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This Week in Princeton History for August 31-September 6

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, an increase in the cost of food inspires student entrepreneurs, the Civil War fells an alum, and more.

September 2, 1975—Prices on most items available at the Student Center go up by five cents. Empty cups, previously free, now cost a nickel. The move will inspire some students to form new student agencies to compete for food sales at lower costs.

Ad from the Daily Princetonian, 1975.

September 3, 1781—Claude Blanchard, chief commissary of the French army allied with the American rebel forces during the Revolutionary War, is in Princeton, which he notes is “a pretty village, of about sixty houses” and “A very handsome college is also to be seen there.” “I visited the college; there were fifty scholars; there was room for two hundred. …”

September 4, 1962—Despite the fact that this form of hazing has been banned at Princeton since 1959, a sophomore accosts incoming freshman Hal B. Helm ’66, then cuts chunks of his hair out with scissors. “The whole thing was kind of corny,” Helm tells the Daily Princetonian, “but the soph thanked me after it was finished.”

September 5, 1864—Joseph Washington Woolfolk, Class of 1840, is killed near Columbus, Georgia while in service to the Confederacy. For more on Princeton and the Civil War, see our previous blog.

Joseph Washington Woolfolk, Class of 1840, Historical Photograph Collection, Alumni Photograph Series (AC058), Box MP06.

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.

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