“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.
On Aug. 25, Princeton football kicked off practice for the 2010 season on campus, at the recently renovated Finney and Campbell fields. But previous generations of Tigers may remember a very different site for August workouts: Blairstown, N.J., near the Delaware Water Gap. The secluded retreat hosted football’s preseason practices from 1949 to 1972, when new coach Bob Casciola ’58 decided to work out on campus to accommodate a larger roster and provide indoor options on rainy days. In 1967, a few years before Blairstown’s final football camp, PAW featured the training locale in the photo essay reprinted below.
From PAW, Nov. 14, 1967
A Blairstown Portfolio
Photographed by George Peterson ’65
The Princeton Summer Camp is located three miles north of Blairstown, New Jersey, not far from the Delaware Water Gap. The Camp is owned by Princeton’s Student Christian Association and financed, independent of the University, by charity.
When the Ivy League’s track and field teams compete at the Outdoor Heptagonals May 8-9 at Princeton’s Weaver Track, the Tiger women will be aiming for a rare trifecta — Ivy titles in cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track in the same academic year. The last — and only — women’s team to accomplish that feat also ran for Princeton, in 1980-81. Below, PAW looks back in the archives for its account of that remarkable team, which, like this year’s squad, was coached by Peter Farrell. Farrell, now in his 33rd season, enters the weekend with 24 Ivy track or cross country championships, eight in each season.
Fans of Ivy track and field history also may be interested in Brett Hoover’s HepsTrack.com story about the 1970 Heps, contested during the tumultuous days following the American invasion of Cambodia and the shootings at Kent State University.
From PAW, May 18, 1981
Women’s Track: Ahead of the Pack
By Mark J. Sherman ’83
Much like the people charged with delivering the daily mail, it seems that nothing can keep the swift-footed members of the women’s track team from completing their appointed rounds, way ahead of their competition. Head Coach Peter Farrell’s squad handily defeated two opponents in dual meets, easily won the Ivy meet, and qualified a couple of runners for the national championships.
If this all sounds familiar, it should. In three years as a varsity sport, the team has taken the Ivies all three times. And earlier this year, the Tigers won the first running of the indoor Ivy championships as well as the Ivy cross country title.
But Farrell refuses to rest on his laurels. He is, in his own estimation, one of the few Ivy women’s coaches to recruit actively. The annual influx of talented runners has given Princeton substantial depth, enough to make up for the loss through injury of two key performers this spring. Middle-distance runner Eve Thompson ’82 sat out the entire outdoor season, and hurdler Sari Chang ’84 missed the Ivies, but their teammates kept the Tigers well represented in the score sheets. “We could afford a couple of problem spots here and there, because the trademark of this team is balanced scoring,” says Coach Farrell.
The May 5, 1970, PAW featured an unusual sight on the cover: Nassau Street, closed to traffic “for the first time in memory.” Students and townspeople wandered on the road and rode bicycles April 19, kicking off Princeton’s first Earth Day celebration. Princetonians will be back on the street Saturday, April 24, for Communiversity, Princeton’s annual town-gown festival. Below, PAW’s coverage of the Earth Week events in 1970.
From PAW, May 5, 1970
The University: Earth Day
Earth Day, April 22, was only part of Earth Week at Princeton. On Sunday, April 19, students and townspeople gathered in front of Nassau Hall and spread out for litter clean-up marches in various parts of the campus and community. Two hours later, the debris was dumped near the PJ&B railroad station.
There was also a memorial service for the internal combustion engine, a band concert, and exhibition of 100 wooden panels on which Princeton artists depicted aspects of the environmental crisis. For two hours, Nassau Street was closed to traffic while the crowd sang “This Land is Your Land,” handed out “polluter” awards, watched tricycle races, and looked at displays of “eco-pornography.”