This Week in Princeton History for July 1-7

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, Harriet van Ingen joins its geologists on a trip to Newfoundland, a fire means Commencement will have to find a new home, and more.

July 1, 1927—Princeton’s new “car rule,” which prohibits students from driving cars within the Borough of Princeton, takes effect.

July 3, 1913—Princeton geologists set sail for Newfoundland. Harriet Van Ingen, wife of professor Gilbert Van Ingen, is along to aid the expedition.

Harriet Van Ingen at the Princeton University geology expedition’s camp in Newfoundland, 1913. Department of Geosciences Records (AC139), Box 19.

July 4, 1937—Though fireworks-related deaths nationwide on this date reach a high of 563, a new statewide ban on private use of firecrackers is credited with preventing deaths in town.

July 6, 1835—Nassau Hall’s evening prayer service in the chapel is disrupted by a cry of “fire” from the street. Students flee, leaving College of New Jersey president James Carnahan standing at a pulpit in an empty room. It turns out that some leftover Independence Day fireworks have ignited at the nearby First Presbyterian Church, which is now engulfed in flames. The loss of the building is disruptive to college life, because it is typically used for Commencement and other events throughout the year.

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 November 12-18

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the first formal exercises open in Nassau Hall, an alum announces a donation in honor of a former roommate, and more.

November 13, 1762—The first formal exercises to be held there open in the completed Nassau Hall.

William Tennent’s rendering of the campus of the College of New Jersey, which then included Nassau Hall and the president’s house, 1764. Prior to the opening of Nassau Hall, classes were held in the president’s home, first in Elizabeth, and then in Newark, but the president’s home in Princeton (now Maclean House) was built at the same time as Nassau Hall. Nassau Hall Iconography Collection (AC177), Box 2, Folder 5.

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This Week in Princeton History for September 17-23

In this week’s installment of our returning series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the campus remembers Aaron Burr, Nassau Hall celebrates its bicentennial, and more.

September 17, 1836—At Aaron Burr’s funeral in the College of New Jersey’s Chapel, College president James Carnahan is careful to avoid inflaming controversy. Burr’s connection to Princeton and his “honorable parentage” are both noted, but his public career is “delicately touched, with only such allusions to his duel with [Alexander] Hamilton as might be of service to the assembly without wounding the feelings of any.” After the closing prayers, the funeral procession buries Burr at the foot of his father’s grave in the cemetery on what will later be named Hamilton Avenue.

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A Round Up of Princeton History for July 2-8 and Independence Day

The “Demystifying Mudd” series has been delayed due to unforeseen circumstances. We hope we can bring it to you next week. In the meantime, here is a round up of tidbits we’ve collected over the past several years to highlight events in Princeton University history for July 2-8 and some more in-depth looks at the impact of the American War for Independence on the College of New Jersey (Princeton).

In 2015, we told you about the death of Jimmy Stewart ’32, students who returned after doing a good deed to find their rooms had been ransacked, and a professor who won an Olympic medal for shooting.

In 2016, we reported on the Princeton Blues beginning the “Cannon War” with Rutgers, George Whitefield’s visit to campus, and a program to train every student for war.

1910 postcard by Christie Whiteman. Historical Postcard Collection (AC045), Box 4

In 2017, we showed you photos of the student who was the youngest person ever elected to a school board in the United States and a student who had a 20-game winning streak on Jeopardy.

If you’d like some in-depth stories appropriate to celebrate the American Independence Day, you might want to read about how Nassau Hall and the Rittenhouse Orrery were damaged in the Battle of Princeton. You might also be interested in learning more about how the cannons left behind have shaped Princeton’s traditions.

We look forward to demystifying ourselves soon. In the meantime, enjoy the holiday!

This Week in Princeton History for April 9-15

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a group of undergraduate activists derail a segregationist group on campus, the Nassau Literary Review protests police abuse of firearms, and more.

April 9, 1964—Activists in favor of integration carry out a coup in the leadership of the Committee for Racial Reconciliation, a pro-segregation student organization, electing African American Robert F. Engs ’65 as its vice president, making headlines and sparking immediate controversy throughout the United States.

Photo from the Daily Princetonian.

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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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This Week in Princeton History for July 24-30

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a religious group’s predictions do not appear to come true, a hobby horse causes a disturbance, and more.

July 24, 1982—Najib Khuri ’82 and his “Church at Princeton” (nine students who have withdrawn from Princeton to follow Khuri) predicted a nuclear holocaust in New York on this date as punishment for the “sins of America,” but no bombs fall. One of Khuri’s followers explains that the New York holocaust did occur, but it was spiritual, not physical.

Graphic from the Daily Princetonian.

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This Week in Princeton History for May 22-28

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, protesters are arrested at Nassau Hall, a professor urges Princetonians to buy Liberty Loan bonds, and more.

May 22, 1949—Nassau Hall’s flag flies at half mast as a tribute to James V. Forrestal, a member of the Class of 1915 and the nation’s first Secretary of Defense, who died after jumping out a window on the sixteenth floor of Bethesda Naval Hospital on this date.

James Forrestal, ca. 1940s. Official U.S. Navy Photo. James V. Forrestal Papers (MC051), Box 188.

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This Week in Princeton History for April 10-16

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, Chaim Potok kicks off Jewish Heritage Week, a sit in ends, and more.

April 10, 1994—McCosh 50 and two overflow auditoriums fill to hear Chaim Potok’s address to kick off Princeton’s celebration of Jewish Heritage Week.

Chaim Potok, ca. 1994. Office of Communications Records (AC168), Box 225.

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This Week in Princeton History for February 27-March 5

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, Colonial Club’s financial pressures force its closure, women march on Washington, and more.

February 28, 1946—Princeton University announces that women will live in student housing on campus for the first time, opening Brown Hall to married veterans after providing only single-gender accommodations at the institution for 200 years.

Couples arriving at Brown Hall, 1946. Historical Photograph Collection, Campus Life Series (AC112), Box MP166, Image No. 6055.

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