This Week in Princeton History for May 10-16

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the debate team loses to Harvard on immigration restrictions, the grading system is radically changed, and more.

May 10, 1947—In the Chicago Defender, W. E. B. Du Bois reports that Princeton University had written to him in 1910: “Princeton University has never had graduates of Negro descent.”

At the time W. E. B. DuBois received that letter, Princeton had several African American graduates, including I. W. L. Roundtree, Graduate Class of 1895. Clipping from the Trenton Evening Times.

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This Week in Princeton History for November 2-8

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, two seniors are attacked while watching the polls, gender disparities in pension plans are defended, and more.

November 4, 1845—A large group of students accompanies the body of Richard Stockton Boudinot, Class of 1847, to Newark for his burial. Boudinot died following an accidental gunshot wound to the head.

November 5, 1987—The Daily Princetonian reports on the experiences of the town’s au pairs, many of whom are employed illegally. More than 20 young women from a variety of foreign countries live and work in the homes of local families for $100-$150/week (about $230-$340 in 2020 dollars). Often, they spend time on campus in the evenings, because there is so little to do in town.

November 7, 1933—A group of six men attack two Princeton seniors. H. A. Rutherford and Morgan Wing, Jr., both of the Class of 1934, are engaged in poll watching for the Fusion Party in New York when the attack happens. An attack on Fusion Party headquarters by six men this same night indicates a political motivation.

November 8, 1974—Discrimination in Princeton’s pension plans, which pay female retirees less per month than their male counterparts, is illegal, but the university defends its practice on the basis that women live longer.

Men and women at work in Princeton University’s New South Hall, 1966. Historical Photograph Collection, Grounds and Buildings Series (AC111), Box AD05, Image No. 8659.

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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This Week in Princeton History for October 19-25

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, two members of the Class of 1979 are running against each other for Congress, the first director of the Program in Women’s Studies is named, and more.

October 19, 1900—Topeka’s Colored Citizen reports that Richard Spaulding, said to be a graduate student at Princeton University, was denied naturalization in a Trenton court on October 16. Spaulding is a native of Dutch Guiana and a graduate of Howard University. “The papers were refused on the ground that the federal laws permit the naturalization of white males only.” Spaulding plans to appeal.

October 20, 1994—Two members of the Princeton University Class of 1979 who also attended secondary school together are running against each other in the Congressional election for Maryland’s second district.

October 23, 1981—The Board of Trustees approves the appointment of Kay B. Warren *74 as the first director of the Program in Women’s Studies.

Pamphlet for Princeton University’s Program in Women’s Studies, ca. 1980s. Historical Subject Files (AC109), Box 51, Folder 15.

October 25, 1911—J. Madison Taylor, Class of 1876, urges fellow Princetonians to boycott any product that advertises using signs. “It would be a delight for the old grads who spin by in the train to gaze once more on the two-mile distant towers and halls of their beloved Alma Mater, freed from Walpurgis Night visions of soaps, soups, sauces and scents.”

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 February 24-March 1

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a professor speaks publicly about his escape to America as a fugitive deserter from the Prussian cavalry, the school song gets new lyrics, and more.

February 24, 1883—Professor Joseph Kargé gives a lecture in the Old Chapel, “The Crisis of My Life,” telling the story of how he escaped to America as a fugitive deserter from the Prussian cavalry.

Joseph Kargé, undated. Historical Photograph Collection, Individuals Series (AC067), Box 77.

February 26, 1987—After months of debate among students, alumni, and administrators, Princeton University announces that the lyrics to the alma mater, “Old Nassau,” will be officially changed. “My boys” will replaced by “we sing” and “her sons will give while they shall live” will change to “our hearts will give while we shall live.”

“Old Nassau” arranged for male voices, 1905. Princeton Music Collection (AC056), Box 10. (Click to enlarge.)

February 29, 1956—A Princeton sophomore is acquitted on charges of shooting out street lights with a revolver. He will later plead guilty to another charge related to the incident (carrying a concealed weapon).

March 1, 1875—Students are pushing for Princeton to hire women to clean their dorm rooms: “Sweeping and bed-making is women’s work, and there is no reason whatever why we should not have women to do women’s work in our dormitories. Their services can be procured for one-third less wages than is paid the miserable Irishmen who now pretend to set our sanctums in order.”

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.