This Week in Princeton History for September 14-20

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, John Maclean defends the expulsion of students, Quadrangle Club opens, and more.

September 15, 1870—James McCosh interrupts a brawl between sophomores and freshmen on Nassau Street over canes with a shout of, “Disperse, young men, or the bailiffs will be after you.”

September 16, 1861—John Maclean writes to the editor of the New York Evening Post to explain the unpopular decision to expel some students from Princeton for attacking another student who had expressed sympathy for the Confederacy: The faculty “will not permit the utterance of sentiments denunciatory of those who are engaged in efforts to maintain the integrity of the national government; nor will they allow of any public expression of sympathy with those who are endeavoring to destroy the government,” but “it must be evident that the Faculty could not permit his fellow-students to take the law in their own hands…”

Pencil drawing of the parade local residents gave for the three students dismissed in the “Pumping Incident,” September 1861. Pyne-Henry Collection (AC125), Box 1, Folder 18.

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This Week in Princeton History for August 10-16

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, Alfred A. Woodhull enters the Class of 1856, the Princetonian asks town residents to stop looking at undergraduates, and more.

August 10, 1854—Having successfully passed the entrance exam, Alfred A. Woodhull enters the Class of 1856. He will later describe his experience as follows: “Although formidable in anticipation and rather terrifying in fact, the examination, as I look back upon it, was not well calculated to determine what one did or did not know.”

Title page of faculty minutes for the first semester of Princeton’s 1854-1855 academic year. Office of the Dean of the Faculty Records (AC118), Vol. 5.

August 11, 1962—Zimani David Kadzamira ’66 arrives in New York for orientation in a program bringing African students to American universities before starting his studies at Princeton. It is his first time outside Nyasaland (which will later be named Malawi).

August 14, 1942—In response to a Trenton Evening Times article on the concerns of the town about students in the summer session at Princeton University not wearing enough clothing (“Scanty Summer Attire of Princeton Students Raising Official Eyebrows”), the Daily Princetonian suggests “poor embarrassed townfolks” should simply stop looking at them.

August 15, 1868—The Dublin Evening Mail reports that friends in Belfast presented James McCosh with an engraved silver coffee and tea set and a gold bracelet to bring with him to America.

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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This Week in Princeton History for June 22-28

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, James McCosh expresses concerns about youth wasted in the gymnasium, the Princeton Rocket inspires Williams College, and more.

June 22, 1874—In his report to the Board of Trustees, College president James McCosh expresses concerns about students spending excessive time in the gym preparing for gymnastic competitions: “I have seen all along that there must be some limit to set to them, lest they so excite a portion of our students as to lead them to waste upon them their best energies, and thus waste their youth.”

Equipment in Princeton’s Bonner-Marquand Gymnasium, 1870s. Historical Photograph Collection, Grounds and Buildings Series (AC111), Box MP47.

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This Week in Princeton History for April 27-May 3

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, James McCosh is elected president of the College, thousands turn out to witness Firestone Library open for the first time, and more.

April 27, 1980—Princeton Against Registration and the Draft (PARD) holds its second protest of Jimmy Carter’s proposal for requiring registration for selective service, in spite of the country not being at war.

April 29, 1868—The Board of Trustees elects James McCosh as president of the College of New Jersey.

James McCosh, ca. 1870s. Historical Photograph Collection, Individuals Series (AC067), Box AD13.

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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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This Week in Princeton History for December 31-January 6

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the construction of Lake Carnegie begins, the faculty approve a program in Women’s Studies, and more.

January 2, 1905—Work begins clearing 170 acres of heavily wooded land for the construction of Lake Carnegie.

Laborers and horses who cleared land for the construction of Lake Carnegie, ca. 1905. Historical Photograph Collection, Lake Carnegie Construction Photographs Series (AC065), Box 11.

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This Week in Princeton History for December 17-23

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a shipment of coal mitigates a fuel shortage, the Triangle Club performs for Eleanor Roosevelt, and more.

December 17, 1917—A new shipment of coal just after the last bit available ran out means there will be enough fuel on hand to last the winter, bringing relief to concerned Princetonians. Measures will still need to be taken to preserve it.

Clipping from the Daily Princetonian, December 19, 1917.

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This Week in Princeton History for October 15-21

In this week’s installment of our returning series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, tensions are boiling between town and gown, Dwight D. Eisenhower expresses thanks for the support of Princetonians, and more.

October 16, 1883—According to reports in the New York Sun, the governor of New Jersey has sent the entire state militia and police force to prevent full-scale warfare between students at the College of New Jersey and the residents of Princeton following a bloodbath on October 15. “To-night the annual cane-spree takes place and the students threaten to lynch any townsmen who appear on the Campus. The latter, on their part, declare their intention of cleaning out the College. Both parties are heavily armed. Trouble is feared. The desperate ruffianism of Princeton students is well known.”

October 17, 1952—Dwight D. Eisenhower, who is seeking election as U.S. President, notices a “PRINCETON LIKES IKE” sign among a crowd of 5,000 supporters in Princeton and says he is “really delighted to see some Princeton signs here.

Clipping from Daily Princetonian.

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This Week in Princeton History for October 1-7

In this week’s installment of our returning series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a recent graduate engages in civil disobedience, Albert Einstein sets sail for Princeton, and more.

October 1, 1984—Leo Schiff ’83 breaks into a military facility in Rhode Island to disarm nuclear warheads as part of the “Plowshares” civil disobedience movement. He and three others will be sentenced to a year in prison for the act.

Leo Schiff ’83. Photo from 1983 Nassau Herald.

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This Week in Princeton History for January 22-28

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the Board of Trustees decides to move the institution from Newark to Princeton, a donor’s bequest causes controversy, and more.

January 22, 1773—Between 3:00 and 4:00AM, students wake up and help put out a house fire nearby. “The students upon this occasion behaved with a becoming boldness which does them honour,” the Pennsylvania Packet will report.

January 23, 1871—In a controversial lecture, College of New Jersey (Princeton) president James McCosh asserts that Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution is consistent with Christianity.

James McCosh, ca. 1870s. Historical Photograph Collection, Individuals Series (AC067), Box AD13.

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