This Week in Princeton History for October 17-23

In this week’s installment of our recurring series, a U.S. president visits his student son, a building gets a name, and more.

October 17, 1882—Sitting U.S. president Chester Arthur visits his son at Princeton (Chester Alan Arthur II, Class of 1885) and gives a brief address from the steps of James McCosh’s home expressing his confidence in the institution, as will be reported in the Hartford Daily Courant.

October 21, 1904—The Board of Trustees formally approves the naming of Seventy-Nine Hall in honor of the Class of 1879.

Class of 1879 Hall postcard, ca. 1900s. (Colors digitally enhanced.) Historical Postcard Collection (AC045).

October 22, 1846—A fireworks display puts “Dickinson” and “Carnahan” in lights to celebrate Princeton’s centennial. The Spirit of the Times will report, “As the first name appeared there was considerable excitement, but as this died away, and the magic name of ‘Carnahan’ burst into view, the sky was rent with acclamations…”

October 23, 1957—On the first anniversary of the beginning of the unsuccessful Hungarian Revolution, refugee student Charles R. Legendy ’59 tells an audience of 500 at a special ceremony at Nassau Hall how the events of the previous year have impacted him. “In those days a little people which was thought by the world to be coward and communist defeated the occupation army. … Everyone was shouting loud: We are free; we are free again after more than 400 years of oppression.” As Steven Rockefeller ’58 will observe at the same event, however, the Hungarian Revolution has become “a symbol of failure and tragedy” because Hungary “was sacrificed in the name of world peace…”

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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This Week in Princeton History for January 3-9

In this week’s installment of our recurring series, a battle reenactment goes a bit awry, a professor is called upon to study the problem of mendicant visitors, and more.

January 3, 1877—The Newark and Pennsylvania militia reenact the Battle of Princeton as part of its centennial celebration. They are hampered in part by some of the soldiers getting stranded at Princeton Junction without a train into town, but they walk the three miles in deep snow. The train catches up to them on the way and pushes them all into a 4-foot snow drift, as the New York Tribune will later report.

Reenacting the Battle of Princeton has been an ongoing, snowy pastime for generations. This photo dates from the late 20th century. Princeton Alumni Weekly Photograph Collection (AC126), Box 27.

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This Week in Princeton History for December 6-12

In this week’s installment of our recurring series, an ad invites students to participate in an experiment, Princeton pledges all of its resources to government, and more.

December 6, 1875—As the United States approaches its Centennial year, former Senator and future Secretary of the Interior Carl Schurz lectures to students on the positives and problems in American government, attributing a “decline in moral sentiment and political tone” to widespread corruption and loyalty to party over statesmanship.

December 8, 1961—A classified ad invites students to participate in a sensory deprivation experiment to determine how hallucinations might be induced, though they are not informed of the purpose of the study.

Classified ad from the Daily Princetonian.

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This Week in Princeton History for June 25-July 1

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a junior converts to Christianity, the centennial is celebrated, and more.

June 28, 1873—Rioge Koe, a Japanese student in the Class of 1874, gives his sword to Princeton president James McCosh. He writes a note to accompany the sword asserting that he has “surrendered a barbarous custom of ‘the East’ before the higher, nobler and more enlightened manner of the Western civilization” on the occasion of his conversion to Christianity.

We believe that this is Rioge Koe, Class of 1874, center, ca. 1873. This image is cropped from the Class of 1874’s junior year photo, found in the Historical Photograph Collection, Class Photographs Series (AC181), Box MP03. The Princetonian described Koe as “a popular and able man.” During McCosh’s presidency, ethnic diversity increased on campus. Koe’s time at Princeton overlapped with Hikoichi Orita of the Class of 1876, who also converted to Christianity while a student here, as well as Yokichi Yamada and Girota Yamaoka, who both pursued a partial course load in the 1871-1872 academic year.

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