University Archives materials in new Art Museum exhibition

A new exhibition at the Princeton University Art Museum features items borrowed from the Princeton University Archives. Princeton and the Gothic Revival: 1870-1930 is a look into "Americans’ changing attitudes to the art, architecture, and style of the Middle Ages through the lens of Princeton University around the turn of the twentieth century" and opens to the public this Saturday, February 25, 2012.

Chapel exterior

Alexander Hoyle for Cram and Ferguson, architects

The exhibit includes 10 items loaned from the Princeton University Archives, including the signature image for the exhibition, a watercolor of the University Chapel (above). Other items include architectural drawings of the Marquand Chapel, Holder Hall, Madison Hall and the South Court Tower, and some suggested additions for the university library from 1898, which at that time was housed in Chancellor Green.

One piece needed some intricate and delicate conservation efforts from University Paper Conservator Ted Stanley. A watercolor of the proposed exterior of the A. Page Brown, Class of 1877 Biological Laboratory had split in half. Stanley was able to restore the watercolor and the board it was mounted on to its original form to hide the separation. We challenge you to find the seam!

This is the first time that any of the archives material has been loaned and displayed at the Princeton Art Museum. The exhibit will run from February 25th to June 24, 2012

For more about Princeton and the Gothic Revival: 1870-1930 or the Princeton Art Museum, visit their website.

The 1962 Orange Key Society film: please tell us more!

Since it was posted on Princeton’s Campus Life channel, “An Undergraduate View of Princeton University,” produced by the Orange Key Society in 1962, has received unexpected attention. In the film, which is staged as an instructional meeting for Orange Key guides, Charles W. Greenleaf ’63, vice-president of the Keycept Program, discusses what distinguishes Princeton from other universities, with emphasis on teacher-student relationships and opportunities for individual growth. Created several years before rebellion and reforms swept the campus, the well-scripted film is an interesting artifact.

The film includes extensive footage of faculty and campus. Subjects discussed are: faculty and the preceptorial system (with professors John Turkevich (chemistry) and Eric Goldman (history) 3:30); independent research projects (with Professor D.C. Hazen (aeronautical engineering) 6:52); research at Firestone Library (9:13); freshman advisers (11:29 and 13:44); the honor system (15:33); financial aid (17:23); dormitories (18:02); extracurricular activities and sports (19:30).

Documents within the University Archives reveal very little about the context in which the film was produced. We therefore are calling on alumni who participated. Can you tell us anything about the making of the film? Who wrote the script? What was the audience, and how long was the film in use? We look forward to your comments!

This 16mm film is part of the University Archives’ Historical Audiovisual Collection (item no. 0091).

Lights, Camera, Action!

The Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library has launched a new blog dedicated to its audiovisual holdings. Through it, we will announce items that we have posted on Princeton University’s two YouTube Channels.  We encourage viewers to post comments that will contribute to our knowledge and understanding of these materials. In conjunction with the Library’s Preservation Office and the New Media Center, the University Archives has worked to digitize over 40 items and these, along with some films from our Public Policy Papers and additional materials, will be posted on a regular basis.

Our first entry is one of the oldest movies in our audiovisual collection, shot by the Class of 1921 during its graduation weekend (“The Princeton Newsreel Part I”) and its reunions in 1923 and 1926 (“The Princeton Newsreel Part II”). The staged scenes with class members and faculty, which are annotated, demonstrate that silent movies were a new medium. Part I includes scenes of the P-rade and Princeton-Yale baseball match, and named professors, trustees, and class members, followed by exercises with pipe smashing on Cannon Green (24:32). Shots of faculty include President John Grier Hibben (8:15), professors Radcliffe Heermance and Frederick Hutson (9:46), and Colonel William Libbey (13.58). Part II includes varsity rowing with a Princeton victory over Cornell and Yale on Carnegie Lake (26:00), and reunion scenes for 1923 and 1926. During the 1923 reunion the class brought a real tiger (30:03).

This silent 16mm film is part of the University Archives’ Historical Audiovisual Collection (item no. 1948).