This Week in Princeton History for February 28-March 6

In this week’s installment of our recurring series, an honorary degree is controversial, students fear smallpox, and more.

March 1, 1836—The Baltimore Literary and Religious Magazine expresses outrage that Princeton has awarded William Gaston (Class of 1796) an honorary L.L.D., because they disapprove of thus honoring a Catholic. “We pronounce it a most gross outrage on all Protestant, and under the circumstances, on all proper feelings.”

William Gaston, Class of 1796. Undergraduate Alumni Records 1748-1920 (AC104), Box 60.

March 2, 1899—In spite of reassurances from the faculty that there is no danger of it spreading, many students have left Princeton out of fears of contracting smallpox from a fellow student who has a mild case.

March 4, 1943—Princeton receives word that its director of the Bureau of Student Aid and Employment, Richard W. Warfield ’30, who was on leave to serve in the Marines, has become the first Princeton administrator to die in World War II.

Richard Warfield ’30. Historical Photograph Collection, Individuals Series (AC067), Box 18.

March 6, 1982—A few disapproving locals smash a Terrace Club window during a Gay Alliance of Princeton dance at the clubhouse.

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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This Week in Princeton History for March 8-14

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, many feel the CPUC’s response to homophobic violence is unsatisfactory, a graduate student vows to sue the town for his disenfranchisement, and more.

March 8, 1802—The Philadelphia Gazette reports that, due to a recent fire in Nassau Hall, classes at Princeton will be suspended until next May or June.

March 9, 1976—Students are not satisfied with the compromise measure passed by the Council on the Princeton University Community that calls for an affirmation of university policies of non-discrimination and protection of freedom of expression but does not address suppression of free expression through violence or affirm non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The CPUC’s action is taken in response to recent targeted acts against the Gay Alliance of Princeton.

Prospect, an alumni magazine dedicated to repudiating Princeton’s late-20th century transformation into a more inclusive community, covered the controversy over the Gay Alliance of Princeton in its March 15, 1976 issue.

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This Week in Princeton History for February 15-21

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, reports of a strange creature living in the lake captivate imaginations on campus, a banner is stolen, and more.

February 16, 1758—The Board of Trustees of the College of New Jersey (Princeton) vote to repeal a rule requiring students to wear caps and gowns (“peculiar habits”). This rule will be reinstated in 1768.

Peculiar habits

Minutes of the meeting of the Board of Trustees of the College of New Jersey (Princeton), February 16, 1758. Board of Trustees Records (AC120), Vol. 1.

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