This Week in Princeton History for January 11-17

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a newspaper pronounces the curriculum “fashionable” for including chemistry, rowing wins support at a mass meeting, and more.

January 11, 1805—The Albany Register notes that Princeton, among a handful of other colleges, offers students an education in chemistry, and notes “This extensive and useful science, is becoming gradually a part of regular and fashionable courses of study. And as soon as its great utility shall be more generally known and acknowledged, Chemistry, will be introduced into all colleges.”

January 13, 1877—Jacob Ridgway Wright, Class of 1879, visits the Stony Brook Sunday School in a Santa costume.

January 16, 1884—At a hastily-called mass meeting of the student body, attendees vote to establish rowing as a sport at Princeton, but strong opposition to it remains.

Though rowing was not supported by many students, a team had nonetheless been in existence for some time before the 1884 vote. This is Princeton’s varsity rowing team for the 1883-1884 academic year. Photo found in Athletics at Princeton: A History (1901).

January 17, 1994—Carrie Ryan ’95 struggles to reach her parents in Los Angeles on overloaded telephone circuits after the collapse of the Santa Monica freeway in the Northridge Earthquake. The 6.6 quake is the strongest ever to hit an urban area in the United States.

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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This Week in Princeton History for August 3-9

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a change allows for Greek literature to be studied in English, a professor offers encouraging words in Alexander Hall, and more.

August 3, 1898—Harold Perry Smith of the Class of 1898 sets sail for Puerto Rico, having enlisted in the Army immediately after his graduation in order to fight in the Spanish-American War.

August 6, 1936—Registrar Wilbur F. Kerr announces some new offerings in the fall curriculum. Because incoming students are no longer assumed to have studied Greek ahead of matriculation, Greek literature may be studied in English, and the Classics department will also offer a course in elementary Greek. Due to a broader interest in modern languages, Princeton will also now offer a course in Japanese.

August 7, 1880—The Trenton Sentinel reports that applications for admission to Princeton are down. The Sentinel attributes the decline to the spring’s typhoid epidemic: “The recent sickness at the college has something to do with it.”

August 8, 1894—In an address to “a company of historical pilgrims” in Alexander Hall, Professor William Sloane says “The lesson to be learned from Princeton’s historic scenes should be that intellect and not numbers controls the world; that ideas and not force overmaster bigness; that truth and right, supported by strong purpose and high principle, prevail in the end.”

Alexander Hall, ca. 1900. Historical Postcard Collection (AC045), Box 1.

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.