This Week in Princeton History for May 23-29

In this week’s installment of our recurring series, chapel services are praised, a donor comes through, and more.

May 24, 1851—A letter to the editor of the Trenton State Gazette describes chapel services:

If any of our alumni, or other college acquaintances, who associate the service of daily prayers with the old ‘Prayer Hall,’ its whittled benches and dingy walls, would drop in at the same exercises as they are now conducted, they would wonder at the change. The beautiful chapel, the painted pews, the carpeted and cushioned platform, and the sweet organ, give a new aspect to the whole service. It is true that now and then a student forgets the proprieties so much as to enter in his study-gown, and that some begin to leave the pews before the prayer is quite ended, but the general deportment is far better than in old times.

Princeton’s “Old Chapel,” 1862. (It was at that time simply the Chapel, but was dubbed “Old Chapel” following the construction of Marquand Chapel in 1882.) Historical Photograph Collection, Grounds and Buildings Series (AC111), Box MP28, Image No. 653.

May 25, 1961—Workers assemble a bench on the central campus as a memorial to landscape architect Beatrix Farrand.

May 28, 1989—A former Rutgers University student reportedly cuts nearly 1,000 pages worth of material from a number of bound journals in Firestone Library with a razor blade.

May 29, 1869—The Business Committee of the Board of Trustees meets to open bids for the construction of Dickinson Hall and finds that the cost will be higher than they initially thought ($75,000 instead of $50,000). Just before they decide to make the building less elaborate, Chancellor Green announces that his brother, John C. Green, will provide the funding for the additional expense.

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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This Week in Princeton History for January 6-12

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, many are curious about a veil hanging outside a window, undergraduates write poetry about their fears of a chickenpox epidemic, and more.

January 6, 1877—A green veil hanging outside a Dickinson Hall window sparks curiosity.

Dickinson Hall, ca. 1870s. Historical Photograph Collection, Grounds and Buildings Series (AC111), Box MP037, Image No. 1063.

January 7, 1940—Undergraduates hang a poem on the doorknob of Princeton president Harold W. Dodds’s office expressing fears of a chickenpox epidemic and requesting that classes be called off to prevent it:

Chicken pox’ll get us;

It’s a dangerous disease.

There should be two weeks’ recess;

Give it to us, please.

January 8, 1990—For the first time, Princeton’s faculty begins the process of revoking a Ph.D. The student’s dissertation has been found to have been extensively plagiarized.

January 11, 1817—Students from the College of New Jersey (Princeton) join with students from Princeton Theological Seminary to form a tract society.

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 October 22-28

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, police arrest 31 protesters, Woodrow Wilson is inaugurated Princeton’s president, and more.

October 22, 1945—At a brief ceremony in the Faculty Room of Nassau Hall, Princeton’s president, Harold W. Dodds, confers 20 undergraduate degrees, but only 11 graduates are present to receive their diplomas in person. Nicholas Katzenbach ’44, who completed his coursework in a Nazi prison camp, is among those who receive their degrees in absentia. With the exception of a World War II ceremony in which only four degrees were conferred, this is believed to be the smallest Commencement at Princeton since the 1750s.

As can be seen on this grade card for Nicholas deBelleville Katzenbach, originally a member of the Class of 1943, he had an unusual junior and senior year, with asterisks noting courses for which he received credit for work “pursued while a prisoner of war in a German prison camp…” (Click to enlarge image.) Undergraduate Academic Records 1921-2015 (AC198).

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This Week in Princeton History for May 9-15

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, President Taft is visiting, fire ravages the campus, and more.

May 11, 1912—U.S. President William Howard Taft is the guest of John Grier Hibben at Prospect House on campus, having come to celebrate Hibben’s inauguration as president of Princeton University. (Video here.)

Taft_at_Prospect_1912_AC067_Box_LP1

William Howard Taft at Prospect House. Historical Photograph Collection, Individuals Series (AC067), Box LP1.

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