifications cannot at some particular time, be obtained”

June 14, 1886—The Princetonian celebrates its tenth anniversary with a special issue detailing its early history.

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 June 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 delayed cookie shipment arrives, Commencement moves to a new home, and more.

June 12, 1996—Cookies mailed to Princeton-in-Asia intern Laura Burt on November 1, 1995 finally arrive unopened in Wuhan, China.

June 13, 1894—Commencement Exercises are moved from the First Presbyterian Church (which will later be renamed Nassau Presbyterian Church) to the new Alexander Hall (also known as Commencement Hall) for the first time, where they will be held until 1922.

The 1894 program for the College of New Jersey’s 147th annual Commencement (later named Princeton University but we often find “Princeton College” on official documents rather than its official name; see caption below for June 15th’s entry for more details. (Princeton University Commencement Records (AC115), Box 3.)

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