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This Week in Princeton History for August 17-23

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a prisoner of war says he deserves credit for independent study while held captive, the U-Store breaks ground on a new home, and more.

August 18, 1944—Lt. Nicholas Katzenbach ’43 writes to the War Service Bureau that he has been studying 8 hours per day in a German prison camp and feels he has completed the requirements for his A.B. despite missing the final three semesters with his class at Princeton. After submitting a thesis and passing a series of exams given by Princeton faculty the following year, he will be given given credit for ten courses and awarded his degree with honors in October 1945. Katzenbach will ultimately achieve his greatest fame as the U.S. Attorney General who will confront segregationist Alabama Governor George Wallace in an incident that will be known as the “Stand in the Schoolhouse Door.”

Katzenbach_Letter_1_AC198_Box_61 Katzenbach_Letter_2_AC198_Box_61The first few pages of a letter Katzenbach wrote thanking Robert K. Root, Dean of the Faculty, for his help in securing his A.B. He writes, “During the long months I spent as a prisoner one of the things which helped the most was the future hope that all might not be in vain. I think all of us lived constantly in the future, dreaming of the day when we would return to a more normal existence. I had hoped, of course, that things might work out as they now have, but I was never sure what all I tried to do might seem worth to an institution with the high traditions of Princeton.” The letter finishes with a description of Katzenbach’s hopes for his future at Yale. Undergraduate Academic Files 1921-2014 (AC198), Box 61. (N.B.: Access to student files is governed by this policy.)

August 19, 1766—As part of the effort to liquidate the late College of New Jersey (Princeton) president Samuel Finley’s estate, a sale is held at the president’s house on campus. In includes furniture, horses, cattle, a wagon, a sleigh, hay, grain, farming utensils, and six slaves—two women, a man, and three children.

Advertisement from the Philadelphia Journal, August 14, 1766.

August 21, 1888—The New York Tribune runs a special report on Princeton: “Nothing could be more dull than this university town in vacation.”

August 22, 1950—Ground is broken on the new U-Store site at 36 University Place.

U-Store interior at 36 University Place, ca. 1960s. Historical Photograph Collection, Grounds and Buildings Series (AC111), Box MP87, Image No. 3560.

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

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