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This Week in Princeton History for January 2-8

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, the nation mourns Claiborne Pell, the Triangle Club loses their rehearsal space, and more.

January 2, 1884—Physics professor Cyrus Brackett testifies as an expert witness in a lawsuit between American Bell Telephone Company and the Peoples Telephone Company, one in a series known as the “telephone cases” in which the Supreme Court will rule on who should own the inventor’s patent to the telephone.

Cyrus Brackett, undated. Historical Photograph Collection, Faculty Photograph Series (AC059), Box FAC12.

January 4, 1960—The British Broadcasting Company airs an episode of Panorama featuring interviews with Princeton University students on their views regarding America’s place in foreign affairs. Princeton is the only college that appears in the program because, its interviewer David Webster explains, “This is the place that produces the leadership” in the United States.

January 5, 2009—A funeral is held for Claiborne Pell ’40, best known as a long term senator from Rhode Island and immortalized by the “Pell Grant” system. In the eulogy U.S. President Bill Clinton gave at the services, he said “there was something almost magical about this man who was born in aristocracy but cared about people like the people I grew up with.”

Claiborne deBorda Pell ’40. Undergraduate Alumni Files 1921-2016 (AC199).

January 8, 1924—The Casino, the Triangle Club’s on campus rehearsal hall, burns to the ground.

Triangle Club rehearsal in the Casino, ca. 1920s. Historical Photograph Collection, Grounds and Buildings Series (AC111), Box SP2, Image 344.

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

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