This Week in Princeton History for April 18-24

In this week’s installment of our recurring series, war bonds are on sale, faculty prohibit students from participating in a 12-hour walking match, and more.

April 20, 1942—Students can buy war bonds in Clio Hall today.

War bonds brochure, ca. 1942. Office of the Vice President and Secretary Records (AC190), Box 35, Folder 7.

April 21, 1979—A report on NBC Evening News considers the changing mores at Princeton University, where some students complain of intense pressure to have sex. Bill Kirby, introduced as “a sex therapist who is also Princeton’s Methodist chaplain,” says the cultural rules have changed from a prohibition on sex to a prescription for sex—the culture demands that students must be “a sexual gourmet, a sexual Ph.D.”

April 22, 1884—Natural history professor George Macloskie is elected chairman of the Prohibition Convention in Trenton and also delegate-at-large of the National Prohibition Convention.

April 23, 1879—Locals join in the pedestrianism fad by staging a 12-hour walking match, but faculty prohibit students from participating.

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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This Week in Princeton History for March 28-April 3

In this week’s installment of our recurring series, students join Anthony Comstock’s quest to rid America of vice, Princeton circulates a questionnaire for its “enemy aliens,” and more.

March 29, 1888—In a lecture to the Philadelphian Society, Anthony Comstock convinces many Princeton students to join his cause. This week, some of them will vote for a resolution to “express our thorough appreciation of Mr. Comstock’s work, and endorse his efforts in the suppression of vice.” Comstock opposes obscenity, abortion, contraception, gambling, prostitution, patent medicine, and women’s suffrage. The Philadelphian will note in its April issue, “It is a long time since the college has been stirred by any speaker as it was by the plain, straightforward, earnest words of Mr. Comstock.”

April 1, 1942—Princeton University circulates a questionnaire for its “enemy aliens” among its students, faculty, and staff.

Questionnaire sent to “enemy aliens” at Princeton University, April 1, 1942. (Click to enlarge.) Office of the Treasurer Records (AC128), Box 10. 

April 2, 1876—Some frosh take revenge on a mathematics tutor they say has wronged them by detonating a pound of explosives outside his door. The explosion breaks a window and sends part of his door flying into the room, damaging his sofa, Pittsburgh’s Daily Post will later report.

April 3, 1868—“Delta” writes in Princeton Standard: “This is a great town for customs, and for ancient, venerable, and time-honored things in general. We hear of them everlastingly. They are the burden of the song by day and by night. … Next to a ridiculous veneration for old customs, Princeton’s greatest enemy is her overweening self-conceit.”

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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This Week in Princeton History for February 28-March 6

In this week’s installment of our recurring series, an honorary degree is controversial, students fear smallpox, and more.

March 1, 1836—The Baltimore Literary and Religious Magazine expresses outrage that Princeton has awarded William Gaston (Class of 1796) an honorary L.L.D., because they disapprove of thus honoring a Catholic. “We pronounce it a most gross outrage on all Protestant, and under the circumstances, on all proper feelings.”

William Gaston, Class of 1796. Undergraduate Alumni Records 1748-1920 (AC104), Box 60.

March 2, 1899—In spite of reassurances from the faculty that there is no danger of it spreading, many students have left Princeton out of fears of contracting smallpox from a fellow student who has a mild case.

March 4, 1943—Princeton receives word that its director of the Bureau of Student Aid and Employment, Richard W. Warfield ’30, who was on leave to serve in the Marines, has become the first Princeton administrator to die in World War II.

Richard Warfield ’30. Historical Photograph Collection, Individuals Series (AC067), Box 18.

March 6, 1982—A few disapproving locals smash a Terrace Club window during a Gay Alliance of Princeton dance at the clubhouse.

For the previous installment in this series, click here.

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This Week in Princeton History for December 6-12

In this week’s installment of our recurring series, an ad invites students to participate in an experiment, Princeton pledges all of its resources to government, and more.

December 6, 1875—As the United States approaches its Centennial year, former Senator and future Secretary of the Interior Carl Schurz lectures to students on the positives and problems in American government, attributing a “decline in moral sentiment and political tone” to widespread corruption and loyalty to party over statesmanship.

December 8, 1961—A classified ad invites students to participate in a sensory deprivation experiment to determine how hallucinations might be induced, though they are not informed of the purpose of the study.

Classified ad from the Daily Princetonian.

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This Week in Princeton History for April 19-25

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, an excavation for new construction finds evidence of the original indigenous inhabitants of the area, a sophomore sees the inauguration of George Washington, and more.

April 21, 1802—A letter to the editor of Baltimore’s Democratic Republican attempts to reign in rumors that a student expelled from Princeton subsequently went on to incite an “insurrection” at the College of William and Mary, saying that student was suspended, not expelled, and is still in New Jersey, and therefore cannot have stirred up any rebellions in Virginia.

April 22, 1881—The Prince reports that an indigenous hatchet and stone pestle have been found in the excavation of Brown Hall.

Princeton University’s Brown Hall, ca. 1900. Historical Photograph Collection, Grounds and Buildings Series (AC111), Box MP07, Image No. 0147.

April 23, 1789—On spring vacation from Princeton, Jacob Burnet, Class of 1791, is in New York to witness the arrival of George Washington for his inauguration. “New-York bay was literally white with vessels and boats of all sizes, filled with admiring multitudes, both male and female, clad in their richest attire. Many of these vessels had bands of music on board, and all of them displayed flags painted for the occasion, each having an allusion to some interesting event in the life of this great man.”

April 25, 1935—Journalist Dorothy Thompson speaks to an audience of mostly local women in McCosh 50 on the significance of Germany’s National Socialist Party, warning that Adolf Hitler plans to take over all of Europe.

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.

This Week in Princeton History for August 31-September 6

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, alumnae celebrate the completion of a cross-country fundraising bike ride with a dip in the Fountain of Freedom, an invoice is paid for Nassau Hall’s weather vane, and more.

August 31, 1989—A champagne reception at the Princeton Public Library greets five Princeton University alumnae who bicycled across the country as a fundraiser for the Literacy Volunteers of America and Princeton’s women’s field hockey and lacrosse teams. After the reception, the women jump into the Fountain of Freedom near Robertson Hall. Altogether, they have raised more than $25,000.

September 1, 1941—After months of negotiations, Classics professor Shirley H. Weber and his wife arrive in Princeton, having left Athens about five weeks ago. He brings information about how the Greeks have been weathering the Axis occupation: “The Greek people wait and hope with a religious fervor for the ultimate victory of the British.”

Nassau Hall, 1860. Historical Photograph Collection, Grounds and Buildings Series (AC111), Box MP66, Image No. 2629.

September 2, 1856—Charles S. Olden, Treasurer of the College of New Jersey, pays an invoice from Bottom and Tiffany for $1,270.05 for the installation of a weather vane on the Nassau Hall cupola.

September 4, 1931—The Princeton Herald reports that the Great Depression is beginning to cause hardships for Princeton University students, quoting Student Employment manager Richard W. Warfield ’30: “the problem will be serious during the coming academic year…Undergraduate budgets which were not reduced at all last year will be cut this year and a great many more men will be forced to help support themselves.”

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.

This Week in Princeton History for July 20-26

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the Ivy League’s first Black dean dies, the FBI arrests a graduate student and holds him without charges, and more.

July 20, 1998—Carl Fields, a former Princeton University administrator and the first Black dean in the Ivy League, dies at 79.

Carl Fields (center) with members of Princeton University’s Association of Black Collegians, ca. 1960s. Carl Fields Papers (AC365), Box 12, Folder 12.

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This Week in Princeton History for May 25-31

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 1945 survives a bombing in France, the Prince responds to proposed limits on enrollment, and more.

May 25, 1940—Pierre Soesman ’45, who fled Belgium earlier this month, survives a terrifying German bomber attack on the road from Paris to Angers. He will later write of the experience, “When they left, we did not move from the ditch for more than five minutes. Finally, people began to get up, laughing in hysteria.”

May 26, 1921—The Daily Princetonian responds to the news that Princeton will begin limiting enrollment for the first time by kicking off an editorial series urging a holistic approach to admissions decisions rather than one based entirely on test scores.

As Princeton University began limiting enrollment in the 1920s, it instituted a new admissions system that included an application with evaluation from secondary school officials. This is a page from an application from a member of the Class of 1930 found in the Undergraduate Alumni Records (AC198).

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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 December 30-January 5

In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the Glee Club breaks speed records in the Midwest, the Princeton Alumni Weekly editor is drafted into military service, and more.

December 30, 1893—The Glee Club’s special tour train sets a record for the fastest journey ever taken from Louisville to Cincinnati, covering 119 miles in 136 minutes.

Though the Glee Clubs referred to themselves as part of “Princeton University” on the cover of their 1893-1894 Glee Club tour itinerary, Princeton didn’t officially change its name from the College of New Jersey until 1896. Historical Subject Files (AC109), Box 193, Folder 6.

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