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.

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 27-August 2

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the campus cracks down on gambling, students get to work to put themselves through college, and more.

July 27, 1837—James W. Albert, Class of 1838, writes to his mother about the news from Nassau Hall. A crackdown on gambling has already resulted in a dozen students being expelled, but is still ongoing: “Boss says he is going to dismiss forty for gambling; more than half the students are suspected.”

July 28, 1754—Nathaniel Fitz Randolph deeds 4 ½ acres in Princeton to the College of New Jersey (including the building site of Nassau Hall).

July 29, 1993—Three Princetonians begin a record-setting road trip that will have them seeing 28 major league baseball games in 28 cities in 28 days.

August 1, 1911—The Student Bureau of Self-Help, precursor to the Student Employment Agency, begins connecting cash-strapped Princeton students with local jobs.


Students have held a wide variety of jobs on campus since 1911. Here, Edwin Salter ’39 works as the night switchboard operator for the University exchange, ca. 1938. Historical Photograph Collection, Campus Life Series (AC112), Box SP13, Image No. 3315.

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.