This Week in Princeton History for November 22-28

In this week’s installment of our recurring series, new admissions requirements are approved, a new church building frees local residents from an obligation to rent pews in Nassau Hall, and more.

November 24, 1845—Two seniors are dismissed from Princeton “in consequence of a quarrel & from an apprehension that it might lead to a duel.” A junior is also “suspended for being afterwards involved, in some degree, in that quarrel.”

November 25, 1818—The Trustees approve new admissions requirements: Familiarity with Greek and Latin grammar and literature, arithmetic, English grammar, geography, and “the Catechism of the Church to which the candidate belongs.”

November 26, 1794—Following the death of John Witherspoon, a “Graduate” warns in Philadelphia’s Independent Gazetteer,

It is a fact of which the Trustees of Princeton College have perhaps never been apprized, that the authoritative language, the arrogant and despotic demeanor of the Professors, their insatiate desire, or rather ambition, of rendering themselves odious, and making Students tremble at the flash of their indignant eyes, will ever have a tendency to alienate the affections of Students, who will consequently leave no stone unturned, to degrade the Institution in the eyes of the world. Much has the reputation of Princeton College suffered by late unprecedented severity and irksome despotism, which have already brought down upon the Institution a sufficient share of obloquy and contempt.

November 28, 1766—Now that the church building is completed, local residents who are members of the First Church of Princeton (later renamed First Presbyterian Church, then Nassau Presbyterian Church) will no longer need to rent pews in the chapel of Nassau Hall, but John Witherspoon will continue to serve in the double role of minister to the congregation and president of the College, as have his predecessors.

First Presbyterian Church (as it was then named), ca. 1860. Historical Photograph Collection, Grounds and Buildings Series (AC111), Box AD42, Image No. 9644.

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 July 1-7

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, Harriet van Ingen joins its geologists on a trip to Newfoundland, a fire means Commencement will have to find a new home, and more.

July 1, 1927—Princeton’s new “car rule,” which prohibits students from driving cars within the Borough of Princeton, takes effect.

July 3, 1913—Princeton geologists set sail for Newfoundland. Harriet Van Ingen, wife of professor Gilbert Van Ingen, is along to aid the expedition.

Harriet Van Ingen at the Princeton University geology expedition’s camp in Newfoundland, 1913. Department of Geosciences Records (AC139), Box 19.

July 4, 1937—Though fireworks-related deaths nationwide on this date reach a high of 563, a new statewide ban on private use of firecrackers is credited with preventing deaths in town.

July 6, 1835—Nassau Hall’s evening prayer service in the chapel is disrupted by a cry of “fire” from the street. Students flee, leaving College of New Jersey president James Carnahan standing at a pulpit in an empty room. It turns out that some leftover Independence Day fireworks have ignited at the nearby First Presbyterian Church, which is now engulfed in flames. The loss of the building is disruptive to college life, because it is typically used for Commencement and other events throughout the year.

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 June 10-16

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a delayed cookie shipment arrives, Commencement moves to a new home, and more.

June 12, 1996—Cookies mailed to Princeton-in-Asia intern Laura Burt on November 1, 1995 finally arrive unopened in Wuhan, China.

June 13, 1894—Commencement Exercises are moved from the First Presbyterian Church (which will later be renamed Nassau Presbyterian Church) to the new Alexander Hall (also known as Commencement Hall) for the first time, where they will be held until 1922.

The 1894 program for the College of New Jersey’s 147th annual Commencement (later named Princeton University but we often find “Princeton College” on official documents rather than its official name; see caption below for June 15th’s entry for more details. (Princeton University Commencement Records (AC115), Box 3.)

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