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This Week in Princeton History for December 21-27

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a veteran-athlete is killed, Abraham Lincoln writes a thank you note, and more.

December 21, 1918—With orders home in his pocket, celebrated athlete Hobey Baker  ’14 crashes in France while testing a repaired plane, sustaining fatal injuries.

Hobey Baker’s crashed plane. John D. Davies Collection on Hobey Baker (AC005), Box 5, Folder 7, Image No. 21828.

December 23, 1947—Alongside two other colleagues, John Bardeen *36 develops the first semiconductor transistor, which will revolutionize science and industry.

December 24, 1745—William Patterson, College of New Jersey (Princeton) Class of 1763, is born in Ireland. After graduating from Princeton, he will have a notable career as Attorney General of New Jersey, Senator from New Jersey, Governor of New Jersey, and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.

William Patterson, Class of 1763. Undergraduate Alumni Records 1748-1920 (AC104), Box 12.

December 27, 1864—Abraham Lincoln writes to thank the College of New Jersey (Princeton) for giving him an honorary degree.

page 1page 2page 3Letter from Abraham Lincoln to John Maclean, December 27, 1864. Abraham Lincoln Collection, Manuscripts Division, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library (C0094), Box 3, Folder 4.

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

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