In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, competing protests take place on Nassau Street, dormitory phones get voicemail, and more.
March 4, 1965—Competing groups of students, faculty, families, and other locals march in Palmer Square, one group to protest escalation of America’s military intervention in Vietnam and the other to support it. The group supporting military intervention ends their demonstration by laying down their protest signs and singing “Old Nassau,” while opponents gather signatures for a petition asking for an end to the bombing.
In this week’s installment of our recurring series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, hazing makes national headlines, McCarter Theater opens, and more.
February 18, 1878—During a particularly severe outbreak of hazing, a gunfight breaks out on Nassau Street between freshmen and sophomores, with one student being shot in the thigh. Coverage in the national Police Gazette will follow.
In this week’s installment of our returning series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a recent graduate engages in civil disobedience, Albert Einstein sets sail for Princeton, and more.
October 1, 1984—Leo Schiff ’83 breaks into a military facility in Rhode Island to disarm nuclear warheads as part of the “Plowshares” civil disobedience movement. He and three others will be sentenced to a year in prison for the act.
Abbie Minard ’20 is a history concentrator with a primary interest in early American history. On campus, she is a research associate at the Papers of Thomas Jefferson, music director and a DJ at WPRB, artistic director of the TapCats (tap dancing group), and a member of the Princeton Laptop Orchestra. She is also a poet with a love for dada and experimental performance.
As a part the exhibition, Learning to Fight and Fighting to Learn: Education in Times of War, we digitized a half hour BBC radio broadcast from 1946 that featured Princeton University for an audio portrait of university life in the United States. The program, titled “An American University,” was one half of a radio exchange program with Oxford on the Mutual Broadcasting System.
The audio included in the segment was recorded in November and December as Princeton celebrated its bicentennial anniversary. It features a wide array of Princeton voices, covering university history, academics, residential, and social life, with spotlights on the football team and the glee club, whose musical interludes are interspersed throughout the program.
We selected photographs from our collections to accompany the audio for this video.
In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the Judicial Committee makes its first disciplinary decisions, the campus debates housing policies for same sex couples, and more.
April 2, 1917—Senator Henry Cabot Lodge attacks Alexander Bannwart, Class of 1906, in the only known case of a U.S. Senator physically attacking a constituent. Bannwart and two others visited the Massachusetts senator to protest President Woodrow Wilson’s request for a Congressional declaration of war against Germany.
Alexander Bannwart, ca. 1906. Historical Photograph Collection, Student Photograph Albums Series (AC061), Box 116.
In 1942, The Long Island Railroad (LIRR) took the unprecedented step of hiring women as engine cleaners. World War II’s labor shortages had opened new doors for women, especially in the transportation industry. The engine cleaners performed well, so the LIRR hired many more women for positions previously held only by men, dubbing them “trainwomen.” LIRR president M. W. Clement explained in a press release, “The substitution of inexperienced employees for the trained employees has been a problem so far well met, and many women are now in services that have generally been accepted as a man’s calling.”
Lillian Markowski, age 20, an engine cleaner for the Long Island Railroad. Markowski took over her fiance’s job when he joined the Army. Her brother was also a soldier. Photo by Roy Pitney, February 2, 1943, Ivy Ledbetter Lee Papers (MC085), Box 103, Folder 4.
Ivy Lee and Associates, the pioneering public relations company owned by Ivy Ledbetter Lee (Princeton University Class of 1898), represented the LIRR. As the LIRR began hiring women, Lee’s company sent out materials with text and images promoting this a positive move, not a threat to men currently fighting abroad. “Don’t worry about your jobs,” one said on a radio broadcast for troops in Australia and Great Britain, “We’ll hold the home front until you men come home. Then you can have your jobs back.” A press release about the broadcast praised this as evidence of “fine, whole hearted devotion to the cause of democracy” among women working for the railroad. Continue reading →
War can interrupt education as military training replaces traditional curricula. While away from campus, many soldiers, even those not pursuing a degree, turn to books for diversion or solace, as well as to increase their knowledge. By 1943, many Princeton students were leaving the University to join the U.S. military. Many of those serving were being stationed overseas. Princeton University and its faculty members made an effort to send a Christmas packet to students abroad, hoping to provide intellectual stimulation along with recreation.
A special, personalized bookplate identified these pocket editions as gifts from Princeton University. Historical Subject Files (AC109), Box 415, Folder 6.
Lawrence Rauch *49, a mathematics graduate student and a research assistant in physics, concentrated on radio telemetry while at Princeton. He lived in the Graduate College near John Tukey, Rauch’s mentor during this time. Richard Feynman also lived nearby. Rauch was passionate about his studies, but World War II affected his academic experience. He won the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowship in 1942, but due to his involvement in war research had to turn it down. Throughout the war, Rauch worked on defense related projects–which had the added benefit of keeping him out of the draft. He was chosen among five other members of the University to attend the first series of post-war nuclear testing being conducted in the Pacific Ocean by the Joint Army and Navy Task Force at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands in 1946.
Lawrence Rausch *49’s ROTC portrait. Lawrence Rausch Papers (AC393), Box 2, Folder 10.
In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the library makes a significant change in how it catalogs books, the Board of Trustees is divided over a hiring decision, and more.
An employee shelves books in the Princeton University Library, ca. 1970s. The call numbers here are all Richardson numbers. (Click to enlarge.) Historical Photograph Collection, Campus Life Series (AC112), Box MP06, Image No. 132.
On February 19, 1942, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which authorized the Secretary of War to determine the boundaries of artificially-designated “military zones” that allowed the United States to move Japanese Americans into internment camps. Princeton University was not within these military zones. Nonetheless, its sole Japanese student during World War II, Kentaro Ikeda ’44, found his freedom severely restricted during and immediately following the war. Rather than confinement in one of America’s concentration camps, Ikeda instead experienced a kind of solitary internment on the Princeton campus.
Kentaro Ikeda ’44. Undergraduate Alumni Records (AC199).