This Week in Princeton History for August 30-September 5

In this week’s installment of our recurring series, a professor finds a forgotten treasure trove of microfilm, a member of the Class of 1895 gives the Princeton University Library a collection of significant signatures, and more.

August 30, 1867—The Princeton Standard reports that the College now has 252 students, which is the highest enrollment has been since 1861.

August 31, 1989—Richard Challener, a history professor, finds 188 forgotten microfilm reels in a vault. The reels were deposited for safekeeping by the Secret Service in the early 1960s and contain materials related to John Foster Dulles’s tenure as Secretary of State. The reels will have to be reviewed to determine if they can be declassified, a process that will ultimately take a decade to complete.

September 1, 1943—The Princeton Bulletin announces that John W. Garrett (Class of 1895) has bequeathed his collection of autographs from 36 of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence to the Princeton University Library.

Signature of Thomas Lynch, Jr. Signers of the Declaration of Independence Collection (C0197), Box 1, Folder 19.

September 4, 1854—At the meeting of Princeton’s Common Council, J. C. Burke announces that a new lamp has been installed at the corner of Nassau and Witherspoon Streets, but several of the town lamps have the glass broken out of them and need to be repaired.

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.

Happy Holidays from John Foster Dulles


John Foster Dulles Papers (MC016), Box 567

John Foster Dulles, Princeton Class of 1908, devoted most of his life to public service, beginning in the late 1910s through his death in 1959. The John Foster Dulles Papers (MC016) at the Mudd Manuscript Library document his career, particularly his influence on United States foreign policy. Portions of the Dulles Papers are currently being digitized as part of a grant awarded to the Mudd Library by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). By the project’s end, the selected correspondence, diaries and journals, and speeches, statements, and press conferences series will be available online in their entirety, totaling over 146,000 pages of archival content.

Though the collection spans his lifetime, the John Foster Dulles Papers focus on Dulles’s service as the fifty-third Secretary of State under the Eisenhower administration. Dulles was formally appointed to the position on January 21, 1953. In December of that year, he made his first Christmas address to the American people, wishing them “peace on earth, good will to men.”

Pages from Christmas Greetings

John Foster Dulles Papers (MC016), Box 321

Check the blog for future posts about the progress of the John Foster Dulles digitization project. For more information about the Digitizing the Origins of the Cold War project, see some of our previous posts.