This Week in Princeton History for August 15-21

In this week’s installment of our recurring series, a dean dreams of pretty postcards, the natural history museum receives a significant donation of specimens, and more.

August 15, 1923—Andrew Fleming West, Dean of the Graduate School, writes to a friend about his hopes to get attractive postcards printed showing scenes around campus: “They have such cards at Oxford and Cambridge—really artistic souvenirs—some from photographs, some from pen-and-ink drawings. Why, O why can’t we do it?”

This postcard booklet contained 16 images from Princeton University and Princeton Theological Seminary’s campuses, with Nassau Hall on the cover (shown here) and the Graduate College on the reverse. It appears to date from the 1930s or 1940s. Historical Postcard Collection (AC045).

Continue reading

This Week in Princeton History for December 14-20

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a protester finds tea in his shoes, potential abuse of women seeking abortions is causing concern, and more.

December 16, 1773—Thomas Melville, Class of 1769, joins other protesters at the Boston Tea Party and is surprised to find tea in his shoes when he goes home.

December 17, 1805—Princeton announces that it has established a museum of natural history, which conflates indigenous peoples of the Americas and Africa with animals. “It consists, at present, of many hundred species of birds, beasts, fishes, reptiles, insects, minerals, fossils, corals, shells, earths, together with domestic utensils, and warlike instruments of several savage nations of America and Africa.”

Princeton’s natural history museum, Nassau Hall, 1886. Historical Photograph Collection, Campus Life Series (AC112), Box MP042, Image No. 1256.

Continue reading

Great Scott! Look at All These Birds!

By Arthur Kim ’18

Until relatively recently, there were thousands of stuffed birds in Guyot Hall, which was once the home of Princeton’s Museum of Natural History. Most of these birds were collected by William Earl Dodge Scott, the former curator of the Department of Ornithology at Princeton University. Scott traveled throughout the country, studying and collecting different species of birds inhabiting each area. From pigeons to the great white heron, Scott established an impressive collection that was both educational and aesthetic.

Robert Bruce Hosfall illustration of William Earle Dodge Scott, May 1902. This illustration appeared as the frontispiece for Scott’s autobiography, The Story of a Bird Lover. Faculty and Professional Staff Files (AC107).

Continue reading