Princeton’s Bulletin Elm

By Zachary Bampton ’20 with April C. Armstrong *14

On September 29, 1882, one writer for the Princetonian (then published every other week rather than daily) remarked that the Bulletin Elm was “fast filling out its days” and would soon be “a thing of the past”. Almost 140 years later, few remember the role the Bulletin Elm played in Princeton tradition. It was a physical bulletin for generations of students, and then for nearly forty years, a section of our campus newspaper bore its name. Looking back more than a century now, we hope to shine some light on this fabled tree and probe its place in our historical memory.

Princeton’s Bulletin Elm, ca. 1880. Historical Photograph Collection, Grounds and Buildings Series (AC111), Box MP007, Image No. 160.

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This Week in Princeton History for September 9-15

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a winner of the Pepsi-Cola Scholarship chooses Princeton, the U-Store opens at 36 University Place, and more.

September 9, 1915—In The Nation, Princeton University philosophy professor Warner Fite warns of the pitfalls of public universities, especially the risk they pose to academic freedom: “Donors may sometimes be exacting, but at length they die, while the Legislature goes on forever.”

September 10, 1945—The Princeton Bulletin announces that one of the recipients of the new Pepsi-Cola Scholarship (“this latest advertising wrinkle”) chose Princeton and is now enrolled.

Edward House ’50, pictured here in the 1950 Nassau Herald, was one of the first recipients of Pepsi’s scholarship program, which lasted only a few years, 1945-1948. House appears to have been the student the Princeton Bulletin wrote about in 1945. A total of nine of the 489 winners of the full-tuition, 4-year scholarship chose Princeton. In addition to tuition, the program covered travel expenses and included a small stipend of $25/month. It made it possible for many students who would not otherwise have been able to afford to attend the college they wanted, or even college at all, to get an education.

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This Week in Princeton History for April 25-May 1

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, John F. Kennedy urges students to enter politics, the campus bids farewell to a landmark, and more.

April 25, 1957—Senator John F. Kennedy addresses the Class of 1957 in Dillon Gymnasium, urging their involvement in politics as “intellectuals…who deal with the truth, unlike politicians who deal in half-truths—in order to keep the voters’ interest.”


Photo from the Daily Princetonian.

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