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This Week in Princeton History for October 19-25

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the Princetonian suggests the grading “vogue” is a bad idea, the campus mourns Thomas Alva Edison, and more.

October 19, 1876—The Daily Princetonian laments that the College of New Jersey (Princeton) has joined in the grading “vogue,” and urges that the practice of giving students grades be stopped.

October 21, 1931—In memorial of inventor Thomas Edison, who died on October 19, the University observes a one-minute period from 7:00-7:01 PM when all electric lights are extinguished.

Thomas Alva Edison, Allen West, and George W. Goethals, at Princeton University Commencement, June 15, 1915. Edison, along with Goethals (builder of the Panama Canal), received honorary degrees that day. Honorary Degree Records (AC106), Box 6.

October 22, 1846—The faculty have forbidden fireworks to mark the occasion of the centennial of the founding of the College of New Jersey (Princeton). Those on campus illuminate its buildings with candles and lanterns in the windows of Nassau Hall and East and West Colleges, and someone hires a Trenton firm to set off fireworks near Alexander Street, where they will be visible to students.

October 23, 1973—Dr. Benjamin Spock, best known as the author of the 1950s best-seller Baby and Child Care, speaks in Whig Auditorium about his journey from staunch Republican to People’s Party radical.

Dr. Benjamin Spock, Princeton University, October 23, 1973. Photo from the Daily Princetonian. Researchers interested in the later political activities of Spock may want to consult the American Civil Liberties Union Records (MC001).

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

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