This Week in Princeton History for December 19-25

In this week’s installment of our recurring series, alumni have the chance to see proposed dormitory plans, a student plot to make eggnog is foiled, and more.

December 22, 1890—The Charlotte News notes that “A large number of Princeton students passed the city yesterday en route south.”

December 23, 1908—Today’s issue of the Princeton Alumni Weekly contains drawings of the proposed new dormitories to be built on the northwest corner of campus, thanks to a generous donation from Margaret Olivia Slocum Sage. Ultimately, none of the buildings in the group, later to be known as Rockefeller College, will bear her name, but one of the dining halls will be dubbed “Russell Sage Hall” in honor of her husband.

Though it is not that unusual to find references to “Sage Hall” or “Sage Tower” in archival records from the early 1910s, this tower is now much better known as Holder Tower, named for Christopher Holder, a 17th-century ancestor of Margaret Olivia Slocum Sage. Holder was an early Quaker who endured religious persecution in Massachusetts Bay Colony and returned to England to escape execution. Historical Photograph Collection, Grounds and Buildings Series (AC111), Box MP51, Image No. 1788.

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This Week in Princeton History for December 20-26

In this week’s installment of our recurring series, the son of the Mississippi governor’s presence becomes controversial, prominent professors oppose fallout shelters, and more.

December 22, 1821—The New Hampshire Sentinel reports that the will of Elias Boudinot has left a portion of his estate to Princeton. The institution will use the gifts as follows:

  • $10,000 will be used to endow two fellowships, one in history and one in modern languages
  • 1,004 acres of land in New York State will be sold to pay for a cabinet to display natural history specimens
  • His books will be added to the library

December 23, 1980—University chaplain John T. Walsh receives a call from an Iranian official asking him to perform Christmas services for Iran’s American hostages.

December 25, 1850—A writer in the Worcester, Massachusetts National Aegis accuses Mississippi’s governor, John A. Quitman, of hypocrisy, because Quitman (a “Fire-Eater”) is pro-secession but has sent his son to Princeton. “So, doubtless, it would be found that many other fire-eating orators, who are urging their Southern fellow-citizens not to buy of the North and not to wear or eat any thing [sic] that comes from the North, send their own children here to be educated. This shows at once the inconsistency of their course, the hollowness and hypocrisy of their declarations, and the inestimable value of the Union they threaten to destroy.”

John A. Quitman, governor of Mississippi (shown here), was the father of Frederick Henry Quitman (Class of 1851). Photo courtesy the National Archives and Records Administration.

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This Week in Princeton History for January 13-19

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, frustrations arise from confiscated toasters and banned bicycles, Southerners celebrate Robert E. Lee’s birthday, and more.

January 14, 1998—Graduate student Kieran Healy *01’s “The Grinch Who Stole Breakfast” complains of a Christmas present being confiscated by overzealous dormitory inspectors, although he does not live in a dorm, because the unopened toaster was against rules prohibiting heat-producing appliances in campus housing. “My house has a six-ring Viking Professional gas stove in it, so why didn’t they confiscate that as well?”

January 15, 1974—Brendan Byrne ’49 is sworn in as New Jersey’s 47th governor.

Brendan Byrne ’49 (center) at Princeton University for his first Board of Trustees meeting (New Jersey’s governors are ex-officio members of the board), 1974. Office of Communications Records (AC168), Box 128.

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This Week in Princeton History for December 26-January 1

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the Christmas holiday is extended to 9:45AM, a graduate eulogizes George Washington, and more.

December 26, 1944—The President of Princeton University generously allows for an extension of the Christmas holiday, dismissing students from classes that meet at 7:45 and 8:45AM. Classes resume at 9:45AM.

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