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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Clothes Make the Woman: William H. Walker’s Critiques of 1890s Fashion and Feminism in Life Editorial Cartoons

In the 1850s, women’s rights activists attempted to popularize a new fashion, known as “bloomers” because of one of its best-known advocates, Amelia Bloomer. The summer of 1851 saw scores of women wearing these loose-fitting pants inspired by Turkish pantaloons. Suffragettes were some of the most passionate enthusiasts of the new style, but soon felt that the attention being paid to their clothing was detracting from their message, and by the end of the Civil War, bloomers had fallen completely out of fashion.

The 1890s brought a revival of bloomers after the Woman’s Congress of the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893 featured young women modeling various versions of them. When Annie “Londonderry” Cohen Kopchovsky wore bloomers for a bicycle trip around the world (1894-1895), female cyclists almost universally adopted some form of pants. Bicycling for Ladies (1896), for example, advised cycling in a shirtwaist and knickerbockers, and asserted that “Bicycling requires the same freedom of movement that swimming does, and the dress must not hamper or hinder.” As this suggests, there were changes in what women wore in water, too. Bathing costumes were becoming less voluminous and more practical, with the French style of the 1870s (a simple top and trousers) radically changing beachwear on this side of the Atlantic. By the 1890s more sporty suits made swimming, rather than merely dipping into the water or paddling, a real possibility.

Untitled cartoon showing a woman with a bicycle talking with a woman in a wet swimming costume, 1895. William H. Walker Cartoon Collection (MC068), Box 1.

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This Week in Princeton History for March 30-April 5

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the library receives a new gift of F. Scott Fitzgerald correspondence, a campus publication rails against women’s suffrage, and more.

March 31, 1967— Charles Scribner Jr. ’43 presents the Princeton University Library with Charles Scribner’s Sons complete correspondence with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Class of 1917.

An excerpt from a letter F. Scott Fitzgerald, Class of 1917, to Max Perkins, his editor at Charles Scribner’s Sons, December 20, 1924:
“Hotel des Princes, Piazza di Spague, Rome.
“Dear Max:
“I’m a bit (not very–not dangerously) stewed tonight & I’ll probably write you a long letter. We’re living in a small, unfashionable but most comfortable hotel at $525.00 a month including tips, meals, etc. Rome does not particularly interest me but it’s a big year here, and early in the spring  we’re going to Paris. There’s no use telling you my plans because they’re usually just about as unsuccessful as to work as a religious prognosticater’s [sic] are as to the End of the World. Iv’e got a new novel to write–title and all, that’ll take about a year. Meanwhile, I don’t want to start it until this is out & meanwhile I”ll do short stories for money (I now get $2000.00 a story but I hate worse than hell to do them) and there’s the never dying lure of another play.
“Now! Thanks enormously for making up the $5000.00. I know I don’t technically deserve it considering I’ve had $3000.00 or $4000.00 for as long as I can remember. But since you force it on me (inexorable [or is it exorable] joke) I will accept it. I hope to Christ you get 10 times it back on Gatsby–and I think perhaps you will.” 
Archives of Charles Scribner’s Sons (C0101); Manuscripts Division (Firestone Library), Department of Special Collections.

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This Week in Princeton History for March 26-April 1

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the debate team takes up women’s suffrage, a letter defends Russell Crowe’s behavior on campus, and more.

March 26, 1957—Thanks to a local law prohibiting coin-operated games not requiring skill, the last of Princeton’s pinball machines is removed, saddening undergraduates.

Clipping from the Daily Princetonian.

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This Week in Princeton History for October 9-15

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a professor wins the Nobel Prize for Medicine, the Princetonian complains about taking lecture notes, and more.

October 10, 1995—Molecular biology professor Eric Wieschaus has won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his genetic research with Drosophila melanogaster (fruit flies). Seeming overwhelmed, Wieschaus tells reporters at a press conference, “The knowledge that I can go into a lab and do (experiments) and still have a reasonable success rate—that’s the greater pleasure for me than getting the award. It’s just being a scientist. …You will know something nobody else has ever known before, and that’s a great feeling.”

Eric Wieschaus at a press conference the day after winning the Nobel Prize in Medicine, October 10, 1995. Historical Photograph Collection, Individuals Series (AC067), Box AD15, Folder 52.

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This Week in Princeton History for October 2-8

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, smoking in class comes to an end, a woman against female suffrage speaks in Alexander Hall, and more.

October 3, 1981—A hawk crashes through a window in Firestone Library, knocking a 6-inch hole in the glass. Startled students studying near the window capture the injured bird, which will ultimately be released near Lot 21.

October 4, 1960—Students protest a new rule against smoking in class.

Cartoon from the Daily Princetonian.

October 5, 1915—Minnie Bronson of the Princeton Branch of the New Jersey Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage gives an address in Alexander Hall.

October 6, 1930—The Daily Princetonian receives a note in response to a subscription postcard from Wilson Aull of the Class of 1891 accusing the paper of being “a traitor to the U. S. Constitution” because of its stand on the Eighteenth Amendment (Prohibition). Aull declines to subscribe.

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 September 25-October 1

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the Gest East Asian Collection finds a new home, a prominent feminist argues in favor of women’s suffrage, and more.

September 25, 1760—The Board of Trustees add knowledge of “Vulgar Arithmetick” to the existing admission requirements.

September 26, 1972—The Gest East Asian Collection moves to a dedicated library of its own in Palmer Hall.

East Asian Studies graduate student Deborah Porter *89 studying in Princeton University’s Gest Library, 1985. Office of Communications Records (AC168), Box 219.

September 28, 1915—A meeting “In the Interest of Woman Suffrage” is held in Alexander Hall. The speaker, Beatrice Forbes-Robertson Hale, author of What Women Want: An Interpretation of the Feminist Movement, says, “Men and women are not equal, and as individuals never can become equal, but we do believe that they should have equality of opportunity.”

October 1, 1862—The Nassau Literary Magazine reflects on a changed campus at the College of New Jersey (Princeton): “Ours has been no ordinary college-course… we were forcibly reminded that all the terrors of a civil war were just about to burst upon us. The Southerners soon turned their backs upon these classic shades, and ’63 suffered with the rest; one after another has dropped from our number, and now scarcely half its former size the class is passing through its senior year.”

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 February 27-March 5

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, Colonial Club’s financial pressures force its closure, women march on Washington, and more.

February 28, 1946—Princeton University announces that women will live in student housing on campus for the first time, opening Brown Hall to married veterans after providing only single-gender accommodations at the institution for 200 years.

Couples arriving at Brown Hall, 1946. Historical Photograph Collection, Campus Life Series (AC112), Box MP166, Image No. 6055.

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This Week in Princeton History for February 8-14

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, sophmores take over Quadrangle Club, the Suffrage Walking Pilgrims make their way through campus, and more.

February 8, 1991—Frustrated by their unsuccessful efforts to join other eating clubs during Bicker, 100 sophomores stage a “takeover” of Quadrangle Club, one of the sign-in clubs. Current membership of the club is apprehensive about the likely results of this influx of new members (now over 60% of the total membership).

Quadrangle_Club_AC111_Box_AD2_Image_7824

Quadrangle Club, undated. Historical Photograph Collection, Grounds and Buildings Series (AC111), Box AD02, Image No. 7824.

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This Week in Princeton History for September 28-October 4

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a prominent feminist urges Princetonians to support women’s suffrage, dorm residents struggle to keep warm, and more.

September 29, 1915—On the same day as President Woodrow Wilson is in town but refusing to answer reporters’ questions about whether or not he supports female suffrage, Beatrice Forbes-Robertson Hale, author of What Women Want: An Interpretation of the Feminist Movement, gives an address in Alexander Hall calling for American women to be given the right to vote.

September 30, 1939—Ralph Wood, a modern languages instructor at Princeton, arrives at Jersey City after a harrowing 18-day journey across the Atlantic with 200 other people on board a boat that normally holds 12, having fled Germany during the outbreak of hostilities that will soon be known as World War II.

October 1, 1976—Although the heat would normally have been turned on in the dorms in accordance with New Jersey law at the beginning of October, instead students read an announcement letting them know that it will be delayed until October 11 due to a national energy crisis. As temperatures dip below 50 degrees Fahrenheit at night, students begin bundling up to keep warm.

Student_studying_with_scarf_1978_Bric

A student bundled against the indoor chill at Princeton University, ca. Fall 1976. Photo from 1978 Bric-a-Brac.

October 4, 1997—At least 15 Princeton students join approximately 500,000 evangelical men at an all-male prayer rally on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the “Promise Keepers” organization.

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.