This Week in Princeton History for September 23-29

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the Princetonian complains about a change in staffing, a new kiosk is under construction, and more.

September 24, 1899—Today’s issue of Nature refers to the “Libbey Deep” off the shores of Newfoundland, newly named in honor of physical geography professor William Libbey, Class of 1877.

September 25, 1765—The Board of Trustees orders the buttery to provide bread, butter, candles, and small beer for sale to students, but prohibits sales to students of anything else.

September 26, 1878—The Princetonian complains about a change in staffing: “The men servants who last year did good service in the entries of the various dormitories, and proved such real comfort to the students, have been dismissed, and we are left to have all our work done by a few superannuated Irish women, who are required to do an immense amount of work in so short a time that they necessarily do it in a careless, partial manner, which is worse than absolute neglect.”

September 27, 1988—A new kiosk, designed by Robert Venturi ’47 to better blend in with surrounding architecture, is under construction at Princeton University’s Nassau Street entrance.

Artist’s rendering of Princeton University’s Nassau Street kiosk, found in Handbook of Information for the Administrative Staff, 1971, Historical Subject Files (AC109), Box 241, Folder 6.

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.

Princeton University and the Spanish American War

This post is part of a series on education and war related to our current exhibition, “Learning to Fight, Fighting to Learn: Education in Times of War,” on display through June 2018. Please stop by to learn more.

When the United States intervened on behalf of Cuba in 1898, the naval ship USS Maine sank in Havana Harbor. Though the cause remains unclear, popular belief was that Spain was responsible. Americans were outraged. Princeton University students, enthusiastic about the possibility of fighting for their country, agitated to enlist to fight in the Spanish-American War.

On April 2, 1898, students demonstrated their feelings in what the Chicago Daily Tribune called “an outburst of patriotism.” They cheered for U.S. President William McKinley, the American flag, and Cuba. They marched through town dragging the Spanish colors through the streets and carrying pro-American and pro-Cuban slogans, a dozen American flags, and one Cuban flag. Finding their way to the residence of former U.S. President Grover Cleveland on Bayard Avenue, they cheered for him as well. They then went on to the home of Princeton president Francis Landey Patton, who addressed the students with praise for McKinley. Patton’s words were met with more cheering. After this parade through town, the students returned to Cannon Green, where they burned Spain’s King Alfonso XIII in effigy, waved flags, joined hands, danced in circles around the cannon, and sang, “O me, O my; how we’ll make the Spaniards cry!”

Following this display, physical geography professor William Libbey encountered Patton and James Ormsbee Murray, Dean of the Faculty, looking deeply unsettled, “so much so that the gloom impressed me,” Libbey later wrote. Students were planning to enlist en masse, and Patton worried that this would be the end of Princeton University. “We are afraid that they are going to break up [the] College,” Patton told Libbey. Libbey said he had an idea: he could go to the enlistment meeting the students planned and organize military drills for them on campus, providing an outlet for their emotions while keeping them in school. Patton agreed to the plan.

William Libbey, undated. Historical Photograph Collection, Faculty Photographs Series (AC067), Box FAC59.

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This Week in Princeton History for July 13-19

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the first African American head coach in the Ivy League is hired, a professor climbs a mountain, and more.

July 13, 1770—Students are outraged by a “Letter from the Merchants in New York to the Committee of Merchants in Philadelphia,” which they have somehow intercepted. The letter outlines the intent of the New York merchants to abandon a nonimportation agreement within the colonies. In response, the students process in front of Nassau Hall and burn the letter “with hearty Wishes, that the Names of all Promoters of such a daring Breach of Faith, may be blasted in the Eyes of every Lover of Liberty, and their Names handed down to Posterity, as Betrayers of their Country.”

July 14, 1970—Larry Ellis is named head coach of track and cross country at Princeton University, becoming the first African American head coach in the Ivy League. He will later coach at the 1984 Olympic Games.

Cross_country_team_1981_AC168_Box_168

Larry Ellis (far left, middle row) with the 1981 Princeton University cross country team. Office of Communications Records (AC168), Box 168.

July 16, 1799—Three students are brought before the faculty on charges of “a violation of those Laws of the College which forbid the carrying of firearms.” They write a letter of apology and are permitted to continue their studies.

July 17, 1877—Princeton professor William Libbey makes the first recorded ascent of Mount Princeton near Nathrop, Colorado.

Mount_Princeton_undated_AC126_Box_27

Mount Princeton, undated. Princeton Alumni Weekly Photograph Collection (AC126), Box 27.

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.

This Week in Princeton History for June 29-July 5

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, head cheerleader Jimmy Stewart ’32 dies, students find themselves paying for a good deed, and more.

June 29, 1914—Construction begins on Palmer Stadium.

Palmer_Stadium_August_3_1914_AC111_MP72_No.2869

Palmer Stadium under construction, August 3, 1914. Historical Photograph Collection, Grounds and Buildings Series (AC111), Box MP72, No. 2869.

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This Week in Princeton History for January 19-25

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, Woodrow Wilson refuses to have a ball, Princeton students fight to get into a class about married life, and more.

January 19, 1895—Marshall P. Wilder, the first comedian with a disability, performs at the Second Presbyterian Church in Princeton, with College of New Jersey (Princeton University) students in the audience.

Marshall Wilder flyer

Flyer advertising Marshall P. Wilder’s performance in Princeton January 19, 1895. Music Performance at Princeton Collection (AC205), Box 2.

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