“The election of Ex-President Woodrow Wilson ’79 to the Presidency of the United States was jubilantly celebrated in Princeton. President Hibben ordered the bell rung and the national flag raised on Nassau Hall, suspended the exercises of the University and made Wednesday a holiday, and sent the following message to the President-elect: ‘In the name of Princeton University I extend to you the congratulations and best wishes of your Alma Mater upon your election to the Presidency of the United States.’ ”
By Thomas J. Wertenbaker
For college basketball fans, March is a magical time of year, and Princeton could have two reasons to celebrate this month, if both the men’s and women’s basketball teams reach the postseason. In honor of Tiger hoops teams present and past, we flipped through the archives to find PAW covers that celebrated great seasons on the hardwood.
In the months before his death, he had been working sporadically as a Hollywood screenwriter. His literary reputation had gradually dwindled in the 1930s, but the man who famously quipped that “there are no second acts in American life” achieved remarkable posthumous acclaim, thanks in part to fellow alumni like the literary critic Edmund Wilson ’16 and author Arthur Mizener ’30, Fitzgerald’s first biographer.
Many of us of the Class of 1917 felt that a bright page of our youth had been torn out and crumpled up when we learned of the death of Scott Fitzgerald, who died of a heart attack in Hollywood, Calif., on December 21. Scott’s whole early career is typified in his very first face to face encounter with the authorities at Princeton. He needed extra points to be admitted to the freshman class, and, on his unconventional plea before the faculty committee that it was his seventeenth birthday, the members of the committee laughed and admitted him.
On Nov. 11, the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame will induct Hobey Baker, Class of 1914, a legendary football and hockey star at Princeton. That Baker would be honored on Veterans Day seems appropriate: A World War I fighter pilot, he died in a flying accident the month after the Allies and Germans signed the Nov. 11, 1918, armistice that ended the war.
Baker, a native of Bala-Cynwyd, Pa., was an agile and swift open-field runner on the football field. He also earned acclaim for his kicking skills. But it was in hockey that he truly dazzled, earning a reputation as the greatest player of his era. At the time, hockey was a relatively minor sport on campus, in part because Princeton did not have its own rink. Varsity games were played in New York City.
Baker’s athletic exploits were well known to his contemporaries, but shortly after his death, the Princeton Alumni Weekly took a closer look at his contributions as an aviator with an article written by Maj. Charles Biddle 1911, a flying ace and one of Baker’s former commanders. In it, Biddle describes Baker as “a striking example of the finest that America can produce” – courageous, unselfish, and modest.
The full text of Biddle’s article is included below.
From PAW, Jan. 15, 1919
Captain Hobart Baker’s career in the service
By Maj. Charles J. Biddle 1911
To the many friends of Captain Hobart A. H. Baker 1914 the news from France that he was killed in an accident while flying at the Toul aerodrome on Saturday, December 21st, came as a great shock. With the fighting at an end we had all been hoping to see him home before long, where we could personally do him the honor which he so richly deserved, for no one ever knew Hobey Baker who did not admire him for his many splendid qualities and the work he had done, and love him for the man he was. His death makes us realize more than ever that the great war did not end with the signing of the armistice, nor will it end for many years to come, and we know that our friend has laid down his life for a cause to which his whole heart was devoted, just as surely as though he had gone down in combat on the lines.