This Week in Princeton History for August 9-15

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, an earthquake hits campus without negative consequences, the region anticipates a new transportation option shortening trips to and from New York, and more.

August 9, 1932—While on a scientific expedition in Wyoming, William Zachary Taylor ’32 discovers a new fossil, named the “Tubulon Taylori” in his honor. It is the first ancient ancestor of the anteater to be uncovered.

August 11, 1884—Professor Charles Augustus Young writes of the earthquake the day before that has confused the residents of the American northeast: “Taking it altogether it was certainly an excellent earthquake, vigorous enough to be instructive and interesting, but not so cruel and ferocious like those which have desolated other lands and almost ruined nations.”

August 14, 1861—The New York Daily Tribune reports on the exodus of Southern students from Princeton: “Before they left they became excessively insolent, broke off intercourse with Northern students, and put on plantation airs to an extent that brod [sic] very distinct mutterings of coming thunder. They herded together, rejoiced over the fall of Sumter, and made themselves so especially offensive that the whole town was rejoiced to be rid of them. Ask any resident of Princeton and he will tell you that the place has not been so quiet and respectable for twenty years, as since those ruffians have cleared out.”

August 15, 1837—New Yorkers are celebrating the fact that “When the rail road is completed, we shall be able to reach Princeton from this city in less than three hours.”

A view of campus showing the train now commonly known as the “Dinky” with students playing baseball in the background, 1868. Historical Photograph Collection, Grounds and Buildings Series (AC111), Box MP16, Image No. 383.

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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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.

Fact check: We always strive for accuracy, but if you believe you see an error, please contact us.

This Week in Princeton History for September 2-8

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, Frist Campus Center opens, an alum writes to Princeton about surviving a major earthquake in Japan, and more.

September 2, 1973—An article in today’s Sunday magazine of the New York Times provokes contentious correspondence between Dean of the College Neil L. Rudenstine ’56 and the author, Harvard professor Martin Kilson. Kilson claims that Princeton, like many other institutions, has lowered its standards when increasing its admission of African Americans. Rudenstine insists Kilson’s portrayal of academic performance among African Americans at Princeton as subpar is inaccurate.

September 5, 2000—Frist Campus Center opens.

Frist Campus Center, September 2000. Image from negatives found in Office of Communications Records (AC168), Box 197, Folder 14.

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This Week in Princeton History for August 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 member of the Class of 1963 finds his music festival in upstate New York more popular than expected, a professor recaps the recent earthquake on campus, and more.

August 12, 1926—After a woman faints and falls into the Yukon River in Carcross, Alaska, George Seward of the Class of 1927 jumps in and rescues her.

August 15, 1969—The concert Joel Rosenman ’63 organized with his business partner, John Roberts, turns out to be more popular than initially expected, as an audience of more than 400,000 overwhelms the dairy farm in Bethel, New York where it takes place. As a result, Rosenman and Roberts will spend more than a decade working to repay debts they will incur in association with the three-day music festival best known as Woodstock, though Woodstock is 60 miles from Bethel.

Clipping from the Daily Princetonian, September 10, 1969.

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