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Princetonians in Print: Exhibition Shows History of Student Publications at Princeton

“Princetonians in Print: 175 Years of Student Publications at Princeton,” a new exhibition at the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, chronicles the history and rich variety of student publications at Princeton from the earliest known student papers to the broad range of present-day online publications. The exhibition opens Friday, Feb. 19, and runs through Friday, July 30.


Drawing on the holdings of the University Archives housed at the Mudd Library, “Princetonians in Print” includes original newspapers as well as artwork, photographs, letters and artifacts. In addition, visitors will be able to listen to sound clips of student radio productions from the archives’ audiovisual collections. Bringing the history of student publications at Princeton into the 21st century, the exhibition ends with a slideshow of student publications available online, including a sampling of home pages, blogs, YouTube pages and Twitter accounts.

“This exhibition reveals Princeton’s long, rich publication history and how it is adapting to the 21st century,” said University Archivist Dan Linke.


Visitors will see the oldest known student publication at Princeton, The Chameleon of 1835, alongside other early gems such as newspapers, literary journals, pictorial magazines, humorous and “grinding” papers (papers mocking a specific class), and the first campus guide written by students for students in the 1970s.

The second part of the exhibition explores the creative and political forces involved in the production of specific newspapers. An ink-and-pencil drawing by Brown Rolston of the Class of 1910 and a hand-drawn, illustrated newsletter by Lafayette Butler of the Class of 1908 demonstrate the extraordinary artistic abilities of student editors and illustrators. The march of technical innovation from linotype to cold type and photographic reproduction gave rise to a new genre of pictorial publications, which is exemplified in pages from the Princeton Pictorial. The case of The Chimera, a world-class literary magazine that was denied a University charter due to the pressures of World War II, introduces the issue of political influences in the form of campus committees and world politics.

Visitors will be introduced to several celebrated student authors and contributors to student-run publications, many of whom went on to become literary prize winners. Featured items include letters, poems, lyrics and cartoons, as well as the student work of Booth Tarkington of the Class of 1893, John Peale Bishop of the Class of 1917 and John McPhee of the Class of 1953. Other notables include publisher Charles Scribner of the Class of 1840, Foreign Affairs editor Hamilton Fish Armstrong of the Class of 1916 and magazine mogul Malcolm Forbes of the Class of 1941. A related case in the lobby of the Mudd Library centers on author and Princeton alumnus F. Scott Fitzgerald of the Class of 1917. From humor to drama and from poetry to prose, this case explores the various student publications in which Fitzgerald made his mark. Highlighted are excerpts from The Princeton Tiger and The Nassau Literary Magazine, as well as Triangle Club scores and more.

Princeton’s proud tradition of campus humor is examined beginning with the 1840s gossip paper The Tattler. The rivalry between each undergraduate class is illustrated in lampoon publications such as The Nassau Rake and Paul Pry. Objects depicting significant events from the 128-year history of The Princeton Tiger also are featured along with other highlights such as the first Daily Princetonian joke issue, a yearbook entry for fictitious undergraduate Ignatius Veritas Ivyvine, and specialty publications such as the chemical engineering magazine Stress and Strain.

While a light element prevails in some publications, student editors were not isolated from the major events of the day. Humor is juxtaposed with the more serious responses of student news outlets to campus and world events including the death of Albert Einstein, the advent of coeducation and the men’s basketball team’s notable 1965 season.

The exhibition also reserves a special case to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Class of 1960 and the 25th anniversary of the Class of 1985, as well as the reunions of several other classes.

“Princetonians in Print: 175 Years of Student Publications” will be on view from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. weekdays.


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