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 June 27-July 3

In this week’s installment of our recurring series, New Jersey’s governor worries that the colonists won’t support a college, a court rules in favor of an alum, and more.

June 27, 1748—Governor Jonathan Belcher writes to the Committee of the West Jersey Society,

But as I find upon the Best inquiry hardly Sixty thousand Souls in the whole Province of New Jersey and most of them People that live by their day Labour, I am At Present much discouraged about a College Not Seeing where Money will be found to Build the House and to Support the Necessary Officers for the Assembly (Many of them Quakers) will do Nothing towards it…

June 28, 1920—In a letter to the editor of the Washington Bee, Marianna G. Brubaker writes, “If Wilson ‘battled for democracy’ at Princeton, it must have been white democracy, the only part of which he has the remotest conception.”

July 1, 1883—The Atlanta Constitution reports that U.S. President Chester Arthur’s son, Chester Alan Arthur II, Class of 1885, is known around Princeton’s campus as the “lion dude” and “the precious thing.”

July 3, 1973—The New York Supreme Court sides with William J. Thom ’63 in approving his application for the incorporation of Lambda Legal, overturning a lower court ruling that the gay rights organization was “neither benevolent nor charitable in ostensible purpose.”

Leaflet describing the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, ca. 1973. (Click to enlarge.) American Civil Liberties Union Records (MC001), Box 2997.

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.