This blog includes text and images drawn from historical sources that may contain material that is offensive or harmful. We strive to accurately represent the past while being sensitive to the needs and concerns of our audience. If you have any feedback to share on this topic, please either comment on a relevant post, or use our Ask Us form to contact us.

This Week in Princeton History for April 27-May 3

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a dorm pioneers indoor plumbing, students look for ways to protest peacefully, and more.

April 27, 1877—Witherspoon Hall is completed. It is the first dormitory in the country with indoor plumbing.

5 West Middle, Witherspoon Hall, 1890-1891. This room was the residence of Edgar Allen Poe and Augustus Stevens Lewis, both of the Class of 1891. (Poe was the nephew of the author of the same name.) Historical Photograph Collection, Campus Life Series (AC112), Box LP84, Item No. 4069.

April 29, 1905—The bodies of Edward William Axson (Class of 1897), his wife, Florence Choate Leach Axson, and only son, Edward Stockton Axson, are buried in Princeton Cemetery. Axson was the brother of Woodrow Wilson’s wife, Ellen Axson Wilson. He drowned in a futile attempt to save his young family from the same fate after his horses spooked and overturned their carriage in the Etowah River in Georgia. He was 29 years old. A photo of his grave is available here.

Edward William Axson, undated. Woodrow Wilson Collection (MC168), Box 52, Folder 2.

April 30, 1992—While residents of Los Angeles riot in protest of the acquittal of four police officers on charges of assault with a deadly weapon and use of excessive force during the arrest of Rodney King, approximately 60 concerned Princeton students spontaneously gather at the Third World Center to discuss what an administrator describes as how to “channel their anger in productive ways.” The following day, approximately 500 people will gather at Firestone Plaza to protest the verdict peacefully. Riots in Los Angeles will ultimately last six days, ending on May 4.

Protest of the Rodney King verdict in Firestone Plaza, May 1, 1992. The sign reads, “The other King had a dream for this generation and it wasn’t this! If he were alive today he would have his eyes up to heaven.” Office of Communications Records (AC168), Box 177, Folder 101.

May 2, 1958—The Daily Princetonian runs an in-depth article explaining why women are wearing a new style of dress that men seem to hate (the sack dress, which fits snugly around the hips and balloons above them). The verdict? Mostly, women wear them because they allow them to avoid girdles, and they prefer being comfortable to pleasing their Princeton dates. “It is not so bad to be second to the Russians, but girdles . . .”

The controversial “sack dress.” Photo from the Daily Princetonian.

For last week’s installment in this series, click here.

Fact check: We always strive for accuracy, but if you believe you see an error, please contact us.

One response to “This Week in Princeton History for April 27-May 3”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.