This Week in Princeton History for September 6-12

In this week’s installment of our recurring series, the alum who chose Princeton’s colors passes away, a local quarantine is in place, and more.

September 6, 1927—William Libbey, Class of 1877, who was responsible for choosing orange and black as Princeton’s colors, was the first person to earn a doctorate from Princeton (in 1879), and taught geography at Princeton for 41 years, dies at the age of 72 after a long and surprisingly diverse career. In the world at large, he will also be remembered for winning a silver medal in the 1912 Olympics, serving in the Army during World War I, and serving a term as president of the National Rifle Association.

William Libbey, ca. 1880s. Historical Photograph Collection, Individuals Series (AC067).

September 7, 1900—Due to a local outbreak of diphtheria, some residents of Princeton are in quarantine.

September 8, 1830—At the meeting of the Nassau Hall Temperance Society, a professor in the process of compiling an alumni directory said that “he had been astounded, and most deeply pained to find the ravages which intemperance had in a few years made among the graduates of the institution. In some instances, as many as one-fourth of large classes had fallen sacrifices to the devouring monster, and some of them under the most afflictive and heart-rending circumstances.”

September 10, 1792—Four students found to have played cards on the Sabbath are disciplined. They must confess their actions to the whole student body, return property won during the game, and “solemnly promise never to do the like again while at College.”

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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This Week in Princeton History for February 1-7

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, house carpentry helps pay student expenses, Joline Hall opens, and more.

February 1, 1830—Philadelphia’s Christian Advocate reports that a student “with no relations to aid him, except a brother from whom he receives some clothing” is working his way through Princeton as a house carpenter.

February 2, 1988—Drinking at Eating Club sign-ins sends 7 to the hospital and 39 to the infirmary, drawing national media attention to Princeton. The Daily Princetonian will pronounce the events “an unqualified nightmare.”

February 3, 1933—Joline Hall opens, and its first residents are moving in.

Drawing of Joline Hall. Historical Photograph Collection, Grounds and Buildings Series (AC111), Box MP52, Image No. 1840.

February 6, 1876—Students gather in the college Chapel to hear from internationally famed revivalists Dwight L. Moody and Ira David Sankey. Later reports say the visit inspired many students to engage in one-on-one evangelism among their peers.

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 December 7-13

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, concerns about local residents corrupting undergraduates are expressed, sophomores cancel plans to burn a dean in effigy, and more.

December 8, 1835—A new academic year begins. The Class of 1838, which began with 12 and grew to 24 during the previous academic year, absorbs 50 new classmates.

December 9, 1786—A committee reports to the New York Manumission Society: “With great satisfaction we communicate to the society the agreeable accounts of the exertions made in different states, and also in Great Britain, towards the emancipation of the unfortunate Africans—That to this end public orations have been made and received with great applause at the colleges of New Haven and Princeton and of Cambridge, in Great Britain, in which the injustice of holding Africans in slavery, hath been depicted in the most lively colors that sound judgment and elegant imaginations could form.”

December 11, 1868—A letter to the editor of the Princeton Standard warns that not enough residents of the town take temperance seriously enough. “How many times has the law which forbids the sale of intoxicating drinks to the students of Colleges, or other literary institutions, been enforced in Princeton during the last year? And how many of the graduates of the College of New Jersey now fill drunkards graves, or are fast hastening toward them, under the influence of habits of intoxication contracted, and confirmed, while residing in Princeton during their College course?”

In this sketch by an unknown artist ca. 1863 (”It’s a Way We Have at Old Nassau”), students at the College of New Jersey (Princeton) are shown drinking to excess while playing cards. Historical Photograph Collection, Campus Life Series (AC112), Box MP159, Image No. 4395.

December 13, 1999—Sophomore class officers have decided to cancel their plans to burn Dean of Student Life Janina Montero in effigy to protest the recent ban on the Nude Olympics after a flood of disapproving emails from members of the Class of 2002. The Daily Princetonian quotes Joanna Ganson ’02: “Burning someone in effigy…should be used for important protests, not to protest not running around naked.”

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 12-18

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a rally mourns the death of Matthew Shepard, controversy surrounds an advertisement in the Daily Princetonian, and more.

October 13, 1998—About 100 Princeton University students rally to mourn the loss of Matthew Shepard, a student at the University of Wyoming who was tortured and murdered in an anti-gay hate crime. Caroline Baker ’02, co-president of Princeton’s Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Alliance, says she is particularly affected by Shepard’s death because he “had just been doing what we had been doing—planning the LGB awareness week.”

Clipping from the Daily Princetonian. Caption reads: “Students sing at the candlelight vigil held Monday night in memory of hate-crime victim Matthew Shepard, who died earlier that day.”

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This Week in Princeton History for July 13-19

After an unscheduled but unavoidable delay, we are returning with our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni. In this week’s installment, a rising sophomore is unable to avoid being drafted despite his opposition to the Vietnam War, a recent graduate’s senior thesis provides suggestions for improving bridge safety in town, and more.

July 13, 1972—Brian K. Kemple ’75, unable to escape the draft by any legal means, is compulsorily inducted into the U.S. Army. Kemple, who will train to be a Russian-language interpreter, is opposed to the Vietnam War.

July 14, 1964—A new local ordinance banning the purchase of alcoholic beverages for minors means Princeton University will no longer throw a beer party for the underclassmen who participate in the Cane Spree.

July 15, 1991—Janet McKay *74 becomes president of Mills College.

July 16, 1985—Elizabeth Jones ’83 is vindicated: Though no immediate action followed after she sent her senior thesis to the Mercer County engineer, the Harrison Street bridge is now closed for repairs. Jones, a civil engineering major, had inspected the bridge and found a broken support strut, rusted bracing, and other hazards that rendered the entire structure dangerous.

Harrison Street Bridge, ca. 1910s. Historical Postcard Collection (AC045).

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 19-25

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, Langston Hughes recites poetry, a third of the women in the Graduate School drop out, and more.

March 19, 1877—At a temperance meeting on campus, nine students sign a pledge to abstain from alcohol.

March 22, 1928—Langston Hughes recites poetry in Alexander Hall.

March 23, 1987—Dragoljub Cetkovic, a former Princeton University graduate student, confesses to poisoning a tea bag at a local grocery store.

March 25, 1963—The Daily Princetonian reports that a third of the female students in the Graduate School are dropping out.

Clipping from the Daily Princetonian. For more on the early history of women in the Graduate School, see our previous post on this topic.

For last week’s 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 June 26-July 2

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the Board of Trustees expresses concern about vices on campus, a trek up Denali raises money for AIDS research, and more.

June 26, 1790—Having just returned from an evening at David Hamilton’s Tavern, four students put a calf in the pulpit of Nassau Hall as a prank, then flip the outhouse over.

June 28, 1848—The Board of Trustees, noting that “the vice of intemperance has prevailed among the students to an alarming degree,” directs the faculty to expel any student “who is ascertained to be in the habit of commonly using intoxicating drinks, or of frequenting taverns.”

Sketch by unknown author depicting students drinking at Princeton, “It’s a Way We Have at Old Nassau,” ca. 1863. Historical Photograph Collection, Campus Life Series (AC112), MP159, Image No. 4395.

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