This Week in Princeton History for June 7-13

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, members of the Class of 1875 refuse masters degrees, a member of the “Old Guard” complains about the presence of women, and more.

June 7, 1794—Catherine Bullock, age 22, niece of the Morgans who own Prospect Farm, dies of an illness, but her grave on the family’s land will spark generations of rumors among Princeton students to suggest her death was somehow more salacious until the grave is moved off campus in the 20th century.

June 8, 1877—Members of the Class of 1875 refuse the A. M. degree on the grounds that “we do not merit a general literary degree…”

June 10, 1890—The cornerstone is laid for Clio Hall’s new building, an enlarged copy of the original built in the 1830s.

June 13, 1914—The presence of women in the P-Rade on this day disturbs some alumni. Van Tassel Sutphen, Class of 1882, will write to the Princeton Alumni Weekly,

in these days of militant feminism I am well aware that I am taking a perilous position in venturing to deny any privilege whatever to the newly dominant sex. Pray don’t misunderstand me, for I am quite ready to admit that woman has her appointed place in the great scheme of creation; it is her ministering hand that still soothes the fevered brow, it is she who stands ever ready to answer the telephone, upon occasion we may even permit her to supplement the family income by taking in washing. She has won her footing in the market place; we are always glad to welcome her on her infrequent visits to the home; we are not wholly averse to inviting her to enter the polling booth. But, gentlemen of the ‘Old Guard,’ the line must be drawn somewhere, and I would draw it at the Alumni P-Rade; I contend that a woman has no more business in that galley than I would have at a mother’s meeting, unless indeed this is the first insidious step (God forbid!) towards turning Princeton into a co-educational institution.

The Class of 1904 marches in the 1914 P-Rade. Photo from 1916 Bric-a-Brac.

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 March 8-14

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, many feel the CPUC’s response to homophobic violence is unsatisfactory, a graduate student vows to sue the town for his disenfranchisement, and more.

March 8, 1802—The Philadelphia Gazette reports that, due to a recent fire in Nassau Hall, classes at Princeton will be suspended until next May or June.

March 9, 1976—Students are not satisfied with the compromise measure passed by the Council on the Princeton University Community that calls for an affirmation of university policies of non-discrimination and protection of freedom of expression but does not address suppression of free expression through violence or affirm non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The CPUC’s action is taken in response to recent targeted acts against the Gay Alliance of Princeton.

Prospect, an alumni magazine dedicated to repudiating Princeton’s late-20th century transformation into a more inclusive community, covered the controversy over the Gay Alliance of Princeton in its March 15, 1976 issue.

Continue reading

This Week in Princeton History for March 25-31

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the Princetonian urges an alumni organization to hire editors with more “integrity”, a new program in electrical engineering is announced, and more.

March 25, 1965—Detectives find no explanation for the apparent suicide of lecturer Robert M. Hurt, 29, described by colleagues as “relaxed” and “cheerful” prior to his death.

Robert Hurt, ca. 1960s. Historical Photograph Collection, Faculty Photographs Series (AC059), Box FAC51.

Continue reading

“The Future Princeton Is Whatever Emerges from the Battle Now Joined”: The Concerned Alumni of Princeton, 1972-1986

By Mario Garcia ’18

In the aftermath of various social movements that transformed the United States throughout the 1960s, the late 1960s and early 1970s served as its own transformative era for Princeton University: with the introduction of undergraduate coeducation, increased enrollment of racial minorities, and formation of the first recognized student group for gay rights (Gay Alliance of Princeton (GAP)), the community began to expand in a way that challenged historical notions of who belonged at Princeton. In opposition to such momentous changes, a particularly vocal group called the Concerned Alumni of Princeton (CAP) arose in 1972 with the goal of influencing an administration that they thought—by moving the student body in a direction that had neglected many alumni’s vision of what it meant to be a Princetonian—had led the University to its decline. CAP hoped to vocalize alumni dissent to the administration’s actions through the publication of Prospect, a magazine that the organization would periodically send to alumni. Reflecting CAP’s disapproval of Princeton’s efforts to alter its demographic makeup, Prospect would often reify structural sexism, racism, and homophobia. As CAP founder T. Harding Jones ’72 declared to the student body in the Daily Princetonian:

alumni are concerned, upset, enraged, sickened, or doubtful about some or all of the following: admissions policy, coeducation, athletics, radicals on campus, the Gay Alliance of Princeton, the refusal to allow alumni trustee candidates to speak out on the issues, the abolishment of almost all rules, the oneness of mind of the Board of Trustees and their apparent failure to act independently of President Bowen, the Alumni Council’s ties with the administration rather than its existence as an independent entity, the Alumni Weekly, and the failure of the administration to take the leadership in the moral and spiritual development of undergraduates.

As reflected in a Prospect article detailing the organization’s main objectives published on April 11, 1977, many members of CAP judged that the administration lacked “an understanding of and respect for what it has meant to be a Princeton scholar and a Princeton gentleman”: they believed that administration had lost sight of who made Princeton a world-class institution and had ignored those alumni who had retained this understanding and respect.

Summer 1981 cover of Prospect. Princeton University Publications Collection (AC364), Box 16.

Continue reading