This Week in Princeton History for February 28-March 6

In this week’s installment of our recurring series, an honorary degree is controversial, students fear smallpox, and more.

March 1, 1836—The Baltimore Literary and Religious Magazine expresses outrage that Princeton has awarded William Gaston (Class of 1796) an honorary L.L.D., because they disapprove of thus honoring a Catholic. “We pronounce it a most gross outrage on all Protestant, and under the circumstances, on all proper feelings.”

William Gaston, Class of 1796. Undergraduate Alumni Records 1748-1920 (AC104), Box 60.

March 2, 1899—In spite of reassurances from the faculty that there is no danger of it spreading, many students have left Princeton out of fears of contracting smallpox from a fellow student who has a mild case.

March 4, 1943—Princeton receives word that its director of the Bureau of Student Aid and Employment, Richard W. Warfield ’30, who was on leave to serve in the Marines, has become the first Princeton administrator to die in World War II.

Richard Warfield ’30. Historical Photograph Collection, Individuals Series (AC067), Box 18.

March 6, 1982—A few disapproving locals smash a Terrace Club window during a Gay Alliance of Princeton dance at the clubhouse.

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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This Week in Princeton History for February 14-20

In this week’s installment of our recurring series, Paul Pry insults New Jersey, student journalists interview the “sphinx of Watergate,” and more.

February 14, 1835—Anne Royall’s Paul Pry takes Princeton to task for attempting to raise $100,000 in support of expanding its influence into the American west and abroad: “These men cannot and dare not say this College is intended to disseminate knowledge—if so, why have they not improved the people of their own State?—they being decidedly the most ignorant people in the Union, excepting one. … Let those hypocrites deny if they dare, that the ignorance of the people of New Jersey is proverbial.” Royall believes Princeton is plotting to destroy Catholics.

February 17, 1981—G. Gordon Liddy (the “sphinx of Watergate”) tells three student reporters with the Daily Princetonian that killing people is not necessarily immoral, and explains the plans he had to kill journalist Jack Anderson. He still believes this would have been justifiable.

G. Gordon Liddy. Photo from Daily Princetonian.

February 18, 1911—The Princetonian complains of inadequate walking paths for pedestrians on campus, asserting, “Another spot on the lower campus which now makes an excellent habitat for mud turtles is between Dod and Edwards.” They suggest the construction of boardwalks.

February 19, 1930—Theodore Whitefield Hunt, Class of 1865, celebrates his 86th birthday. “I am beginning to feel a little old,” he says.

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.