This Week in Princeton History for February 22-28

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, campus proctors help local police apprehend men burning crosses in town, new transportation options draw comment, and more.

February 22, 1971—Proctors Bruce Beattie and Steven Verish see three men burning a cross at the World War I Memorial Monument at the intersection of Mercer and Stockton streets while they are patrolling the campus. They report this, which is the second cross-burning incident at the site this month, to local police. Police arrest three men in connection with the incident and find Ku Klux Klan literature at the site.

February 25, 1870—Theodore L. Cuyler writes of visiting Princeton, “It still seems a little odd to reach the town by a ‘dummy’ engine, instead of the old traditional ‘Ross’s hack,’ which has dragged up all the living freight to Princeton for a quarter of a century” (i.e., in a train rather than a horse-drawn carriage).

Princeton as it appeared in 1870 with its train. Office of Communications Records (AC168), Box 91.

February 26, 1802—In the Newburyport Herald, “Jersey Girl” describes a young man’s vanity: “Camillus is lately in possession of a handsome fortune; and some mischievous animals, with penetration enough to discover that his ruling passion is the thirst of praise, have undertaken to apply the match to the train of vanity of which he is possessed, and have succeeded so well, that I am told he already, before strangers, makes use of the important words, ‘When I was at Princeton College,’ although he has never yet beheld the inside of Nassau Hall.”

February 27, 1900—The Daily Princetonian takes the Philadelphia Press to task for “yellow journalism” about the football team: “Such misrepresentations would be laughable, were they not imposed upon the public as the true views of Princeton men and did they not make the University appear ridiculous.”

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 October 13-19

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the College starts wearing orange, students protest the Vietnam War, and more.

For the week of October 13-19:

October 13, 1868—The faculty pass a resolution permitting students to adopt and wear orange ribbons imprinted with the word “PRINCETON.” The color honors England’s Prince William III of Orange, for whom Nassau Hall is named. In 1874, William Libbey, Jr. (Class of 1877) will obtain 1,000 yards of orange and black ribbon for freshmen to wear, and call them “Princeton’s colors.” They will be officially adopted as Princeton’s colors when the College of New Jersey takes the name “Princeton University” in 1896.


19th century “Princeton” ribbon. Memorabilia Collection (AC053), Box E10.

October 14, 1887—The Daily Princetonian runs an editorial asking students to be considerate of others when playing pianos in their dorm rooms.


Piano playing at a party in a Princeton dorm room, ca. 1896. Historical Photographs Collection (AC112), Box SP14, Item No. 3444.

October 15, 1969—Students join a nationwide Moratorium to protest U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War with a variety of activities. 1200 people assemble on the lawn in front of Nassau Hall in the afternoon. To learn more about the Vietnam War and its impact on Princeton, be sure to stop by Mudd to take a look at our current exhibit.


Anti-Vietnam War demonstration outside Nassau Hall, circa 1967. Princeton Alumni Weekly Photograph Collection (AC126), Box 26.

October 16, 1924—800 students attack the Ku Klux Klan as their convoy of cars attempts to make it up Nassau Street, ripping off hoods until local police stop them.

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.