This Week in Princeton History for October 17-23

In this week’s installment of our recurring series, a U.S. president visits his student son, a building gets a name, and more.

October 17, 1882—Sitting U.S. president Chester Arthur visits his son at Princeton (Chester Alan Arthur II, Class of 1885) and gives a brief address from the steps of James McCosh’s home expressing his confidence in the institution, as will be reported in the Hartford Daily Courant.

October 21, 1904—The Board of Trustees formally approves the naming of Seventy-Nine Hall in honor of the Class of 1879.

Class of 1879 Hall postcard, ca. 1900s. (Colors digitally enhanced.) Historical Postcard Collection (AC045).

October 22, 1846—A fireworks display puts “Dickinson” and “Carnahan” in lights to celebrate Princeton’s centennial. The Spirit of the Times will report, “As the first name appeared there was considerable excitement, but as this died away, and the magic name of ‘Carnahan’ burst into view, the sky was rent with acclamations…”

October 23, 1957—On the first anniversary of the beginning of the unsuccessful Hungarian Revolution, refugee student Charles R. Legendy ’59 tells an audience of 500 at a special ceremony at Nassau Hall how the events of the previous year have impacted him. “In those days a little people which was thought by the world to be coward and communist defeated the occupation army. … Everyone was shouting loud: We are free; we are free again after more than 400 years of oppression.” As Steven Rockefeller ’58 will observe at the same event, however, the Hungarian Revolution has become “a symbol of failure and tragedy” because Hungary “was sacrificed in the name of world peace…”

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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This Week in Princeton History for May 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 member of the Class of 1945 survives a bombing in France, the Prince responds to proposed limits on enrollment, and more.

May 25, 1940—Pierre Soesman ’45, who fled Belgium earlier this month, survives a terrifying German bomber attack on the road from Paris to Angers. He will later write of the experience, “When they left, we did not move from the ditch for more than five minutes. Finally, people began to get up, laughing in hysteria.”

May 26, 1921—The Daily Princetonian responds to the news that Princeton will begin limiting enrollment for the first time by kicking off an editorial series urging a holistic approach to admissions decisions rather than one based entirely on test scores.

As Princeton University began limiting enrollment in the 1920s, it instituted a new admissions system that included an application with evaluation from secondary school officials. This is a page from an application from a member of the Class of 1930 found in the Undergraduate Alumni Records (AC198).

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Princeton Alumni in the Service of the Refugee Cause: Henry R. Labouisse’s UNRWA Legacy

By Diana Dayoub ’21

UNRWA’s unpopularity with the people it works for, and the governments it works with, is in direct contrast to the popularity of the man from Wilton, Connecticut who heads it. 

Princeton Alumni Weekly, February 10, 1956

With the number of displaced persons reaching a record high since the 1940s and with the consequent expansion of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) activities, it seems timely to get some historical perspective on the UN refugee aid and relief legacy. Henry R. Labouisse (Class of 1926), a distinguished international public servant, stands out for his UN service and the significance of his agency’s relief and rehabilitation services as seen in the context of Near Eastern politics at the time. The Henry R. Labouisse Papers (MC199) document Labouisse’s work as director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)–or commonly referred to as “the Agency” in the region–from 1954-1958. 

Article in Princeton Alumni Weekly, February 10, 1956.

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