This Week in Princeton History for June 14-20

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the Mills Tariff Bill is debated, the Prince offers a guide to “scarce” women’s restrooms, and more.

June 14, 1928—A member of the Class of 1913 is struck by lightning and dies just before joining classmates at an outdoor reunion dinner near Palmer Stadium.

June 18, 1843—Charles Godfrey Leland writes to his father to defend Princeton students against accusations of disrespecting President John Tyler during Tyler’s recent visit to campus, saying press reports exaggerated the incident. “It is true that they did hiss Tyler, but not much.”

June 19, 1888—Students debate the Mills Tariff Bill, which has split the Democratic Party and become the central issue of the 1888 presidential election.

June 20, 1970—For the sake of incoming female undergraduates, the Daily Princetonian’s Special Class of 1974 issue includes a list of women’s restrooms on campus, “a commodity last year’s coeds found scarce.”

Restroom in Palmer Physical Laboratory, ca. 1960s. Historical Photograph Collection, Grounds and Buildings Series (AC111), Box AD06, Image No. 8713.

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.

This Week in Princeton History for May 10-16

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the debate team loses to Harvard on immigration restrictions, the grading system is radically changed, and more.

May 10, 1947—In the Chicago Defender, W. E. B. Du Bois reports that Princeton University had written to him in 1910: “Princeton University has never had graduates of Negro descent.”

At the time W. E. B. DuBois received that letter, Princeton had several African American graduates, including I. W. L. Roundtree, Graduate Class of 1895. Clipping from the Trenton Evening Times.

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This Week in Princeton History for January 4-10

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the cost of attendance is estimated at $250-$300 per year, a sophomore has an unfortunate experience with a squirrel, and more.

January 5, 1972—The Anthropology faculty vote to adopt a statement opposing the return of the ROTC to Princeton. “ROTC has nothing in common with the humanitarian values stressed by the university, within the curriculum or outside it.”

January 6, 1830– The Augusta Chronicle prints cost comparisons for different colleges, noting that for a Philadelphia parent to send a student to Harvard or Yale it would cost about $300 per year, but $250 per year for Princeton because of the reduced traveling expenses. Parents in Georgia should expect a Princeton education to cost about $300 per year in total.

January 8, 1889—The Washington’s Birthday debate question is announced: “Resolved, That the Annexation of Canada would be detrimental to the United States.”

Program for Washington’s Birthday Exercises, College of New Jersey (“Princeton College”), February 22, 1889. Washington’s Birthday Celebration Records (AC200).f

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This Week in Princeton History for November 9-15

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a graduate student gets help from the FBI to track down stolen microscopic slides, the YWCA opens a Hostess House for Navy officers in training, and more.

Couple at Princeton, ca. 1950. Historical Subject Files (AC109), Box 1, Folder 2.

November 9, 1959—A graduate student has gotten the help of the FBI and is offering a $100 reward to anyone with information that leads to the discovery of his 500 stolen microscopic slides, which represent 3 years of research.

November 11, 1949—Princeton’s debate team loses to Yale on the question of whether women should commit suicide to avoid premarital sex or rape. Princeton argues that they should. Yale’s winning dissent focuses on how men will suffer if women die to avoid “dishonor.” “Dishonor can be fun. … Princeton’s theory can only result in mass feminine suicide. Shall we deprive the world of a ravishing woman simply because she is in danger of being ravished?”

November 12, 1928—Wallace M. Sinclair, Class of 1904, survives the sinking of the SS Vestris off the coast of Virginia, which kills more than 100 people.

November 13, 1918—The Princeton Girls Patriotic League (later the YWCA) opens a Hostess House in Quadrangle Club for the men training to be Navy paymasters who are living at the Graduate College.

Princeton’s Girls Patriotic League is visible behind the women of the New Jersey Red Cross in this parade down Nassau Street to raise money for the Liberty Loan Fund in 1918. Historical Photograph Collection, Grounds and Buildings Series (AC111), Box AD05, Image No. 8646.

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.

This Week in Princeton History for March 4-10

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, competing protests take place on Nassau Street, dormitory phones get voicemail, and more.

March 4, 1965—Competing groups of students, faculty, families, and other locals march in Palmer Square, one group to protest escalation of America’s military intervention in Vietnam and the other to support it. The group supporting military intervention ends their demonstration by laying down their protest signs and singing “Old Nassau,” while opponents gather signatures for a petition asking for an end to the bombing.

Image from the Daily Princetonian.

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This Week in Princeton History for April 23-29

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, opponents and supporters of Richard Nixon clash, an undergraduate riot shocks the nation, and more.

April 24, 1974—Students from the Attica Brigade in favor of Richard Nixon’s impeachment burn him in effigy in front of Blair Arch while supporters of Nixon throw water from the top of the arch to attempt to stop the protest.

Bumper stickers advocating the impeachment of Richard Nixon, ca. 1973-1974. American Civil Liberties Union Records (MC001), Box 2035, Folder 3.

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This Week in Princeton History for March 26-April 1

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the debate team takes up women’s suffrage, a letter defends Russell Crowe’s behavior on campus, and more.

March 26, 1957—Thanks to a local law prohibiting coin-operated games not requiring skill, the last of Princeton’s pinball machines is removed, saddening undergraduates.

Clipping from the Daily Princetonian.

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This Week in Princeton History for February 13-19

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a professor starts a controversial contraceptive hotline, the campus agrees on a method for resisting the British crown, and more.

February 13, 1967—Vassar’s debate team argues the merits of coeducation in Whig Hall. Vassar’s team, arguing that Princeton should educate women, wins by a vote of 36-11. Both single-gender schools will ultimately become fully coeducational in the same year (1969).

A member of the Vassar debate team makes her argument in Whig Hall, February 13, 1969. Photo from the Daily Princetonian.

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This Week in Princeton History for December 12-18

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the debate team wins its argument over football with Harvard, a yearbook cover change draws complaint, and more.

December 12, 1896—First Lady Frances Fulsom Cleveland draws student notice as she shops for a house in Princeton for her family to move into after Grover Cleveland finishes his presidency.

Frances_Cleveland_AC348_Box_1

Frances Fulsom Cleveland. Grover Cleveland Collection (AC348), Box 1.

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Howard Edwards Gansworth and the “Indian Problem” at Princeton

For people of European descent carving out space for themselves in the present borders of the United States in the 18th and 19th centuries, there was a major barrier: people already lived there. The nation did not regard this as an insurmountable hurdle, however. America tried a variety of things as it expanded westward: driving Native Americans across continually shifting borders, attempting to assimilate them into a dominant white culture, and employing a variety of approaches in between. As the United States consumed more and more territory occupied by American Indians who attempted to maintain ownership, conflicts worsened. In the late 19th century, a crisis point had been reached. In 1890 and 1891, the Lakota Sioux fought a losing battle over treaty violations and land use with the United States Army. The Ghost Dance War resulted in the deaths of dozens of combatants on both sides and hundreds of Lakota Sioux civilians during its best-known battle, the Wounded Knee Massacre. During this period, Native Americans came under particular scrutiny.

At the College of New Jersey (Princeton), opinions were mixed about this so-called “Indian Problem.” A few weeks after the Ghost Dance War ended, students debated what should be done. One claimed “that though the good Indian was not the dead Indian, yet the good Indian had not yet been found.” Samuel Semple of the Class of 1891, who was selected as the winner of the debate’s $1,000 prize, argued that the only thing to do was to adopt Richard Pratt’s program of forced assimilation, removing Native American children from their homes and sending them to boarding schools. Pratt later famously summed up his program’s rationale in this way: “All the Indian there is in the race should be dead. Kill the Indian in him, and save the man.”

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Cliosophic Society Archives (AC016), Box 84, Folder 31.

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