This Week in Princeton History for January 21-27

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, Indiana University’s new song is found to be plagiarized from “The Orange and the Black,” students take the first unproctored final exams, and more.

January 21, 1905—The Princeton Alumni Weekly publishes evidence that Frances Morgan Swain has plagiarized Princeton’s song, “The Orange and the Black,” for Indiana University’s “The Crimson and the White.”

Compare the lyrics to “The Orange and the Black,” as printed in the 1905 edition of the Carmina Princetonia and first copyrighted in 1894 (Princeton Music Collection (AC056), Box 2), to this excerpt from “The Crimson and the White” below:
Although Yale has always favored
The violets dark and blue
And the gentle sons of Harvard
To the crimson rose are true
We will own the modest May flower,
With its colors fair and bright
And pledge our love forever
To the Crimson and the White
Notably, this is not the only such example we’ve seen. Knox College used strikingly similar lyrics in 1902’s “The Purple and the Gold.”

January 23, 2003—Maurice Cohill Jr. ’51 wins a Jefferson Award for his work with the National Center for Juvenile Justice, which he founded.

Maurice Cohill ’51. Photo from the Class of 1951’s 50th reunion book, 2001.

January 24, 1936—A memorial service is held in Princeton University Chapel for King George V of England.

January 26, 1893—At the first exam given under the Honor Code, H. G. Murray observes a change in his classmates: “Upon entering, the difference was at once noticeable and the men instead of taking the back seats as was the custom in those days all rushed to the front of the room. … To my knowledge, this was also the first examination at which men smoked openly and I recall the relief which I experienced from lighting my pipe at that time. The nervous strain was naturally very great but several men handed in papers which they knew could not pass, without the slightest regret.”

This is H. G. Murray’s English Literature exam from January 26, 1893. Historical Subject Files (Ac109), Box 5, Folder 20.

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 August 15-21

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, final exams ask about America’s future, a sophomore wins an unusual contest involving a bus, and more.

August 15, 1945—Future Dean of the Princeton University Chapel Ernest Gordon is freed after 40 months as a prisoner of war in the Japanese Kwai River camps.


Ernest Gordon, undated. Dean of Religious Life and of the Chapel Records (AC144), Box 35.

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This Week in Princeton History for January 12-18

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, final exams prove stressful, the Nude Olympics meet their end, and more.

January 12, 1941—A pre-finals blackout distresses residents of five Princeton dormitories. The next morning, the Daily Princetonian will report: “After hesitatingly peering skyward to assure themselves that no Nazi bombers were heaving over the horizon, they swore that even in London they didn’t have to take exams the day following a blackout.”

January 13, 1893—In response to widespread cheating that many fear diminishes the accomplishments of those who do their own work, College of New Jersey (Princeton University) students call for an honor system. The Honor Code will be adopted and first used on an English Literature exam on January 26.


Philip Ellicott Barringer ’38’s final exam in History 314 (The Renaissance and the Reformation), Spring 1938. Note the Honor Pledge’s now-outdated wording. Course Examinations Collection (AC054), Box 22. (Access to students’ academic records is governed by this policy.)

January 14, 1969—To protest the concept of grades, 27 Princeton philosophy majors go on “strike,” refusing to sign their final exams. Several other students in Philosophy 300 reportedly follow their lead in solidarity. Their effort to rid Princeton of grades ultimately fails, and the students will all identify their exams and accept the grades assigned by their professors several weeks later.

January 15, 1999—The New York Times reports that the Nude Olympics will likely not continue at Princeton after the year’s event resulted in the hospitalization of five students. The tradition, which evolved during the 1970s streaking fad and has been discouraged by the administration for years, consists of the sophomore class running laps in the nude around the Holder Courtyard after each year’s first snowfall. The Times article quotes Peter Dutton ’91: “Can’t undergraduates run naked in a restrained and dignified manner anymore?” (Ultimately, 1999’s Olympics will be the last naked frolic in the snow for Princeton’s undergraduates.)


 1974 cartoon from the Daily Princetonian. Video of the 1986 Nude Olympics can be found here.

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.