This Week in Princeton History for December 2-8

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, campus proctors nab serial burglars, a comedian gives an ominous warning, and more.

December 2, 1942—Charles Bagley III ’44 writes to the Daily Princetonian in response to a November 30 editorial that, among other things, called for African Americans to have equality under the law. “Did [the author] choose to ignore the question of states’ rights is concerned[?] On second thought, has he ever heard of states’ rights?”

December 3, 1920—Campus proctors arrest two men accused of burglarizing dormitories at Princeton for two years by brazenly going into students’ rooms while they were out and filing the students’ suitcases with whatever they wanted, then walking out with the suitcases in broad daylight.

Campus proctor William Coans (“Bill Coons”), ca. 1920. Historical Photograph Collection, Individuals Series (AC067), Box 1.

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This Week in Princeton History for January 11-17

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the campus tries to get back into the swing of things after the holidays, a professor expresses irritation with William Jennings Bryan, and more.

January 11, 1945—Princeton University Librarian Julian P. Boyd’s lunch with United States President Franklin Delano Roosevelt sparks rumors that he is being considered for the position of Librarian of Congress.

January 13, 1882—Feeling a bit of the post-holiday blues, the Princetonian asks, “The recreations of the holiday season have been thoroughly enjoyed, and we now settle down to—work?”

January 14, 1814—The faculty of the College of New Jersey (Princeton) determine that the “villainous acts” of January 9 (an arsonist attack on the College privy) was the work of young men not affiliated with the school and turn the matter over to civil authorities.

January 15, 1923—Princeton University geology professor William B. Scott responds in frustration to anti-evolution activist William Jennings Bryan’s local lecture asserting that the theory is a menace to religion, civilization, and society: “Upon that subject he is an ignoramus. … His arguments are absurd; he does not know what he is talking about; he does not even want to learn.”


William Jennings Bryan boxes with a monkey in front of a huge crowd. Donald R. McKee, “Why Dempsey and Wills?” Political Cartoon Collection (MC180), Box 22.

For last week’s installment in this series, click here.

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