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This Week in Princeton History for July 25-31

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, Presbyterians worry about drinking, the campus operator has a bit less to do, and more.

July 27, 1937—William H. Smathers, who represents New Jersey in the U.S. Senate, writes a response to a letter from one of its professors, William Starr Myers, that makes headlines for its vitriol: “Your letter … convinces me that you are unfit to come in contact with youngsters and confirms my suspicion that ‘dear old Princeton’ would be a bad place to send my two boys who were born and raised in New Jersey. I would not want one of my sons to come under the influence of a mentality so small and so warped…” Myers wrote to Smathers to criticize him for voting in favor of expanding the Supreme Court to 15 justices as Franklin Delano Roosevelt had proposed.

July 29, 1897—The Prohibitionist New York Voice derides Princeton University for employing faculty who have signed a petition for a liquor license for the Princeton Inn, which they identify as the school’s “official grog shop”.

New York Voice headline
Headline from the New York Voice, July 29, 1897. Historical Subject Files (AC109), Box 343, Folder 2.

July 30, 1770—Students at the College of New Jersey (Princeton) have unanimously decided not to wear the typical regalia for Commencement, favoring “American cloth” instead out of loyalty to the Patriot cause, according to the New York Gazette.

July 31, 1964—The University’s phones are switched to the Centrex system, which allows users to dial calls directly without going through the University operator.

First direct dial call made to J. Douglas Brown, Dean of the Faculty, 1964. Historical Photograph Collection, Campus Life Series (AC112), Box AD41, Folder 19.

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

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