This Week in Princeton History for February 14-20

In this week’s installment of our recurring series, Paul Pry insults New Jersey, student journalists interview the “sphinx of Watergate,” and more.

February 14, 1835—Anne Royall’s Paul Pry takes Princeton to task for attempting to raise $100,000 in support of expanding its influence into the American west and abroad: “These men cannot and dare not say this College is intended to disseminate knowledge—if so, why have they not improved the people of their own State?—they being decidedly the most ignorant people in the Union, excepting one. … Let those hypocrites deny if they dare, that the ignorance of the people of New Jersey is proverbial.” Royall believes Princeton is plotting to destroy Catholics.

February 17, 1981—G. Gordon Liddy (the “sphinx of Watergate”) tells three student reporters with the Daily Princetonian that killing people is not necessarily immoral, and explains the plans he had to kill journalist Jack Anderson. He still believes this would have been justifiable.

G. Gordon Liddy. Photo from Daily Princetonian.

February 18, 1911—The Princetonian complains of inadequate walking paths for pedestrians on campus, asserting, “Another spot on the lower campus which now makes an excellent habitat for mud turtles is between Dod and Edwards.” They suggest the construction of boardwalks.

February 19, 1930—Theodore Whitefield Hunt, Class of 1865, celebrates his 86th birthday. “I am beginning to feel a little old,” he says.

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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This Week in Princeton History for November 2-8

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the Princetonian laments changes in New Jersey laws, Billy Graham addresses Christianity and the Civil Rights Movement on campus, and more.

November 2, 1876—In response to a new state law that banned billiard tables within three miles of Nassau Hall, the Princetonian editorializes: “Billiards exeunt. Gone! They are gone. … Oh the cruel, cruel souls who feasted on the gnat and tasted not the camel. … Ah, be still sad heart. … But law—law transcendent—law whose seat is the bosom of the eternal and locus inflictus the State of New Jersey, law’s bright eye flasheth, that eye before whose flash the common sense of man doth fade as doth a match before the lime ball of a calcium-light.”

November 3, 1963—Well-known evangelist Billy Graham speaks twice on campus, once in the University Chapel and once in Alexander Hall. He asserts the Civil Rights Movement’s need for the church and speaks of his hope that Christianity will end racism in the American South.


Billy Graham at Princeton, November 3, 1963. Photo from the Daily Princetonian.

November 4, 1987—Princeton University architecture lab technician Leon Barth awakes to discover he has been elected as mayor of Roosevelt Borough, New Jersey, against his will. Residents of the town have ignored his repeated refusals to run for mayor and have campaigned for him anyway as a write in candidate. Though not wanting the job, he says he will submit to the will of his fellow townspeople and take it anyway. As the mayor of Roosevelt is an unpaid position, he will keep his day job at Princeton.

November 6, 1869—The College of New Jersey (Princeton) and Rutgers College face off in the first intercollegiate game in the history of American football.

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.