This Week in Princeton History for October 21-27

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a guest speaker urges his audience to hold men and women to the same moral standards, the Princetonian urges smokers not to inhale, and more.

October 21, 1976—Randall Kennedy ’77, one of six students who made presentations on minority life to the Board of Trustees, says of the experience that Bill Bowen was the only encouragement he found. “He was the only hopeful glimmer in the whole thing. He seemed to be one of the few people listening.”

October 23, 1913—Clifford G. Roe, author of Horrors of the White Slave Trade, speaks in Alexander Hall on the problem of human trafficking in Chicago, urging students hold both men and women to the same moral standards.

October 24, 1879—The Princetonian warns students who must smoke to at least avoid inhaling. “College is the place to lay foundations for steady nerves, sound limbs, and strong lungs, as well as active brains, but this cannot be done by outraging every law of nature and common sense.”

Princeton Class of 1878 corn cob pipes. Memorabilia Collection (AC053), Box A30. Photo by April C. Armstrong. 

October 26, 1984—Charles Huber ’51 pens an editorial urging a return to Princeton’s white Protestant past, provoking strong opposition from faculty, students, administrators, alumni, those outside the Princeton community, and Huber’s own son. Huber’s editorial reads, in part, “The current administration doesn’t just hate our guts—it hates our genes. … If a balance is struck at 15 per cent Jews and 3 per cent minorities, justice will have been served.”

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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“Studying Is Fine, but Living Has Been Another Problem”: Mary Procter *71 and Coeducation at Princeton

Earlier this year, I began telling the story of the female graduate students who paved the way for undergraduate coeducation at Princeton University starting in 1961. This blog continues that story with a focus on Mary Procter *71 (often misspelled as Mary Proctor *71) and her unusually influential role while a Princeton graduate student.

Procter got then-Provost William Bowen’s attention with a 1968 letter to the Daily Princetonian that took campus men to task for their treatment of the few undergraduate women who were in Princeton classrooms at the time as exchange students in the Critical Languages Program. Procter made vague reference to the fact that the band had referred to these women as “cunning linguists” and made other crude jokes about them during the halftime show at the Princeton-Harvard game. Anonymously signing her letter as simply “Female Graduate Student,” Procter had written, “I had always thought that men’s universities produced men, lusty and bawdy if you will, but not sniggering sickly creatures, obsessed with double meanings which suggest that they are not interested in girls so much as lollipops or bits of mashed potato.” Procter later said she wrote in to the Prince because she was “furious” and felt “Princeton does not deserve to be coed.”

Jackie Johnson *70, Katie Marshall *69, and Mary Procter *71. Photo from the Princeton Alumni Weekly, May 13, 1969.

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