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This Week in Princeton History for May 16-22

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, Thomas Mann says he has found a new home, a miniseries about a professor premieres, and more.

May 16, 1959—In today’s issue of Nation, Princeton University’s resident psychiatrist, Louis E. Reik, writes of Cold War tensions among the undergraduate population, “the problem of whether the individual’s aggressive energies will be expressed in useful or destructive ways has never before cast such a deep and terrible shadow over human life. … That the days of unbridled individualism are gone is a lesson that, at bottom, no high-spirited young man wants to learn.”

May 17, 1927—The results of the Nassau Herald’s poll of graduating seniors are released. Isaac Hall is selected as the “Greatest Woman-Hater” of the Class of 1927.

Photo from 1927 Nassau Herald.

May 18, 1939—Thomas Mann, in exile from his native Germany, is given an honorary Doctor of Letters at a special convocation in Nassau Hall. In accepting this award, Mann says, “Germany fell into the hands of leaders so depraved, that perhaps in all history there has been no second case of such dishonor to spirit and intellect, justice, truth and freedom. Their reign of violence has made it impossible for anyone who has some feeling for human dignity and moral responsibility to breathe the air of that country. We had to give up our homes, to say farewell, perhaps forever, to our native land, to a landscape so intimately ours by right of birth. … Yes, the homeless one has found a home. A new home, in Princeton, in America.”

Harold W. Dodds and Thomas Mann, May 18, 1939. Faculty and Professional Staff Files (AC107), Box 326. Mann served as Lecturer in the Humanities at Princeton University from 1938 to 1941.

May 20, 1984—A five-hour miniseries focusing on the role of Princeton professor William Slone (played by M*A*S*H star David Ogden Stiers) in organizing the first American Olympic team premieres on NBC.

This clip from The First Olympics: Athens 1896, a miniseries that premiered on NBC on May 20, 1984, depicts Hunt Block as Princeton student Robert Garrett, Class of 1897, in the Olympic discus competition. Garrett won a gold medal in this event as well as in shot put in 1896.

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

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