This Week in Princeton History for February 26-March 4

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, Oprah Winfrey makes a surprise visit, sales of an undergraduate publication are banned, and more.

February 27, 1931—The Daily Princetonian reports on a recent interview with Bruce Barton, a prominent author and advertising executive who will later represent Manhattan in the U.S. Congress, quoting him as saying, “Going to college is a current fad, like Backgammon,” but because “People who would be ruined by college would be ruined anyway,” it hurts no one.

February 28, 1998—Oprah Winfrey makes an unannounced visit to Lowrie House to record an interview with Toni Morrison.

March 1, 1948—Although the faculty decline to discipline the students responsible for the Nassau Sovereign’s “Unofficial Register,” which offended many, a ban on sales of the student publication in the U-Store remains in effect.

The “Unofficial Register of Princeton University” mimicked the Official Register of Princeton University in many respects, but offered a student’s perspective on the merits of certain professors and courses rather than neutral information. Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students Records (AC136), Box 12

March 3, 1969—The faculty approve a program in Afro-American studies.

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.

Toni Morrison’s Born-Digital Material

By Elena Colon-Marrero and Allison Hughes

On October 14, 2014, Princeton University announced it had acquired the papers of author, emeritus faculty member, and Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison. The papers, which are currently being processed, consist of approximately 200 linear feet of material, including manuscripts, drafts, correspondence, working files, teaching material, and just over 150 floppy disks. The disks come in 2 varieties, 3.5” and 5.25”, pictured below:

5.25” and 3.5” floppy disks

5.25” and 3.5” disks

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This Week in Princeton History for October 6-12

For last week’s installment in our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its students and alumni, click here.

For the week of October 6-12:

Toni Morrison is named a Nobel Laureate, an undergrad gets international attention for a physics paper, and more.

October 6, 1938—Princeton University is selected as one of the world’s libraries holding the Westinghouse Time Capsule Book of Record. The Westinghouse Time Capsule is scheduled to be opened in the year 5939. Those who would like to read the book can find it at Firestone Library.

Time_Capsule_Contents_1938_MC105_Box53

Some of the contents of the Westinghouse Time Capsule before being packed in Bloomfield, New Jersey, 1938. Photo from the G. Edward Pendray Papers (MC105), Box 53.

October 7, 1993—English professor Toni Morrison is the first African-American to be chosen as the Nobel Laureate in literature.

Toni_Morrison_1993_Nobel_Prize_Celebration

Toni Morrison celebrates her Nobel Prize win, 1993. Photo from Office of Communications Records (AC168), Box 192, Folder 64.

October 9, 1976—The New York Times reports that anti-nuclear activist and Princeton Tiger mascot John Aristotle Phillips ’78 has designed a workable atom bomb using unclassified information for his independent physics project, with the goal of drawing attention to America’s weaknesses to terrorist threats. This will bring Phillips significant notoriety, and result in his own paper being classified by the U.S. government (and it will therefore not be available in the Princeton archives). France and Pakistan will both offer to buy Phillips’s paper, but Phillips will refuse to sell.

John_Aristotle_Phillips_(Center)_To_Tell_the_Truth_21_Mar_1977_PAW

John Aristotle Phillips ’78 (center) during an appearance on the game show “To Tell the Truth.” Photo by Peter Michaelis for the Princeton Alumni Weekly.

October 10, 1920—The reorganized University band debuts as 20 students in black sweaters and white flannels play at halftime of the Maryland football game.

Fact check: We always strive for accuracy, but if you believe you see an error, please contact us.