This Week in Princeton History for January 25-31

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a photographer finishes a series of images of places and people on campus, an alumni accent is criticized, and more.

January 25, 1877—The Princetonian reports that a “female servant” is working in Witherspoon Hall.

January 26, 1808—Robert Livingston of the Class of 1809 is brought before the faculty on the charge of taking a bottle of wine with him while sleighing. He says that he got the wine from a Black man, whom he does not name.

January 27, 1869—William Roe Howell has completed a series of photographs of the campus and its people.

Three unidentified men stand in front of William Roe Howell’s photographer’s shanty, ca. 1869. Historical Photograph Collection, Grounds and Buildings Series (AC111), Box MP75, Image No. 3005.

January 30, 1828—Connecticut’s Middlesex Gazette criticizes the accent of some Americans: “And even now, you will hear this abominable dialect in the middle and southern states, where the old graduates of Princeton college, and others, pronounce—tchooter, and Ychoosday, and opportchoonity, &c. &c.”

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.

Do You Speak Princetonian?: The Language of Princeton

By Zachary Bampton ’20 with April C. Armstrong *14

Princetonians past and present have enjoyed the creation and use of language to refer to Princeton-specific places, acts, and things. Here at the Mudd Library, we have combed the archives to put forth some notable and, we think, fun words and phrases to capture what life was like, and how life was described, through the University’s history. These selected Princeton-isms range from the 1800s through today. While some have fallen out of fashion, others are still used on campus, though perhaps with a different meaning.

Poler’s Recess, 1915. Historical Photograph Collection, Campus Life Series (AC112), Box SP17. “Poler’s Recess” is linked in spirit with the “Horn Spree” initiated by the Class of 1848 and the modern “Holder Howl” and “Whitman Wail.”

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