This Week in Princeton History for March 29-April 4

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a member of the Class of 1905 denounces racial exclusion, Elm Club opens, and more.

March 29, 1940—Socialist presidential candidate Norman Thomas, Class of 1905, takes Princeton’s racial exclusion to task in the Princeton Alumni Weekly. “At the least, if generation after generation of Princetonians is to support a custom which would make Princeton hell for the best qualified Negro, let us speak more respectfully of Hitler’s barbarous pseudo science of race.”

April 1, 1871—Today’s issue of Princeton’s College World rails against women’s involvement in politics and advocacy for women’s suffrage. “It is generally advocated by women who have long since banished all the hopes which they once entertained of becoming faithful and loving wives, and who have for a long time been deprived of those charms of youth and comeliness which may have once marked them as attractive members of society. … the cause is utterly worthless, indeed, to a great measure pernicious, since it would overthrow the benefits arising from our present form of government which has been established after so much labor and bloodshed.” They urge women to take care of orphans instead.

April 2, 1999—The “Pequod Express” takes frazzled Politics majors facing a tight senior thesis deadline from the Pequod copy center directly to Corwin Hall to drop off their bound theses and fill out final paperwork.

April 3, 1895—Princeton’s Elm Club opens.   

Elm Club as it appeared in the 1897 Bric-a-Brac.

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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Additional ACLU Collections Available

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There are now 3 more American Civil Liberties Union finding aids available online and accessible to the public:

Series 2: Project Files
The Project Files series contains the records of twelve of the ACLU’s projects, which each addressed an area of civil liberties violations. Project records typically consist of case files, research files, project publicity correspondence. The best documented projects are the Children’s Rights Project Women’s Rights Project, to a lesser extent the Arts Censorship Project, Capital Punishment Project, Reproductive Freedom Project.
Series 3: Subject Files
The Subject Files series contains articles, reports, court documents, and other materials collected by the ACLU during the course of their work. The main subjects are drugs, homelessness, and Supreme Court nominations, largely of Robert Bork. Other significant subjects in the series include campaign finance, discrimination, environmental equity and racism, school pension plans, state constitutions, and welfare.
Series 4: Legal Case Files
The Legal Case Files series documents the ACLU’s involvement in litigation, ranging from files collected on cases for research purposes to records of cases they were significantly involved in. The records include documents filed with the court, correspondence, lawyer’s notes, depositions and expert testimony, transcripts of the trials, newspaper clippings, and research materials on the background of the case and legal precedent.
The Legal Case Files series contains records about over 1,500 cases, with the majority being files collected on non-ACLU cases for research on the broad range of civil liberties which the ACLU investigates. Common subjects include the separation of church and state, public education, racial and sexual discrimination, injustice in the legal system, illegal surveillance and search, and protecting the freedom of speech and expression, as well as politics and voting, information access and privacy, fair employment and health care practices, and immigration. Cases which are particularly well documented include Carlos Rivera v. John Rowland about the public defender system in Connecticut and three cases about public education: Brown v. Board of Education, Charlet v. Legislature of Louisiana, and Harper v. Hunt.

For more information about the ACLU collections check out our recent post:
http://blogs.princeton.edu/mudd/2012/03/american-civil-liberties-union-records-new-series-available.html

-Adriane Hanson