This Week in Princeton History for August 17-23

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, three professors miss an eclipse, four juniors secure an apartment in Plainsboro to avoid eating tofu, and more.

August 17, 1788—At a meeting of the faculty, Henry Purcell, a minister’s son, is “found guilty of profane swearing and other irregularities.”

August 19, 1887—Three Princeton professors who have traveled to Russia to observe a total solar eclipse 30 miles northeast of Moscow are unable to see it due to an overcast sky.

August 20, 1983—Dissatisfied with options on campus, four members of of the Class of 1985 obtain a lease on a 3-bedroom apartment in Plainsboro. They considered the Dickinson co-op, but it was “too radical,” the Princetonian will explain, for one of the roommates to bear, quoting Peter Noto: “Tofu this, tofu that. We’d have had beancurd coming out of our ears.”

Photo of four roommates.

Clipping from the Daily Princetonian.

August 22, 1911—The seventh annual conference of the Chinese Students Alliance of the Eastern States begins at Princeton today. There are 150 participants. The 15 women in attendance are staying at Cap and Gown Club.

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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This Week in Princeton History for November 27-December 3

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, undergraduates protest the presence of African Americans in chapel, a computer virus is spreading all over campus, and more.

November 28, 1868—Students at the College of New Jersey (Princeton) begin circulating a petition to ban African Americans from chapel exercises after James McCosh allows a black student from Princeton Theological Seminary to attend his lectures on the life of Jesus, but few faculty are willing to sign it and McCosh remains unmoved.

Clipping from New York Tribune, December 8, 1868. The relevant portion reads as follows: “A young man (colored), of fine abilities and address, a graduate of a Western college, and at present a student of the Theological Seminary of this place, has dared to present himself at the College Chapel on Sunday afternoon for the purpose of listening to the President’s [McCosh’s] lectures without the permission of the sympathizers of the ‘Lost Cause,’ who feeling themselves deeply injured are now circulating a protest, which being duly signed, will be presented to the Faculty protesting against the further privilege of colored men entering the Chapel during any Chapel exercise. Thus far no movement has been made by the more liberal minded against this pernicious protest, for they have confidence in the good sense of the Faculty, and believe that such an article will be treated by them with contempt.”

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