This Week in Princeton History for July 19-25

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, local stations “dim out” to help the state prepare for nuclear attack, the Board of Trustees decides on building materials for Nassau Hall, and more.

July 19, 1875—Maine’s Portland Daily Press reassures spectators of the Saratoga boat race that George D. Parmly of the Princeton crew does not have epilepsy, but just fainted from exhaustion and sleep deprivation.

July 20, 1956—The local regular radio and television stations pause for a “dim-out” as part of “Operation Alert 1956” by the New Jersey Civil Defense. The only broadcasts will be on civil defense wavelengths. This communications test is part of the state’s preparations for the possibility of nuclear attack.

July 22, 1754—The Board of Trustees vote that “the College be built of Brick if good Brick can be made at Princeton & if Sand can be got reasonably cheap.” Ultimately, Nassau Hall will be made of stone.

Nassau Hall as it appeared in New American Magazine, March 1760. Local quarries supplied stone for many of Princeton’s buildings over the centuries. Nassau Hall was built of local sandstone. Nassau Hall Iconography Collection (AC177), Box 1.

July 23, 1825—Students attend a meeting of the New Jersey Colonization Society.

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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This Week in Princeton History for January 11-17

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a newspaper pronounces the curriculum “fashionable” for including chemistry, rowing wins support at a mass meeting, and more.

January 11, 1805—The Albany Register notes that Princeton, among a handful of other colleges, offers students an education in chemistry, and notes “This extensive and useful science, is becoming gradually a part of regular and fashionable courses of study. And as soon as its great utility shall be more generally known and acknowledged, Chemistry, will be introduced into all colleges.”

January 13, 1877—Jacob Ridgway Wright, Class of 1879, visits the Stony Brook Sunday School in a Santa costume.

January 16, 1884—At a hastily-called mass meeting of the student body, attendees vote to establish rowing as a sport at Princeton, but strong opposition to it remains.

Though rowing was not supported by many students, a team had nonetheless been in existence for some time before the 1884 vote. This is Princeton’s varsity rowing team for the 1883-1884 academic year. Photo found in Athletics at Princeton: A History (1901).

January 17, 1994—Carrie Ryan ’95 struggles to reach her parents in Los Angeles on overloaded telephone circuits after the collapse of the Santa Monica freeway in the Northridge Earthquake. The 6.6 quake is the strongest ever to hit an urban area in the United States.

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 July 15-21

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the rowing crew enters its first intercollegiate regatta, a professor’s connections come in handy, and more.

July 15, 1874—The College of New Jersey enters its first intercollegiate regatta. The freshman crew wins the contest against Brown and Yale.

Ticket to the intercollegiate regatta at Saratoga Lake, July 15-16, 1874. Historical Subject Files (AC109), Box 139, Folder 4.

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This Week in Princeton History for July 31-August 6

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, an Olympian’s visa is revoked, laundry services are scarce, and more.

July 31, 1996—Media Services loses about 30% of its equipment and three staff members are stranded on an elevator in 3-foot-high water when a flash flood fills the basement of New South Hall.

August 1, 1874—Today’s issue of Harper’s Weekly includes a sketch of the finish in the College of New Jersey’s (Princeton’s) first Intercollegiate Regatta on Lake Saratoga. Princeton’s froshes won their event, while the varsity team took last place.

1924 reprint of 1874 Harper’s Weekly sketch from the Daily Princetonian.

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This Week in Princeton History for January 30-February 5

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, an investigation of a masked swordsman begins, a graduate carries the Olympic torch, and more.

January 30, 1805—The faculty of the College of New Jersey meet “to make inquiry concerning a mask & sword with which a person has been seen several times in the entries of the College.”

February 1, 1884—The Princetonian quotes Andrew Wilkins Wilson, Jr. of the Class of 1883 on the school’s decision to establish a rowing crew: “In my opinion (as well as in that of almost our entire class) it is a pure waste of time, money and muscle for Princeton to compete with other colleges on the water.”

February 2, 1933—Cold and snow stop the Nassau Hall bell tower clock with the hands frozen at 10:44AM, but exams proceed on schedule because the bells are rung manually.

Nassau Hall, undated. Historical Photograph Collection, Grounds and Buildings Series (AC111), Box AD05, Image No. 8576.

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