This Week in Princeton History for August 1-7

In this week’s installment of our recurring series, an alum encourages political revolution, a newspaper speculates on the reasons 32 Princeton students have flunked, and more.

August 2, 1781—Preaching to “a large assembly,” James Power (Class of 1766) urges support for the American Revolution. “Think of ye cruel acts of ye British parliament,” he says, “by which we and our children ar[e] to be made slaves forever, and the money which we had earned by the sweat of our brows taken from us without a reason rendered for so doing.”

August 3, 1901—The Trenton Evening Times speculates that the failure of 32 students at Princeton on their recent exams—meaning they will all drop back one year—is the fault of an overemphasis on athletics.

“Athletics” section header from 1901 Bric-a-Brac. The largely forgotten rallying cry on the fireplace in the illustration, “Oranje Boven,” is Dutch for “Orange on Top.” It was once a popular cheer for fans at Princeton sporting events, but today, you’ll be more likely to hear it from fans of soccer in the Netherlands.

August 4, 1942—To support the local Community Canning Kitchen, a group of undergraduates picks 13 bushels of apples from a local garden, which other volunteers will turn into applesauce.

August 5, 2010—The U.S. Senate votes 63-37 to confirm Elena Kagan ’81 as a Supreme Court justice.

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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This Week in Princeton History for June 12-18

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the Liberty Bell is in town, the first woman earns a Princeton degree, and more.

June 13, 1878—A member of the Class of 1878 writes that he is disappointed by the College of New Jersey (Princeton)’s invitation to U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes to speak at Commencement, saying his appearance would dishonor the graduates and Commencement would be “made subservient to outsiders.” It is ultimately a moot point; Hayes declines the invitation.

College of New Jersey (Princeton) Commencement Program, 1878. Princeton University Commencement Records (AC115), Box 2, Folder 18.

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From the Archives: Princeton and the Supreme Court

Journalists and pundits are noting that Elena Kagan’s

confirmation to the Supreme Court last week marks the first time three women have served concurrently on

the high court. However, Kagan’s confirmation marks another historic

occasion — the first time in 168 years that three Princetonians have shared

the bench.

While 2010’s trio consists of Samuel Alito ‘ 72, Sonia

Sotomayor ’76, and Elena Kagan ’81, the 1842 trio consisted of Smith Thompson

‘1788, Peter V. Daniel ‘1805, and James Moore Wayne ‘1808.


Justices Thompson

‘1788 (Undergraduate Alumni Records), Daniel ‘1805 (Dickinson University’s House Divided Project), and Wayne ‘1808 (Library of Congress).

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