This Week in Princeton History for May 16-22

In this week’s installment of our recurring series, the administration bans automobiles on campus, a student writes to a friend to say being admitted to Princeton has not improved him, and more.

May 18, 1925—In response to student complaints, starting today, private automobiles, motorcycles, and carriages will no longer be permitted on Princeton’s campus, except if needed for business purposes. Students have expressed concerns about the way these vehicles tear up the grass and make it too noisy to study.

Three students with a car on campus, ca. 1920s. Historical Photograph Collection (AC112), Box SP14, Item No. 3412.

May 19, 1951—In observance of Armed Forces Day, local shops include military exhibits in their window displays.

May 20, 1877—James McCosh permits students to experiment with a “camp prayer-meeting,” holding the usual prayer service outdoors instead of indoors.

May 21, 1782—Ashbel Green writes to a friend, “I can assure you that I am not one inch taller, nor, that I know of, one whit the better for my admittance to Nassau Hall.”

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 July 1-7

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, Harriet van Ingen joins its geologists on a trip to Newfoundland, a fire means Commencement will have to find a new home, and more.

July 1, 1927—Princeton’s new “car rule,” which prohibits students from driving cars within the Borough of Princeton, takes effect.

July 3, 1913—Princeton geologists set sail for Newfoundland. Harriet Van Ingen, wife of professor Gilbert Van Ingen, is along to aid the expedition.

Harriet Van Ingen at the Princeton University geology expedition’s camp in Newfoundland, 1913. Department of Geosciences Records (AC139), Box 19.

July 4, 1937—Though fireworks-related deaths nationwide on this date reach a high of 563, a new statewide ban on private use of firecrackers is credited with preventing deaths in town.

July 6, 1835—Nassau Hall’s evening prayer service in the chapel is disrupted by a cry of “fire” from the street. Students flee, leaving College of New Jersey president James Carnahan standing at a pulpit in an empty room. It turns out that some leftover Independence Day fireworks have ignited at the nearby First Presbyterian Church, which is now engulfed in flames. The loss of the building is disruptive to college life, because it is typically used for Commencement and other events throughout the year.

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 March 2-8

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, juniors take up roller skating when cars are banned, a fire forces the school to start over almost from scratch, and more.

March 2, 1927—In order to protest the new “car rule,” which bans student use of automobiles on campus, Princeton juniors take to roller skating. The New York Times reports on their activities, noting the posters the skaters pinned to their shirts, with various comic slogans, including “And Mama said I could.” Five of the skaters will be photographed for the March 13, 1927 issue of the New York Herald Tribune. Although their efforts capture national attention, ultimately the car rule will remain in effect for decades.

3_with_car_ca1920s_AC112_BoxSP14_Item_3412

Three students with a car on campus, ca. 1920s, presumably before the ban on student use of automobiles. Historical Photograph Collection (AC112), Box SP14, Item No. 3412.

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